Saturday, May 30, 2009

Have You Had Your Water Yet Today?

A few weeks ago, I shared that I like to add various fruit slices (lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, Asian pear, etc.) to my water to make it more interesting. I got a comment that suggested keeping the fruit slices in the freezer. What a great idea!

For the past weeks, I have been keeping fruit slices in the freezer. Not only does the fruit keep the water cold without making it too cold, but it's sooo convenient to slice the fruit ahead of time and store it in the freezer. Thanks "anonymous" for this great tip!

So, have you been keeping up with your water intake? Have you tried adding sliced fruit to your water? If so, what's your favorite?

Be well,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Finally Shredded!

Well, I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to try out the 30 Day Shred DVD by Jillian Michaels to get me out of my exercise rut. Somehow it took me FOREVER to try it! My goal had been to post an update after I did it every day for a week. Well, this didn't exactly work out.... Overall, I really like the DVD, but I don't think I would ever want to do it every day. Oh, and hubby did it a few times, too. It was fun doing it together, but we had a hard time trying not to laugh at times... :o) So here is a breakdown of the last six days:

Saturday, May 23: Shred Day 1
Okay, I finally did Shred Level 1. Several days ago, I watched the DVD to prepare myself for what I'd be getting myself into. It looked intense but doable. And it was intense yet doable. I definitely got my heart rate up and broke a sweat right away (and so did hubby by the way!). I appreciate that the moves are basic, so I didn't feel like a fool...

Sunday, May 24: No Shredding

Well, I was a bit sore this morning. But it wasn't too bad, and I still made it to the gym and ran for 30 minutes, did some abs, and stretched. In the afternoon, we also walked all over a Nature Theme Park with the toddler for about 1 1/2 hours.

Then the plan had been to do the DVD at night after the toddler went to sleep. However, by the time he was finally asleep it was 8:30, and, frankly, were were WAY too tired to shred...

Monday, May 25: Shred Day 2
We hosted a BBQ, so there was no time to make it to the gym. The toddler visited his grandparents for a little while while hubby and I prepped for the BBQ and shredded. I loved being done in 20 minutes. It's just so convenient to get a workout in at home.

At night, we also went for an hour long brisk walk. Both hubby and I noticed that our legs were a bit sore...

Tuesday, May 26: Shred Day 3

We shredded again. Today was definitely the hardest day so far... BUT, it was great to get in a workout at home.

Hubby made the following observation: "This workout is just like me telling you: Do 50 push ups, now do 50 crunches, now run in place. Do this for 20 minutes and don't rest...."

And he is sort of right. But that's what I like about the workout. It's basic yet challenging. I feel like I can do the moves, but I also feel I'm getting a good workout. I definitely think Shred alone is not enough cardio though. I definitely need to do some more cardio...

Wednesday, May 27: No Shredding
I didn't want to do the DVD while the toddler was taking a nap as I make too much noise and was afraid that I would wake him up... His naps are just too precious... :o) Plus, I don't really think doing the same workout every day is necessarily good... Plus, I really felt like doing cardio today. So I ran for 30 minutes, lifted some weights, did abs and stretched at the gym.

Thursday, May 28: Shred Day 4
I shredded again and also swam for 30 minutes.

Overall Verdict:
This is definitely something I will continue to do in addition to my other workouts. It's great to get in a quick, basic, yet challenging workout at home. Work has been really busy this week, so it was hard to get to the gym, and I was glad to get at least some exercise. I don't quite understand the thinking behind doing the same workout every day though...

Be well,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Taco Salad Pictures

The taco salad turned out well! :o) I started with a mixture of herb salad mix and spinach on the bottom and drizzled some fresh salsa on the greens. Then I added my meat mixture, followed by homemade guacamole, Greek yogurt, salsa and cheese. Here are some pictures:

I made a LOT, so there are leftovers... (Not sure if it'll be too soggy tomorrow...)

To season the extra lean meat, I sauteed an onion and some garlic and then added the meat. After the meat was browned, I seasoned it with salt, pepper, a seasoning blend, and garlic powder. After the meat was cooked, I added about 3/4 of a jar of salsa. The meat tasted fresh and juicy. Soooo good!

Instead of sour cream, I used Greek yogurt, seasoned with salt, pepper & lemon juice.

I'll definitely make this again! Thanks again Angie for the inspiration!

Be well,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekly Meals (May 26 - May 29)

Well, I have been getting a bit bored with my meals lately, so I thought I'd try some new recipes/ideas that I have seen on some blogs and in some cookbooks lately. So, here are my "new" meals for the week. (I have made similar dishes in the past, but it's been a while....) As always, the items in green are from the Farmers' Market.

Tuesday: Lemon-pepper tuna with red onion and fennel. This recipe is from Shannon at The Daily Balance. I have been looking for new fish recipes and this sounds delicious, or delish as Shannon would say... :o) Plus, it sounds easy and quick! I also can't remember when I used fennel last.
Wednesday: Taco Salad, inspired by a post I saw on Angie's Appetite for Life blog. I'll be using the spinach, salad greens, tomatoes, red onions, avocados & lemons from the Farmers' Market.
Thursday: Pasta with peanut sauce with carrots, cucumbers, & green onions.
Friday: Lentil Salad with tomato & lemon juice. It so happens that for the past few weeks we have had a salad as our main dish on Fridays. I think I have found a new tradition: "Salad Fridays." Okay, to be honest, we usually have some delicious freshly baked bread and cheese (purchased earlier that day at a Farmers' Market) with the salads... Maybe that's why "Salad Fridays" are so popular around here... :o)

Okay, your turn! Do you have any interesting meals planned? I can always use some inspiration... :o)

Be well,

P.S.: The BSI (Blogger's Secret Ingredient) this week is corn, and Sophia at Burp and Slurp is hosting the challenge. I love corn, but I don't know if I'll come up with an exciting enough recipe to submit... Anyway, check out her blog for more info!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Saturday's Lunch

Well, I did end up sharing "my heirloom tomatoes" after all.... I made an open-faced sandwich with a bit of mayo, organic herb salad mix, cheese, and chicken salad for hubby and me. On the side we had more organic herb salad mix and half of one of the most flavorful and juiciest tomatoes I have ever tasted! Oh yes, and we treated ourselves to a glass of sparkling wine. It was a very nice lunch indeed! Oh, and the company wasn't bad either... :o)

Be well,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another Great Farmers' Market Trip

Our trip to the Farmers' Market was a bit shorter than usual this week as the week was a bit hectic. So we didn't get to leisurely stroll around but were rather task-focused! Nevertheless, we got great produce, and I have already some ideas as to what to make with it. I am very excited because some of my inspirations come from some fellow bloggers... The only thing we are a bit short on is fruits. We only got blueberries. But there is always the Farmers' Market on Sunday where we can pick up some more fruits as well as hubby's beloved toffee.... :o).

So here is what we got:

Carrots & Mushrooms
Tomatoes (regular and heirloom)
2 Whole Grain Rolls & 2 Pretzels
Whole grain black bread
Cilantro - the cilantro I planted didn't grow :o(
Herb Salad Mix & Spinach
Heirloom Tomato Salsa

A big mountain of herb salad mix and spinach... I can't wait to make and eat a nice salad... :o)

I think some guacamole is in our future... :o)

Yup, we had to get some more carbs. I already ate one of the whole grain rolls with some raw milk cheese, an heirloom tomato, and basil. It was soooo good! Sorry, but there was just no time to take a picture... :o) I really admire all you bloggers who so diligently take the most beautiful pictures of your food...

The heirloom tomatoes are sooo good! I really don't think that I am a selfish person, but these tomatoes are mine! :o)

Did you make it to the Farmers' Market? If so, please share what you got...

Be well,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Breakfast Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my recent difficulties with eating breakfast consistently. I decided then to be more conscious and leave some reminders near the coffee pot so that I wouldn't "forget" to eat breakfast. Well, let me tell you, it worked! I have eaten breakfast every single day since my last post! Yup, I'm very proud of myself! :o)

I also purchased some fruit and nut bars to keep in my purse. I don't think they are necessarily breakfast bars, but I liked that they seem to be truly natural (judging by the ingredients listed). And I figure eating a natural bar with some carbs, quite a bit of protein, and a bit of fat isn't a bad way to start the day. I have only eaten one bar so far on my way to work; the other mornings I ate something at home.

Is there something health-related that you tend to "forget" to do? If so, what do you do to remind yourself to do whatever you are "forgetting" to do?

Be well (and remember to eat your breakfast :o)),

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Being Held Accountable Is A Good Thing!

For the past few weeks I have been keeping track of my weekly activity with the Woman Activity Tracker (I came across this via a post by MizFit). The site is running an eight week women challenge and encourages women to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week as well as two strength training sessions. Each week you can set your own goals. I started off with very moderate goals; I like the feeling of success... Now, my goals are much more ambitious.

I really wasn't sure if keeping track of my exercise online would work for me, but it has been great! Here is why:
  1. I often forget how many cardio and weight lifting sessions I did at the gym and how many times I actually walked to the "far away" park each week (life with the toddler is sometimes a bit of a blur....); keeping track online is very convenient.
  2. I realized that I am actually more active than I thought! This really made me feel good! :o)
  3. When my weak ankle acted up several times, I was able to trace it back to too many high intensity cardio workouts. By doing no more than two or three high intensity aerobic workouts per week I am able to manage my ankle pain much better.
  4. I can keep track of things I tend to "forget" such as stretching, mixing up my workouts, etc.
  5. Having a goal and meeting it feels good! :o)
Do you keep track of your exercise in writing? If so, how do you keep track?

Be well,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekly Meals (May 19 - May 22)

Here are the meals I have planned for this week. The items in green are from the Farmers' Market:

Tuesday: Chicken Masala (I'll be trying out a new simmer sauce from Trader Joe's. We really like the curry simmer sauce, so hopefully we'll like this one as well), brown rice, asparagus.
Wednesday: Whole grain pasta with sauteed garlic, onions, carrots & mushrooms & a bit of tomato sauce; salad with tomatoes & avocado.
Thursday: Tilapia with lots of lemon juice, brown rice, & a radish salad.
Friday: Summer Salad - I'll use the onions and tomatoes from the Farmers' Market. Maybe we'll have some of the cheddar cheese left. And hopefully we'll have some freshly baked bread. :o)

Do you have any meals planned for this week? If so, please share... :o)

Be well,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Best Farmers' Market Trip So Far!

We explored a different Farmers' Market this week, and it was great! The weather was perfect, there was plenty of parking, we took the jogging stroller with lots of storage underneath (well, we still ran out of space but we got sooo much stuff), there were many interesting vendors, and we ate a delicious garlic noodle and chicken skewer lunch at the market. We thought the noodles would be a bit too garlicky for the toddler, but he LOVED them.

So here is what we got:
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • An avocado
  • A daikon radish
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Various breads
  • Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • A raw milk cheddar cheese
We couldn't resist the amazing selection of bread. There were several bread stands with the most amazing items, from sweet to savory. We got a black bread, two whole wheat rolls with lots of seeds (if you are wondering what happened to the other roll - the toddler ate it while we were shopping...), and two pretzels. It was quite difficult to resist all the other amazing sweet baked goods... So I am actually quite proud of myself that I managed to restrain myself! :o)

We got quite a variety of fruits. The toddler sampled various strawberries until he found the perfect ones. BUT, once he tasted the blueberries, he was truly in love. He has always liked blueberries but the ones we bought at the Farmers' Market are truly amazing and he just loved them. I think his beloved strawberries are in serious danger of being replaced by blueberries as his favorite fruit! :o)

Finally, we got some raw organic cheddar cheese. The milk to make the cheese is never heated over 102 degrees. The sample I tasted was really good, so I can't wait to eat it this week.

Again, our trip to the Farmers' Market this week was truly great! Did you make it to a Farmers' Market this week? If so, what did you get?

Be well,

Friday, May 15, 2009

"French" Salad Pictures

Sophia from Burp and Slurp asked for pictures of my "French" salad, so I actually remembered to take some pictures today before we attacked the food! :o) Sophia posts the most amazing food pictures on her blog; I can in no way compete. But I did my best... :o)

Oh, and I can swear I bought edamame, but somehow they have disappeared. If it had been any other food item, I would blame the teenager. But I really don't think he ate the edamame by themselves. And I don't think he used them to cook something either. Anyhow, the salad was just fine without the edamame. The beans and potatoes were quite al dente, a bit too al dente for hubby I think. But he tried not to complain... :o)

Here is the bowl of salad. I made a lot, so there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow:

My plate with the poached egg on top:

And my favorite part: the egg running over the salad. It tastes better than it looks! :o)

Be well,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In An Exercise Rut

I tend to repeat the same exercises over and over and over. To mix things up, I have considered hiring a personal trainer. However, I want to wait until my gym has a special on a personal training package (3 sessions) as these special packages cost about 65% less per session than individual sessions at the regular price. I figure waiting for the special makes good economic sense.

In the meantime, I have been looking for ways to mix things up and challenge myself in new and exciting ways. While reading blogs lately, I have come across the word "Shred" again and again. At first, I truly didn't know what "Shred" referred to, and I actually felt like an outsider as so many blog entries wrote about "Shred" as if everyone should know what it was...

Luckily, I soon came across a post that explained that "Shred" is one of Jillian Michael's workout DVDs. I learned that there are three workouts on the DVD - Level 1, 2 & 3. I also learned that each workout is only 20 minutes long but quite tough. I like the idea of a short, tough workout as I don't have a lot of time for workout DVDs; I have to get my workouts done either before the toddler wakes up in the morning or while he is napping. So when I saw the DVD in the store (for $14.95 - a lot less than any personal training session), I bought it. I believe the idea is to do the DVD every day for 30 days. I don't think I'll do it every day, but I want to use it to supplement my gym workouts. I'll let you know if "Shred" will get me out of my rut...

Have you used "Shred"? If so, do you like it? Do you use any good exercise DVDs? If so, please share... What do you do to "mix things up?"

Be well,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weekly Meals (May 12 - May 15)

Have you wondered why my meal planning always starts on Tuesdays and ends on Fridays? You may have been thinking: "Wait a minute. What are they doing the other days? Are they constantly eating out? Are they starving?"

Well, not exactly. In fact, I usually don't have any trouble coming up with meals on weekends as there are fewer time pressures and hubby and I can take turns entertaining the toddler. When the weather is nice, we like to barbecue. We also enjoy experimenting with various Italian dishes as well as "traditional" German and/or Korean food. (Okay, I am not sure how "traditional" the food really is. In fact, if you are German or Korean, don't critique my food as I certainly put my own, sometimes questionable, spin on things....) Anyhow, we usually have plenty of leftovers for lunches as well as for Monday's dinner. So there is really only the need to plan four meals...

So here we go again. Another week of planned weekday dinners. Who would have thought this could actually work??? :o) As always, the items in green are from the Farmers' Market.

Tuesday: Barbecued ribs, oven roasted garlicky potatoes with rosemary, smashed cauliflower.
Wednesday: Salmon with lemon dill sauce, brown rice, & salad with radishes.
Thursday: Chicken fried rice with onions, leeks, carrots, mushrooms, celery - last week's fried rice was such a hit that I'll have to make it again! I'll use chicken instead of turkey hot dogs this time.
Friday: My "French" Salad with seared tuna or poached eggs

Be well,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Farmers' Market

We made it to the Farmers' Market today, but we didn't buy very much. I have identified several Farmers' Markets during the week, and my plan is to visit some of them with the toddler - the Farmers' Market visits will be our little field trips (I think we will really focus on the names of fruits and vegetables and on colors...). So here is what we got so far this week:
  • Strawberries (toddler approved!)
  • A fragrant onion
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower - I think I'll smash it with Laughing Cow Cheese this time and add some herbs for color
  • Radishes
  • Toffee - Hubby, the teenager, and, yes I'll admit it, I, ate another four ounce piece this past week. So hubby bought another eight ounce piece as a gift. I'll let you know what happens to it... :o)
Did you make it to a Farmers' Market? Did you buy any interesting fruits and vegetables? What meals do you have planned for this week?

I hope you had a great weekend. Happy Mother's Day! :o)

Be well,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eating Locally and Seasonally

When I was growing up, my mom always used seasonal produce in her cooking. She had a huge garden, and during the warmer months we ate mostly what was growing in the garden. My mom also used various canning techniques to preserve beets, carrots, green beans, apples, plums, etc. for the winter months.

I can honestly say that I didn't fully appreciate the amazing, fresh, flavorful, organic produce we were eating when I was young... In fact, I remember getting annoyed that we were having green beans again... We also had several apple trees, and we ate apples (in all ways imaginable) A LOT. Let's just say I didn't eat apples for quite some time after moving out...

Once I started cooking for myself, I wasn't right away eating locally and seasonally. I was just too excited to have escaped the apples and the green beans... :o) However, my mom had instilled an awareness for local, seasonal, organic produce in me, and this little voice kept reminding me to seek good, fresh, organic, local food that was in season. I started buying produce at small produce shops (some of which are unfortunately not in business anymore) and bought a lot of my produce at Farmers' Markets.

Recently, I came across a website that lists produce that is in season in the different regions in the U.S. I think this could be very useful in planning meals in the future.... :o)

Do you eat local produce that is in season? Is it challenging to eat local, seasonal produce? Do you have any tips? What was the last local, seasonal produce that you ate?

Be well,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

And I Thought I Was Strong!

I have been doing cardio workouts (both outdoors and at the gym) quite consistently for many years now. I have also been lifting some weights for quite a while. However, several months ago I started lifting weights A LOT more. And I have some muscles to show for it! I am soooo proud of my muscles...

Push ups have always been an exercise that I have struggled with, even back in high school when I was on the crew team. I just could never do them right. Well, with my consistent weight lifting efforts and my impressive muscles (well, at least I am impressed by them...), I thought that push ups would be easy even though I hadn't attempted any in years.

So recently during dinner, I announced to hubby and the teenager (the toddler was there, too) to please watch me do some push ups and critique my form. BIG MISTAKE!!!!

Hubby immediately burst out laughing. The teenager just looked at me, trying not to laugh. I'm sure he thought about how he could use this moment to his advantage if he contained any hint of laughter. ("Maybe if I don't tell mom how ridiculous her push ups are, she'll let me get away with some stuff...") And the toddler watched the whole thing in amazement. But even he burst out laughing pretty soon, likely due to hubby's laughter.

Next hubby couldn't resist to show me what my "push ups" looked like. He moved up and down about 1/100th of an inch... He also had his behind high in the air and basically looked like a teepee. Truly a ridiculous sight...

I have to admit, it was a funny moment, and we all got a good laugh out of it. (I'm so happy I can make my family laugh...) By the way, nobody got a better laugh and giggled more than the toddler... :o)

Anyhow, in case you were wondering where this was going, here is my resolution: Learn/practice/sweat/tirelessly attempt to do a proper push up. I'll let you know once I get there! :o)

Be well,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Weekly Meals

Well, here we go again! I am really proud of myself for keeping up with the meal planning... :o)

Here are this week's meals; the items in green are from the Farmers' Market:

Tuesday: Well, it's Cinco de Mayo, so it has to be Mexican, right? So, I'll start with a nice guacamole. I'll use the onions and tomatoes I bought at the Farmers' Market. We'll eat the guacamole with yummy chips from Trader Joe's. The main course will be chicken quesadillas with salsa and guacamole.

: Talapia sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and LOTS of lemon juice. On the side we'll have brown rice and a salad with tomatoes, carrots, & radishes.

Thursday: Vegetable soup with lentils and wheat pasta. I'll saute some garlic, onions, celery, leeks, carrots, and potatoes in some olive oil. I'll then add a can of organic diced tomatoes as well as two or three fresh tomatoes and cook everything for about 10 to 15 minutes. Next, I'll add vegetable broth and simmer the soup for a few minutes. Then I'll add cooked lentils (Trader Joe's cooked lentils are sooo convenient!) and wheat pasta and cook the soup until the pasta is cooked through but not mushy. I don't like mushy food...

Friday: Fried rice with garlic, mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, turkey dogs (I blame hubby for this one!), eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds & vinegar. For the toddler we wrap the rice in seaweed. That way it (hopefully) won't be ALL OVER the house after the meal... :o) Actually, I enjoy wrapping the rice in seaweed myself...

Be well,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Farmers' Market (May 3, 2009)

We made it to the Farmers' Market today (without the toddler; he got to spend some time with Grandma & Grandpa!). It was raining a bit today so there weren't as many vendors as usual and not many customers... This is California, and people are not very weather resilient, I'm afraid... :o)

The shopping trip was a lot "easier" without the toddler, but we missed him... Shopping at the Farmers' Market just isn't the same without him... AND, nobody knows how to pick the best strawberries like the toddler!

Here is what we bought today:
  • Celery
  • Onions - I love the onions with the green part still attached; they are so fragrant!!!
  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes - from our favorite tomato guy!
  • Strawberries (Without the toddler's input; I hope he'll approve of our choice... :o); if he doesn't approve, I'm sure he'll let us know.... :o))
  • 2 slices of garlic cheese bread - from the "bread guy"
  • 1 wheat olive "thingy" - also from the "bread guy"
Here is another shot of the onions; I just love them... I wish you could smell them...

In case you wanted to see some more carbs...

Oh, yes, I almost forget. Last week's pictures didn't include our toffee purchase! Well, let me explain. Hubby bought three four-ounce packages of toffee and claimed that they were all gifts. So I somehow didn't get to take a picture and include them here.... Anyhow, I later came to find out that hubby and the teenager actually ate one of the packages. So hubby bought an eight-ounce package today... Here is the picture. I'll let you know next week what actually happened to it... :o)

Be well,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why I Love My Walks

These days, my favorite kind of physical activity is walking. I simply enjoy walking around my neighborhood. Here is why:
  1. I can let my mind wander while walking.
  2. I love to see everyone's flowers, manicured lawns and interesting ornaments.
  3. I don't have to worry about the toddler; I put him in his jogging stroller and he is happy.
  4. I can convince hubby to come with me and we get our version of a date.
  5. My weak ankle thanks me for not putting it through a high intensity workout.
  6. When the weather is nice, being outside really makes me happy.
  7. When it's cold outside, nothing feels better than finishing the walk and getting back inside and warming up. It doesn't get that cold where we live, so "cold" is relative....
  8. Walking is good for the environment. If I forget something at the store, I walk there. It's a 40 minute walk one way. It's good for the environment as well as my body and mind.
  9. A brisk walk is a great workout. All that walking really adds up!
  10. Back to number one: Nothing clears my mind better than a walk!
Do you enjoy walking? Why, or why not?

Be well,