Sunday, February 28, 2010

Workout Reevaluation

Remember my 2010 goals? One of them was to take some exercise classes. I had given myself until February, after the January gym craziness had passed, to take some classes. Well, February came and almost went without my taking any exercise classes. Almost that is. Because yesterday I took a Bootcamp class! I didn’t take it alone but dragged Lara from Thinspired with me. Sorry Lara! :-) (Lara had at one point been under the impression that we were going to take a yoga class. I know, quite a difference…).

It was quite an intense 60 minute workout. We did all sorts of planks, squats, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks – and we didn’t take many breaks. I was seriously warmed up after a minute, and there were a few times when I thought there was no way I could make it…

But I felt great afterward and knew that I hadn’t pushed myself like that in a loooong time. The instructor had warned us that we’d be sore, but I felt fine yesterday. Now, this morning is a different story. I felt quite sore when I woke up, but as I’m moving around more, it’s getting a bit better. What’s more, I secretly actually like the soreness…

I have been working out about six times per week for the past nine months now, and I have known for quite some time that I needed to mix things up a bit. And I have made small changes over the months. But I don’t think they have been enough. My new goal is to take one whole body workout class and one yoga class per week. We’ll see how it goes…

One thing I noticed yesterday was that I was quite hungry for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, I tried another of the Amazing Grass samples that I received a while back - the Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein bar.

I LOVED this bar. I loved the taste, and I loved that it has 12 grams of protein. I’ll definitely pick up some more.

Questions: Are you happy with your workout routine? If not, what should you change? Do you take exercise classes? If yes, which classes are you taking and how often?
I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. And I hope you are not too sore, Lara… :-)

Be well,

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lots of Greens

Yesterday, we went to Fresh Choice right before 5:00 p.m. and got dinner for $6.99 a person (and since the toddler is 2, he eats for free!).

I got a nice plate of greens with fresh, delicious salsa instead of salad dressing. I also squirted a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top. It was delicious.

Greens 01

Here is what I put on my salad (as far as I remember):
  • Baby spinach
  • Spring mix lettuce blend
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Edamame
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Red cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Blue cheese
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salsa
  • Lemon Juice

Greens 02

I have said this before, while I love making salads, it’s very nice to have others prep all the veggies for you. Hubby, are you reading?!!!? :-)

And this morning I had more “greens” in the form of Amazing Grass. I tried the Amazing Meal Chocolate Infusion sample with almond milk.
 Greens 03
   Greens 04

I really enjoyed the taste of the chocolaty milk, but the texture was a bit grainy. I think I may have not mixed it up enough. It’s definitely a drink I would have again, and it’s a quick breakfast when you are running late. Here is a closer look at the ingredients and nutrition info.
 Greens 05

Question: Have you been eating enough greens lately? If not, what do you plan on doing to change this?
Happy Weekend! I’m off to a Bootcamp class with one of my favorite local bloggers. Any guesses who it could be? Wish us luck!

Be well,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Easy and Fast Bok Choy and Shrimp Stirfry

I had some leftover baby bok choy from my CSA delivery in the fridge and wanted to use it up. I decided to make a super quick stir fry with shrimp.

Supereasy stir fry 01
  • Olive oil
  • Baby Bok Choy, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • Shrimp
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Brown rice vinegar
I heated up a bit of olive oil and sautéed the baby bok choy for a minute. Then I added the shrimp and sautéed them until they just turned pink. I seasoned the stir fry with soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown rice vinegar. I served the stir fry on top of some leftover brown rice. Now that's my definition of fast food!

Supereasy stir fry 02

Question: What’s your favorite fast lunch?
Be well,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How To Poach An Egg

I got several questions about how to poach eggs after my last breakfast post, so I thought I’d do a post on how I poach eggs.

Poached Eggs 01

Originally, I was actually thinking of doing my first vlog, but it’s just not happening right now. The toddler has been sick and I'm “functioning” on way too little sleep… Anyway, here is how I poach eggs. I’m sure there may be better ways out there…
  1. Bring several inches of water to a boil in a small pot and add a few tablespoons of vinegar.
  2. In the meantime, carefully crack the eggs individually into cups or ramekins; you want to make sure the yolks stay intact.
  3. Once the water boils, reduce the temperature so that the water is simmering.
  4. Carefully slide the eggs into the water. I usually poach two eggs at a time so that I can keep a better eye on them. But I’m sure you could poach more at once.
  5. For a runny yolk, poach the eggs about 2 minutes. If you like the yolk firmer, poach them a bit longer.
  6. Take the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and carefully place the poached eggs on paper towels to dry them off.
  7. Enjoy!

Questions: What’s your favorite way to eat eggs?
Be well,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wellness Wednesdays

A few weeks ago, when life was really hectic, and we faced multiple major changes at once as a family, I told hubby that I was thinking about “killing” my blog. Yes, I used those violent words. He looked at me, smirked, and said: “Okay. If that’s how you really feel. I’ll support you in anything.” I replied, “Okay. I just may.” Well, I wasn’t entirely serious, and I think hubby knew all too well that I loved blogging way too much to get rid of my blog; therefore the smirk. But I knew that I was spending too much time that I truly didn’t have blogging. I have cut back some, and I am hopeful that I’ll find a true blog/life balance some day… :-)

The funny thing is what happened a few days after the above conversation. Hubby was all excited about a new idea he had for a career planning blog (he is a college counselor), and he asked me if I was interested in posting on the blog regularly. The timing was really funny as I had just talked about blogging less. However, I was interested.

Several years ago, I was actually going to pursue graduate studies in career counseling and interned at a university career center for a few months. I loved what I was doing and learning. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pursue graduate school at the time. However, I have always been interested in career planning, which I believe is really life planning as one’s career is such a big part of one’s life. I think it’s so important to find something you truly love, matches your values, fulfills you, and leaves you energized at the end of the day. And what’s right when it comes to your career is also likely to change as your life changes. It’s so important to reassess where you are at and where you want to be once in a while. Can you tell that I’m excited about this topic?

So for the past few Wednesdays, I have been posting career planning/work/life wellness-related articles on Career Action Now. This week’s post is about making your dreams come true. So if you are interested, head over to Career Action Now where you can read more of my posts as well as Andy’s and Joe’s posts.

Questions: Are you satisfied with your current career? Do you want to make any changes to your career? If so, what is holding you back? If you are still in school, where are you when it comes to career planning?
Be well,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Amazing Grass

Have you ever tried Amazing Grass products? I have been wanting to try them for a long time now as I have read quite a bit about their health benefits. Also, I kept reading quite a few reviews, and there are different opinions out there… I wanted to find out for myself what Amazing Grass was all about. Several weeks ago, Amazing Grass sent me some free samples to try.

I didn’t have a chance to try them right away, but I finally ate the Green Super Food Whole Food Energy Bar yesterday.

It contained 220 calories, 8 g fat, 36 g carbs, and 5 g protein. Here are the ingredient (definitely lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds):

Organic Dates, Organic Agave Nectar, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Barely Grass, Organic Alfalfa, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Chlorella, Organic Broccoli, Organic Acai, Organic Maca, Organic Carrot, Organic Beet, Raspberry Organic Rose Hips, Pineapple, Green Tea, Organic Flax Lignans, L. Acidophilus, Alpha and Beta Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase, Organic Peppermint), Organic Cashews, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Almonds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Dried Cranberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Dried Coconut, Organic Vanilla Extract.
“Okay, but how did it taste?" you ask. To be honest, I took the first bite and was seriously looking for a “green” taste, an unpleasant green taste. But there truly wasn’t one. The bar wasn’t too sweet, and I really enjoyed the taste. I could definitely taste the nuts and berries in the bar, but there wasn’t one flavor that stood out. I guess all the greens are “hidden” in the bar just like there is no “green” taste in green juice when you add an apple and some lemons to lots of greens. I can definitely see myself eating this bar again, especially when I need to grab something fast and haven’t been getting my fruits and veggies in. However, the bars are quite expensive, so I will probably eat them only once in a while.

Next, I think I’ll experiment with some of the powder samples I received to make some sort of a smoothie or shake. I’m not a smoothie/shake maker/drinker.

Questions: Do you have any suggestions on how to make a good smoothie/shake? Have you ever tried Amazing Grass products? If so, what did you think? Do you have any Amazing Grass recipes I should try? 

Be well,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Special Breakfast and Weekly Meals

As I mentioned before, I am usually pretty boring when it comes to breakfast. But while my mom was visiting, I got a bit more creative… One of the breakfasts I made were poached eggs with spinach. I didn’t add any cream to the spinach, so the dish was light and healthy.

I toasted some fresh bread and spread just a bit of herbed cream cheese on it. In the meantime, I sautéed an onion and some spinach and seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper. Then I poached the eggs. I topped each slice of bread with some spinach and a poached egg and added some more spinach on the top.

Poached Eggs 01

I especially enjoyed the runny yolk with the bread and spinach…

I think this is probably the last special breakfast you’ll see for a while… On to this week’s meals:

Monday: Butternut squash soup with some leftover brown rice.

Tuesday: Smashed cauliflower, salmon, and quinoa.

Wednesday: It’s Wrapped Up Wednesday. We’ll wrap sautéed veggies (baby bok choy, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms) into lettuce leaves and dip it into an almond butter sauce (almond butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and warm water, mixed really well). I love Wrapped Up Wednesdays because they are so interactive…

Thursday: Healthy pizzas made with sprouted grain tortillas as the crust and topped with tomato sauce, veggies as well as some shrimp. I picture this as another interactive dinner…

Friday: It’s Salad Friday. We’ll see what it’ll be…

Questions: What was your last “interactive” dinner experience? Do you like to assemble your food at the table?
Be well,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Produce, Flowers, and Toddler Activities

Sorry for the sporadic posts lately. I hope to get back to a more consistent schedule soon. Here are a few updates…

We received another CSA delivery:

CSA Feb 01

Here is what we got and what I’ll use it for:
  • Apples - eat
  • Oranges – eat
  • Pears – eat
  • Lemons – salad dressing & juice
  • Broccoli – steamed
  • Collard Greens – sautéed
  • Butternut Squash – soup
  • Baby Bok Choy – sautéed
  • Butter Lettuce – salad with radishes
  • Carrots – raw with hummus
  • Parsley – I was excited to see the parsley, which is kind of funny as I used to seriously dislike parsley when I was younger. I’ll use the parsley to make parsley potatoes, a dish my mom used to make often when I was little (and I would always try to pick out ALL the parsley…).
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Banana Potatoes
Hubby picked up these beautiful daffodils while he was shopping at Trader Joe’s. Thank you, hubby! :-)

CSA Feb 02

Finally, here are a few of the toddler’s new favorite things…

CSA Feb 03
CSA Feb 04
CSA Feb 05

Questions: Is there an herb, spice, or vegetable you didn’t used to like but now like? As I mentioned above, I used to seriously dislike parsley but now enjoy it very much. I also didn’t like beets and olives but now like them a lot.
Be well,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breakfast Journey Down Memory Lane

I’m boring when it comes to breakfast. Most days I eat oatmeal with walnuts or almonds. But since my mom has been visiting, I’ve made some more “interesting” breakfasts. We have had veggie/egg scrambles, spicy sesame rice with poached eggs, fruit with yogurt sauce and whole wheat pancakes, and bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomatoes, red onions, and capers.

The bagels were huge, and half a bagel was more than enough per person…

I introduced the teenager to smoked salmon when he was a toddler, and he loved it immediately, and we had bagels and smoked salmon on special occasions for breakfast when he was little. I remember attending a wedding with him when he was about 5 and everyone marveling at the amounts of smoked salmon he was eating and how much he loved it… I rarely buy bagels and smoked salmon anymore, so the teenager was thrilled when he got to enjoy one of his childhood special occasion breakfasts. I love how food brings back memories…

Questions: What is your favorite breakfast from your childhood? What memories does it bring back? Do you sometimes still eat your favorite childhood breakfast?

Be well,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sweet Treat Breakfast and Weekly Meals

On Valentine’s Day, I decided that I was going to make a slightly more decadent breakfast than usual.

I started by making a fruit salad.

The fruit salad contained:
  • 1/2 cantaloupe
  • 1 banana 
  • 1 apple
  • 10 strawberries
  • 1 mango
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • A few drops of agave nectar
To go with the fruit salad, I made a yogurt sauce. It was really good, and everyone loved it.

The yogurt sauce contained:
  • 1 container Chobani nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Sour Cherry Preserve  – sooo good!
  • A few tablespoons whipped cream
I first mixed the preserve and the yogurt very well and then folded in the whipped cream. The yogurt sauce was slightly sweet and incredibly light and airy. Sooo good!

I also heated up some whole wheat pancakes that I had frozen a while back. They were sort of an afterthought, so I didn’t take a picture. However, everyone loved the yogurt sauce on top of the pancakes the most!

I think it’s time to plan meals again, so here we go:

Tuesday: Brown rice pasta with organic, grass-fed beef and vegetable sauce and a salad.

Wednesday: Salad topped with salmon salad. I’ll mix boneless, skinless canned wild salmon with lemon juice, wasabi mayo, and capers and top a lightly dressed salad with it.

Thursday: Veggie burgers.

Friday: It’s Salad Friday. I’ll try to be creative… :-)

Questions: What’s an interesting/good/special breakfast that you’ve recently had? What are you eating this week? Please share!
Be well,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Portion Control and Making Healthy Choices

Last week, we went to Chevy’s with my mom. It’s a tradition that we go to Chevy’s whenever she visits us. In the past, I had a really hard time to control my portions at Chevy’s since I love chips and salsa and used to eat way too many chips in one sitting. Their chips are warm, and I love the fire-roasted tomatoes in the salsa. Also, sometimes the salsa is nice and spicy, just the way I like it.

Chevys 01

Last week, I made a few good choices and a few not so good choices when we went to Chevy’s. First the not so good choices:
  • I didn’t look up the nutrition facts for various menu items before we went to the restaurant.
  • I ordered a Chile Verde Bowl from the lunch menu, which I later found out contained 1,030 calories, 44 grams of fat, and 2510 grams of sodium!!!! There are many worse items on the menu but also several much better choices. If I had looked at the menu before we went (which I usually do), I could have made a much better choice.
Chevys 02

Despite choosing a not very healthy entree, I actually made some good choices:
  • I passed on the chips and salsa and instead ate some of the salsa with my entree – I am very proud of not eating any chips! :-)
  • I took off the sour cream as soon as I got my dish as I figured I didn't need the extra fat. Instead I added some flavor with some salsa.
  • I ate less than half my entree and got the rest to go. I had some of it later that night, and the remainder the following morning.
  • I left the restaurant feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
Questions: Do you look up nutrition information before you eat out (if it’s available)? Do you decide on what you’ll order before you enter a restaurant? Do you tend to get “carried away” by the menu? Do you have any eating out strategies you’d like to share?
Be well,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day

The toddler went to “Movie Night” last night, so we got to enjoy an “adult dinner.” We went to a modern Chinese restaurant and enjoyed a very nice meal. The lighting was very bad, and my photos didn’t turn out very well, but the food was really good… :-) Here is what we had (we didn’t eat the roses, but they were pretty so I had to take a photo…):

Lettuce wraps
Valentines Day 08

Chicken Salad
Valentines Day 07
Valentines Day 09

Valentines Day 10

Brown Rice
Valentines Day 11

After we picked up the toddler, we stopped by the cupcake place, and the toddler got to enjoy a mini cupcake… :-) We don't let him have one very often, so it was a very special treat for him...

Valentines Day 12

Today, we'll start the day with some sparkling wine with POM Wonderful juice (POM sent us the juice to sample a few weeks ago). The drink is the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, and it tastes great! The photo is from the other day… :-)

Questions: Do you like Valentine’s Day? How are you celebrating? I’m not the biggest fan of the commercial side of Valentine’s Day, but I think there is nothing wrong with letting others know how much they mean to you…  Also, the toddler got to experience his first Valentine’s party at preschool and loved every second of it, which changed my view a bit… :-)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Be well,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Enjoying Nature

Yesterday, we walked to a local animal farm. It was a beautiful walk, and we had lots of fun looking at all the animals, and we enjoyed the smells and sounds of farm life. Here are some photos:

Question: What are your weekend plans?
Be well,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Got balls?

We do. I FINALLY made Averie's raw Gingerbread Cookie balls. Well, I changed the recipe a bit as I can NEVER follow a recipe... Therefore, my balls don’t have ginger (since I didn’t have any, which I didn’t realize until I had already started to make them…). I also didn’t use any sugar. Nonetheless, they turned out fabulous!!! The toddler can’t get enough of them… I can’t wait to make more of Averie’s balls… :-)

Question: What’s the last treat you made?
Be well,