Sunday, October 21, 2012

Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Living Life

Life continues to be busy and at times just seems to fly by. This was especially apparent a few days ago when the kid turned 5! He’ll always be my “baby,” and it sometimes really seems like yesterday that he was born.


We had a great party at Pump It Up, and he has been telling anyone and everyone he sees (no matter if they care or not) that he is 5 and just had a birthday! Smile 

Food has been simple, but I have been prepping more on the weekends, which makes weekday meals much easier.

Last year, I made a very simple, almost no-cook, impromptu sweet potato dish when friends came over, and the dish has been a favorite of ours ever since.

That night, the dish was really an afterthought and experiment. I don’t remember what else we had for dinner, but I remember seeing some sweet potatoes on the counter and just playing with them. The funny thing is that our guests at first didn’t react too excited when I described the smashed sweet potatoes, but it ended up being the favorite dish of the night!


Smashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 5 – 6 sweet potatoes
  • Earth Balance spread, about 1 – 2 tablespoons
  • Cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like), about 2 tablespoons (more if you feel particularly “cheesy”)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke them with a fork several times.
  2. Put the potatoes in the microwave and cook them until they are soft. (Three medium sized potatoes cook in the microwave in about 6 minutes.)
  3. Once the potatoes are cooled a bit, peel the skin and cut the potatoes into small pieces.
  4. Smash the warm potatoes with a potato smasher.
  5. Add the Earth Balance spread and the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Enjoy!
If you don’t like to use the microwave to cook the potatoes, you can of course bake them in the oven. I’ve made this easy version of smashed sweet potatoes several times in the last few weeks. I love that it’s quick and simple, and I can make just a little at a time in no time.

Questions: What’s a favorite simple, almost-no-cook meal of yours? What’s your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?
Be well,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekend Fun & Weekly Meals

We made sure we had plenty of fun this weekend.


I also did prep work for the week in an attempt to feel less stressed. In fact, I precooked most of our weekly meals, boiled eggs, and washed and prepped lots of veggies and fruits. It’s still quite warm around here, but I’m really in the mood for soup, so there is plenty of soup on the menu this week. I made big pots of both soups, so there is also plenty for lunches.

Meal 1: Roasted butternut squash soup.
Meal 2: Leek and potato soup.
Meal 3: Chicken salad on top of a salad.
Meal 4: BLTs.I bought nitrate/nitrite free bacon at the Farmers’ Market. The “good” tomato plant is also still producing plenty of tomatoes. We hardly ever eat bacon, so we are really looking forward to this meal! Smile
Meal 5: Spaghetti squash bake.

Overall, I am happy with my workouts the past week. I did a few short, intense workouts (HIIT intervals consisting of lots of squats, kicks, etc.). I got in a great, sweaty, 20-minute workout right at home and was really sore the next several days! Unfortunately, my right foot bothered me again later in the week, and I had to cut an elliptical workout short. Maybe the HIIT workouts put a bit too much pressure on the foot. I’ll experiment. I also went for walks, took a barre class, lifted weights, and was able to do a longer elliptical workout (a few days after I had to cut one short). All in all I am very happy with my workouts this week.

Questions: What’s on your menu this week? Are you enjoying fall? What’s your favorite part of this season?

Be well,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Workouts, Food, & Emotions

The last few months have been busy and emotional.

It’s increasingly getting more difficult for me to be so far away from my aging parents who both have serious health conditions. I finally understand the gravity of my decision to move across the globe more than 20 years ago. While I love where I live and feel at home in California in many ways, it’s hard to be so far away from those I love and who need me more now than ever before.

As I mentioned before, the kid is also getting much more of his own life and is involved in sports and afterschool activities most afternoons/evenings. While I love his enthusiasm for sports, especially soccer, our new schedule makes getting my own workouts in very difficult as we used to go to the gym as a family most late afternoons.

Working on numerous freelance projects at once and teaching in more than one place also leave me often a bit frazzled these days. To get all my work done before I have to pick up the kid from school, I get up at 4 a.m., which leaves me exhausted by dinner time.

I wrote before about the fact that I am an emotional eater, and while I have made huge progress from where I was a couple years ago, I still have to monitor myself very carefully when things get stressful. Over the years, I have talked to many people about emotional eating, and many have said that they do fine when life is going well, but they run into trouble when things get tough. That’s certainly true for me.

It’s just all too easy to grab a (healthy) snack and eat way too much of it. It’s also easy to eat to calm myself down and not because I am truly hungry. When I’m overwhelmed, I notice that I don’t appreciate and notice the food like I do when I am calm.

So here is my plan to get things back to where I want them to be in terms of food & exercise:
  • Continue to plan & prep meals – Last week I planned our meals and grocery shopped, but I didn’t prep anything on Sunday, and it threw me off all week.
  • Only eat at the table – Unfortunately, I have been grabbing more and more food while working on my laptop lately. This has to stop.
  • Always notice & appreciate the food before eating it – This includes putting more effort into presentation again. Making things look pretty doesn’t have to be time consuming (just add some herbs, use nicer plates, fun napkins…), but it can help me slow down.
  • Be creative when it comes to workout times and types – get back to short, intense workouts. I’ve been also trying out lunch time workouts, which will work once in a while.
  • Take walking breaks whenever possible – my mind will thank me because I always feel a lot calmer after a walk. I think I’ll make it a goal to go for a walk every day. It can be short, but I need to give my body and mind a break ever day.
Questions: How is your eating & exercising going? What’s your favorite meal at the moment? What’s your favorite exercise at the moment?
Be well,