Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sesame Salmon Salad & Weekend Fun

Since I stopped eating wheat (well, mostly; I don’t worry about very small amounts since my sensitivity isn’t that severe), I sometimes miss certain foods. The other day, I thought about Chinese chicken salad and the crunchy noodles it is often topped with. I knew I couldn’t have the noodles, and I didn’t feel like cooking some chicken for the salad. Instead, I used what I had on hand, which was some teriyaki smoked salmon from the farmers’ market. I played around with my favorite avocado dressing and used a little bit of sesame oil instead of olive oil. I also added plenty of sesame seeds to the salad for a slight crunch. The salad turned out delicious and totally satisfied my Chinese Chicken Salad craving.

Sesame Salmon Salad
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 small avocado
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 packet stevia
  • Sesame seeds to taste
  • Teriyaki smoked salmon (I buy a smoked salmon filet at the farmers’ market)
  1. Smash the avocado in the bottom of a salad bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and stevia and mix well.
  3. Mix the dressing with the lettuce.
  4. Once the salad is dressed, sprinkle it with sesame seeds.
  5. Top with smoked salmon.

We had a nice weekend. On Saturday, we went to a Cherry Blossom Festival, where the kid got to go on a pony ride and a big slide.

On Sunday, there was lots of bouncy house and Piñata fun at a birthday party.


Questions: What’s your favorite salad at the moment? What was the highlight of your weekend?
Be well,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Fun & Sparkling Lemony Water

It was a beautiful and hot weekend. And we found ways to stay cool.

Sparkling Lemon Water

Since I did the Conscious Cleanse in January, I’ve been pretty much only drinking water, with an occasional cup of tea once in a while. While I like plain water, I have to say that it’s been getting a bit boring, and I therefore decided to flavor some sparkling water with some NuNaturals Lemon drops, and it’s delicious. Sometimes, I add some fresh lemon juice as well. It’s a great drink on a hot day.

Yoga Challenge

The yoga challenge is going well, but it’s definitely a huge time commitment, and I feel some things don’t get done. I have also been sore for almost two weeks now (which means I’m using muscles I don’t usually use, which is a good thing). My goal is still to walk at least 70,000 steps per week. I had a few very low step days (mainly the days on which I took 1.5 hour yoga classes). But I have continued to walk and hike, and my overall step total is right on target. After the yoga challenge is over, I plan to continue to walk every day, hike several times per week, and take 3 or 4 yoga or barre classes per week.

Questions: What’s your favorite beverage? I like plain water and drink it a lot. But having a “fancier” drink once in a while is nice, and sparkling, slightly sweet lemon water fits the bill.

Be well,

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Meals & Yoga Challenge

After doing The Conscious Cleanse in January, I confirmed that eggs and wheat do not sit well with me. I have therefore been avoiding both wheat and eggs. I still bake and buy some bread for “the boys,” but we have all been making vegetables the focus of our meals. I usually make a big pot of soup and/or stew each week, and I eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week. I also eat the soup/stew on nights the boys have bread or pasta.

Here are the meals for this week:

Meal 1: Veggie/bean/beef chili over a bed of spinach. I made this “no recipe chili” a few weeks ago, and we all loved it. I start by sautéing an onion, garlic, lots of carrots (about 8) and celery (about 8 stalks). Then I added 3/4 pound of ground beef. When the beef was browned, I added three cans of beans (black, while, and pinto) and crushed tomatoes (I used one container of Pomi, which I like because the only ingredient is tomatoes) and 1 cup of water. Spices were Spanish chili powder, Korean chili powder, Tabasco, salt, pepper, cardamom, turmeric, oregano, and, ketchup. The chili gets even better toward the end of the week. In addition to enjoying the chili over spinach, hubby also enjoyed some with some toasted sourdough bread. I honestly don’t miss the bread, and I love when the spinach gets slightly wilted from the warm chili.
Meal 2: Veggie/tofu stir fry. This week the veggies are: onions, garlic, mushrooms, bok choy, and spinach. Hubby may have some rice with the stir fry.
Meal 3: Lentil soup with veggies.
Meal 4: Salad with smoked salmon. We found the best smoked salmon at the Farmers’ Market. I’m really looking forward to this meal.
Meal 5: Leftovers.

Yoga Challenge

By accident, I entered into a yoga challenge this past week. I had been looking for a yoga studio for a while, and a friend of mine told me that she had recently joined a studio that she really likes. I looked online and saw that they offered a special for new students – $20 for 14 days of unlimited classes. When I showed up, I found out that there was a catch: you have to go every day. If you miss a day, the deal is over. I signed up as I figured even if I only go a few times, it’s still a good deal. But then I decided that I really wanted to go every day for 14 days. The studio offers many different classes, but because the times I can make it to class are limited, I had to take classes I am not that comfortable with. So far, I have had a different instructor every time, and I have clearly been the new student in every class.

I confirmed that I don’t like unfamiliar situations. But I also confirmed that it’s good for me to get outside of my comfort zone and try new things and challenge myself.

Questions: What’s one thing you have recently done to get outside of your comfort zone? What’s on your menu this week?
Be well,

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Meals & Outdoor Fun

It’s been a while since I posted our weekly meals. I still plan them every week in a little notebook and have also started to write detailed grocery shopping lists, something I never used to do. I only used to write down the meals but hardly ever itemized the ingredients I needed as well as pantry staples. Let’s just say that didn’t go so well and led me to not having some of the ingredients quite often.  I usually was able to make the meals without the missing ingredients, but I finally realized that shopping is a lot more productive with a list!

Meal 1: Tuna/avocado salad on a bed of lettuce
Meal 2: Bulgogi lettuce wraps
Meal 3: Grilled brie cheese sandwiches with carrot & celery sticks and avocado cream
Meal 4: Chicken dumpling soup with spinach (the chicken stock and dumplings are homemade, from the freezer. I love making a big pot of chicken stock most weeks and freezing part of it.)
Meal 5: Leftovers.

During spring break we took the kid and one of his friends on a 3-mile hike. The kids loved playing around in the woods, and we probably were the slowest hikers on the trail. But the kids had lots of fun and enjoyed nature, and that’s all that counts.

Hike 003Hike 004Hike 002Hike 01Hike 006Hike 005

Questions: What’s on your menu this week? What exercise/physical activity do you have planned for this week? I plan on walking at least 70,000 steps this week, including at least one hike. I have also planned two barre classes and two weight lifting sessions.

Be well,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Spring Break Fun

We took a little trip during Spring break to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While Monterey is only a little over an hour away, I hadn’t been to the aquarium since the older kid was 4. That’s 17 years ago!

Since then, the aquarium has been remodeled, and it’s even more breathtaking than it was back then (or what I remember of it). The (little) kid is 5 now, and he was the perfect age to explore what the aquarium has to offer. He even enjoyed some of the short presentations.

We decided to stay overnight at a local hotel, which allowed us to buy a special ticket only available at participating hotels. For the price of a regular one-day ticket, hotel guests get entrance to the aquarium on two consecutive days. This worked out great, as we visited the aquarium on the first day without the pressure to get a good look at everything as we knew we would return the next day.

The first day, we decided to walk to the aquarium from our hotel. It was about a 3 mile walk round trip. With all the walking at the aquarium, we ended up walking almost 7 miles that day! Let’s just say we all were tired at the end of the day, especially the kid!


Monterey Bay Aquarium Day 1


I remembered that there was a Ghirardelli Store on Cannery Row, and I had planned to stop there on our way back to the hotel. 


After some rest and a little ice cream, the kid had enough energy to continue to walk to the hotel… 


Monterey Bay Aquarium Day 2


We finished the day with a late lunch at Schooners before driving home. 


It was a great, short trip. Hopefully, we’ll make it back to the aquarium sooner than 17 years from now!

Questions: What’s your favorite sea life to explore at an aquarium? 

Be well,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Exercise Update

I have been doing more barre workouts lately, and as a result I feel stronger and more flexible. Plus, I feel I can finally make it through a tough barre class the way I “should.” I am also lifting more weights again, something I wasn’t that serious about for a while.

Because of other activities, I haven’t always reached my goal of 70,000 steps per week, but that’s okay as I know that I have been active.

I still love my Fitbit to track how many steps I walk per day, and it really motives me to walk more the next day after having a low-step day.

Here are my recent weekly Fitbit progress reports:

Fitbit Update March 4Fitbit Update March 11
Fitbit Update March 18Fitbit Update March 25

I also started hiking again, and I look forward to more hikes, which should also help with my weekly step total. On my first hike in a long time, I noticed that I was seriously out of shape when it comes to very steep hills. It’ll be nice to go hiking more regularly again and working on my “steep hill stamina.” Smile 

Here are a few pictures from our recent hike: 

And some animals at the farm at the end of the hike: 

Questions: What’s your favorite exercise at the moment? I am really looking forward to regular, challenging hikes. How often do you mix up your exercise routine? I tend to get into exercise ruts easily and have to make a conscious effort to mix things up every month. 

Be well,