Friday, July 31, 2009

Korean Noodle Love

A few days ago, we went out to a Korean restaurant for lunch. I haven't cooked any Korean dishes in a while, so hubby (and let's be honest, I) really craved some Korean food!

I love all the Banchan (side dishes) - I usually eat so much of them that I don't have much room for my main dish. And it was no different this time. I love them all (kimchi, potatoes, marinated lettuce, pickled radishes, marinated broccoli, bean sprouts, seaweed salad...)!

Hubby got Kalbi Tang, soup with beef ribs. I don't really care for this dish, but he grew up eating it and loves it. Whenever we go out for a Korean lunch, that's what he usually gets. The soup has pieces of meat as well as noodles. And the broth is very cloudy...

And I got Bi Bim Naengmyeon (cold, spicy noodles). The noodles are very refreshing. They are actually served over ice, and it's my understanding that they are a typical Korean summer dish. I never eat the questionable piece of meat that floats on the top. But I did slurp my noodles a bit just for you, Sophia! :o) I know you don't really love Korean food, but when I ate/slurped the noodles I was thinking of you nonetheless... :o)

The toddler truly loved his Chapchae (noodles). We cleaned up for quite a while before we left as many noodles didn't make it into his mouth but landed on the floor....

Questions: What's your favorite noodle dish? Have you ever had Korean food? If so, did you like it, and what did you have?

Be well,

Putting The Work Back Into Workout

For the past six weeks, I have gone to the gym every single day (well, except for the days we were on vacation). "That's great," you may say. "You must have gotten amazing workouts."

Well, not so much. You see, the reason I make it to the gym every single day is that the toddler loves the child care there, and I desperately need him to expend some energy... Plus, I love that he gets to interact with other kids. Since I am at the gym, I work out. Well, sort of. That is, watching me, it sure looks like I work out: I wear workout clothes, I carry a water bottle around, I lift weights, I run on the treadmill, I use the elliptical, I climb the stair climber. I even sweat a good amount. But what I don't do is push myself to the place where it gets just a little bit uncomfortable, and that's the place where I really get a good workout.

For the past six weeks, I rationalized that since I "worked out" every single day, I didn't need to push myself so hard every single day. And that's a valid point, especially since I have a weak ankle. However, I started to not push myself at all... I daydream while I lift weights instead of focusing on the weights. I "go through the motions" while on the elliptical. You get the point.

So my plan is to still take it easy on some days but to push myself a bit more on at least two or three days per week. We'll see how it goes...

Questions: Do you ever find you don't push yourself hard enough when you work out? Or, do you push yourself too much? What do you do when either of the two happens?

Be well,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cabbage Salad

First of all, thanks so much for all the pizza suggestions; I'm getting excited... And if the first time doesn't work out as I imagined, I'll just try again... :o)

Yesterday for lunch we had a red & white cabbage salad. I loved it as it tasted very fresh and tangy because of all the lemon juice in the dressing. Who have I become? I used to hate lemon juice in salads... So if you don't love tangy salad dressings & lemon juice, this salad may not be for you.

Salad Ingredients:
  • 1/2 head of white cabbage
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 1 small container fat-free Oikos Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • A little olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Mix the salad with the dressing and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

I loved that the dressing turned a beautiful pink color after a while from the red cabbage. In fact, there were some leftovers, and the salad tasted even better after it had marinated in the dressing for several hours.

The only problem was that I had no good way of cutting/shredding the cabbage. As I don't have a big food processor, I tried to use a box grater, but it didn't work that well, and I was always afraid we'd be eating my fingers... So I ended up cutting most of it by hand. The cabbage pieces ended up being quite big (I guess I wasn't very patient...). I didn't mind the big cabbage pieces, but they may certainly be too coarse for some...

Questions: When was the last time you ate/made cabbage? And what did you make/eat?

Be well,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Project Pizza

Thanks for all your suggestions to make my own pizza in yesterday's comments. Yes, I have thought about making my own pizza (and I used to buy pizza dough and use that to make pizza a loooong time ago). Honestly, I am not the biggest pizza fan in the world, so I guess that's why I haven't made my own pizza in a long time... But looking at the toddler enjoying his pizza sooo much, I think it's about time I make my own pizza, dough and all!

So, in the next few days, I'll try to figure out how to make a healthy pizza dough. In the meantime, I want to get some ideas for interesting pizza toppings. I'm not a big fan of tomato sauce on pizza, so I'm looking for alternatives. Here is what I have come up with so far:
  • pesto topped with tomato slices, garlic & basil
  • mozzarella, tomatoes & basil - Do I need to put any sauce underneath?
  • thin layer of cheese, grilled chicken & caramelized onions
  • thin layer of tomato sauce, sauteed onions, mushrooms & garlic
Questions: Any thoughts as to whether my toppings will work? What should I add/omit? What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Be well,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Old Friends

Hubby and the teenager have really missed an old friend of theirs: pizza. Hubby used to work late every night except for Wednesdays, and every Wednesday we used to have (take-out) pizza night. The other week nights, we ate dinner without hubby, and he ate the leftovers from the night before at work.

Well, many months ago, we stopped pizza night because I didn't think that take-out pizza was really the healthiest choice... Well, since it was the teenager's birthday week last week, we got pizza for lunch one day. I really was not in the mood for pizza, so I didn't have any. Hubby and the teenager loved their pizza. But guess who loved it most and ate an entire slice all by himself? The toddler. Here are some pictures of the toddler's pizza adventures:

I guess the grin means he likes it... :o)
What's in that pizza to elicit such a reaction???Can we get some pizza again tomorrow? Well, no. Sorry...
Old friend Number Two: Flax Seeds

I grew up eating whole flax seeds in my plain yogurt every morning. I loved my flax seeds, and whenever I am home, that's what I eat and it reminds me of my childhood. I have meant to buy some flax seeds for a long time, but for some reason I always forgot. But the other day I bought some organic ground flax seeds (I think you are supposed to grind them versus eating them whole, which I used to do growing up...). And I have been eating them in plain Oikos Organic Yogurt - soooo good. I actually prefer the whole seeds over the ground ones... Oh well...

I also used to bake a whole grain bread with lots of flax seeds, but I haven't made it in ages and have no idea if I can dig up the recipe... I have found a flax seed bread at Whole Foods that's pretty good (but nothing compared to the one I used to make). I really have to find that recipe!

Question: Do you like/eat flax seeds? If so, with what do you eat them?

Be well,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Some Fun Shopping & Weekly Meals (July 28 - July 31)

While were were on our date on Saturday, hubby and I also did a little shopping. I got some new workout pants, and we went to Sur La Table, and they had a great sale. So we got some new place mats (they were 40% off). They remind me of French table linens and therefore of my time in Southern France the summer I turned 18. Yes, that's the age the teenager is now! I wonder how worried my parents were??? I studied French at a Language School and stayed with a host family, but it surely wasn't the safest place.... I guess it's sometimes best if parents don't know everything...

Anyway, here are the place mats. The yellow lemons make me happy! :o)

And today we did some "luxury" shopping at the Farmers' Market:

Organic African Volcanic Mountain Coffee
Yummy Olive Oil
The olive oil is sooo good. If you look closely, you'll see that there is already some missing in the bottle. That's because we already had some with the walnut wheat baguette we also got at the Farmers' Market... The olive oil stand had all kinds of great infused olive oils, but I got the plain one because I thought it was most versatile. They had also an awesome selection of balsamic vinegars...

Okay, on to this week's meals. At this point, I have decided to add some meat & chicken back into my diet, but only organic meat and chicken and only occasionally.

Tuesday: Wild salmon with lemon/dill sauce, brown rice & cucumber/tomato salad. Our tomatoes are finally ripe!!!! Home-grown tomatoes are definitely THE BEST part of summer!

Wednesday: Brown rice pasta with almond butter sauce. I'll use the ingredients I usually use to make a peanut sauce (Trader Joe's Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds & water), but I'll use raw almond butter instead of peanut butter. I'll experiment a bit to get the consistency right. I don't do very well with peanuts and peanut butter (not unusual when you have gallstones; nuts have a lot of fat), but for some reason I do fine with small amounts of almond butter. I'll shred carrots & cucumbers and toss them with the noodles.

Thursday: Vegetable & organic chicken curry with brown rice.

Friday: Mozzarella with tomatoes & basil; lentil salad with tomatoes & parsley.

Questions: Do you have any fun shopping to report? What meals do you have planned for this week?

Be well,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Date Night & An Interesting Food Choice

Last night hubby and I went out to dinner by ourselves for the first time since the toddler was born - that's almost two years! We had such a good time: talking, walking around, shopping, being silly... The highlight of our date was definitely the leisurely dinner. It was great to actually have time to eat... :o)

We went to a California Bistro that uses local, organic produce as well as organic meats in its dishes. I am usually a bit skeptical about eating out, but I was very comfortable as I felt I knew what I was eating.

As soon as we sat down, we got warm, delicious bread. I only had a bite as I wanted to have room for my entree; hubby LOVED the bread and ate almost all the bread (and almost all the butter!) all by himself...

Between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. the restaurant has a special three course meal on the menu, and that's what hubby ordered. His meal started with a house salad that was lightly dressed in a simple vinaigrette. The salad also had some cherries in it; it tasted very good and fresh. Hubby shared the salad with me... :o)

Hubby's entree was chicken in a rosemary sauce. I love rosemary, but I find that it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Luckily, the rosemary flavor was perfect - very pleasant and not too strong. The chicken came with silky mashed potatoes and very flavorful and perfectly cooked veggies.

And now to my entree. As I was reading the menu, Thai Noodles with veggies and tofu stood out, and I almost ordered them. However, then, all of a sudden, my eyes jumped to the burger. And I REALLY wanted a burger. I didn't know what to make of it. I haven't eaten meat for over a month now, so this sudden urge to eat meat was certainly strange. I felt good about the grass fed, organic, hormone-free meat that the restaurant uses, and so I ordered the burger and decided to see what would happen next. Hubby was pretty shocked when I ordered the burger! Well, hubby, I am full of surprises! ;)

So here it is: my burger. I thought the cherry tomato, olive & pepper on top were very cute! :o)

The burger came with seasoned fries. I haven't eaten fries in a loooong time, and in the past I would have loved them. However, I am eating a lot less processed food and a lot less salt, so these fries were a bit salty for my taste.

I ate half of the burger and actually enjoyed it. I also ate a few fries. I'm not quite sure what I should make of my sudden desire to eat meat? Maybe my body was trying to tell me something? Well, we'll see where I go from here...

Hubby's meal ended with a dessert duo: carrot cake and creme brulee. Unfortunately, we attacked the dessert before I had a chance to take a picture, and the picture I took after we had eaten a good part of the dessert looks disgusting... But the dessert was absolutely fabulous. The carrot cake was really moist and rustic. There were big pieces of carrots and raisins. And the creme brulee had a nice crust and a nice, creamy texture. It was mildly flavored with vanilla, and it was not too sweet. The perfect ending to a perfect date! :o)

Question: When was the last time you enjoyed a special dinner (at home or at a restaurant)? And what did you eat?

Be well,

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Teenager & Mushroom Love Continued

The teenager turned 18!!! Yes, 18 years! I. Can't. Believe. It. I know, it's such a cliche, but it truly seems like yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital. I now know why I'll always be my parents' baby at almost 40 years old... Anyway, Happy Birthday, Teenager! I love you! I loved every minute I spent with you - the good moments, the exciting moments, the bad moments, and even the ugly moments (but honestly, there truly weren't many of those!).

We celebrated with a yummy lemon/almond cake from Whole Foods. It was delicious...

I had planned a spinach salad with poached eggs, but the organic portobello mushrooms looked sooo good, so I switched it up a bit and topped the salad with grilled mushrooms. We also got some organic, artisan cheddar cheese and I shaved some on the top of the salad. It was delicious.

Questions: Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Be well,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sushi Lunch & Healthy Balance While On Vacation

I have been craving sushi for a while now, so we got some toddler-friendly take-out sushi (except for the VERY spicy tuna rolls) for lunch yesterday. It was delicious...

The toddler couldn't get enough of the Inari
It's funny how even a mini vacation leaves you with lots of things to take care of once you get back... Yesterday was filled with laundry, putting things away, grocery shopping, sorting mail - all the fun stuff.

One thing that was nice about our little getaway was the fact that we ate healthy food and got plenty of exercise. We actually planned all of our meals, including snacks and drinks, before we left (Hubby wrote out the most comprehensive meal plan EVER!). We took most of our food & drinks (we had to make sure we had good wine!) with us but also made a trip to the grocery store in Tahoe to get milk, yogurt & fresh fruit. It was really nice to eat healthy meals while on vacation; I felt sooo much better than I had in the past when we ate out for every meal, and I didn't make good choices...

We got plenty of exercise by walking everywhere. We walked at least 1 1/2 hours each day. Hubby and I both agreed that because of the good food and the exercise we felt great. Making healthy choices really pays off! That said, we had some wine every day, went out for Mexican food, and we also got some Coldstone Creamery ice cream... :o) It's all about balance...

Questions: Do you take your own food and/or snacks on vacation? What's your favorite food item to take on vacation?

Be well,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lake Tahoe Mini Getaway

We spent the past two days in Lake Tahoe. It was so nice to get away from our usual routine and enjoy nature. Here are some pictures:

The view from our balcony
The place where we stayed had an awesome kitchen
Simple but delicious breakfast
Easy lunch with yummy red wine! :o)
On our way to the beach
The beautiful lake
Eating apples at the beach
We had the beach all to ourselves (well, at least for the first hour or so; we got there before 9:00 a.m. thanks to the toddler!!!)
Trying on Mommy's hat
So much fun at the beach....
We truly enjoyed our mini-getaway, but we are also glad to be back home. The toddler had a hard time napping and adjusting to the new environment. In fact, he refused to take a bath.... So a longer stay would have been a bit difficult... :o)

Questions: Have you had a chance yet to get away this summer, or do you have a getaway planned? What's your dream getaway?

Be well,

P.S.: I can't wait to catch up on all of your blogs soon!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fruity Breakfast & Weekly Meals (July 21 - July 24)

We started the day off with blueberry smoothies as well as a bowl of fruit:

Here are this week's meals:

Tuesday: Vegetable curry, brown rice & a salad.

Wednesday: Pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella & basil - a simple, summery dish! :o)

Thursday: We'll go out for dinner.

Friday: It's "Salad Friday," and we'll have my "French Salad" with poached eggs.

Questions: What's your favorite fruit at the moment? What meals do you have planned for this week? Please share!

Be well,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Enjoying Nature

We have taken the toddler a lot to the Nature/Garden Theme Park. It's the ideal place for young children. There are rides, but they are smaller, quieter rides. And, the park is truly set in nature; it is surrounded by trees and nature, and inside the park there are countless trees & flowers. There are also learning sheds where kids (and adults) can learn about anything from butterflies to bees to plants native to the area.

The park opened when the teenager was 10 or 11, which was almost too old to truly enjoy the park as the rides are mainly for little kids and there just isn't that much excitement. But we still enjoyed several visits with him, and he enjoyed the natural setting of the park. When the toddler was born, I was soooo excited to be able to go back to the Nature/Garden Theme Park because really it's all about what I like... :o)

Here are some pictures from one of our recent visits where we were able to enjoy nature:

And here is the toddler, enjoying nature! :o)
Question: How have you enjoyed nature lately?

Be well,