Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Do You Exercise?

I think I have asked this question before on this blog. I have been working out very consistently for the past year, but recently I had to ask myself the above question again. And here are my answers:
  • Exercise is my “me” time
  • Exercise makes me physically feel great – the older I get the more aches and pains I have if I don’t move and stretch my body on a very regular basis
  • Exercise makes me mentally feel good – It appears that my hormones have become a bit “whacky” and my doctor would like to see me on meds, but I’ve refused. Exercise seems to regulate a lot of what’s out of whack…
Okay, so far the list sounds great, doesn’t it? And I would love if these were the only reasons I exercise daily. But the list doesn’t quite stop there:
  • Exercise helps me control my weight. A recent study suggests that it actually takes quite a bit of exercise each day (about an hour of moderate activity a day) to keep weight gain at bay as we get older…
  • Workouts at the gym give my week structure. I schedule them at the beginning of the week to make sure they get done.
Still valid reasons, no? Yes and no. Because when we get to the structure and weight part, it’s unfortunately all too easy to start obsessing.

My gym tracks how often members visit each month, and I’m in the 99th percentile, which means I work out practically every day. One reason I get to work out so much is that the toddler loves the childcare and has many friends there. However, for the past few weeks, the toddler has been battling one infection after the other, and we therefore didn’t go to the gym as often as normally. And I really started to feel uneasy when I missed two gym workouts in a row. Now, can I only work out at the gym? No. Absolutely not. And I was physically active every day in one way or another.

What I realized when I missed my gym workouts was that I had become a bit too dependent on my workouts, and I really had to question why I work out. There was guilt and related unpleasant feelings… I remembered that working out should make me feel good and missing a workout or two should not make be feel guilty.

I have decided that it’s time to take more of my workouts outside and move out of the 99th percentile of gym attendance… It’s okay if I miss a workout. What’s important is how I feel physically and mentally. I can put the toddler in his jogging stroller and go for an easy job or a brisk walk. Being outdoors does wonders for my body and soul… It’s all about finding balance and being well…

Questions: Why do YOU work out? Do you sometimes feel guilty when you don’t work out as much as you think you “should”? What is your favorite workout? My favorite workouts are long, challenging hikes… It’s been too long…

Be well,

Monday, March 29, 2010

Morning at the Garden Park

Thank you for all the nice comments about my new layout! :-) I agree, it’s been time… Hubby actually has been trying to get me to change my blog for about a year (yes, I started the blog just a little over a year ago…). But for some reason I was very attached to the pink. I think I’ve mentioned before that I wasn’t allowed to be very “girly” growing up (short hair, few dresses, no pink, no Barbies, etc.). I feel like I’m compensating for everything I was missing out on… Anyway, I think the new, softer pink, is a nice compromise and hopefully more reader friendly.

Yesterday, the garden park opened again for the season, and we enjoyed some fun hours with the toddler and the teenager. Can’t wait for many more fun days this spring and summer… :-)

Garden Park March 01
Garden Park March 02
Garden Park March 03
Garden Park March 04
Garden Park March 05
Garden Park March 06
Garden Park March 07
Garden Park March 08
Garden Park March 09
Garden Park March 10

Question: What are you looking forward to this week? It’s Spring Break. I still have lots of prep work to do for next quarter, but I’m looking forward to a quieter week (hopefully)…

Be well,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March Date Night

Hubby and I got to go on a date last night. We enjoyed the nice weather and ran some errands before getting a bite to eat. It was warm enough to sit outside, and it was a very pleasant evening.

The meal started with some warm rosemary focaccia bread with basil oil. I refrained from the oil as my gallstones have been acting up lately, but hubby enjoyed the oil, and the bread was excellent.

March Date Night 01
We also treated ourselves to a glass of Prosecco.

March Date Night 02

Hubby got an arugula salad with shaved Parmesan and fennel. It was delicious. I have to use fennel more often at home… Fennel is one of the vegetables I used to seriously dislike when I was younger, but now I love it. However, for some reason I never buy it…

March Date Night 03

For his main course, hubby ordered garlic spaghetti and chicken cacciatora. I loved the “garlickyness” of the pasta.

March Date Night 05

And I ordered a salad with grilled vegetables and salmon. It was very good.

March Date Night 04

Hubby’s meal also came with dessert: chocolate and amaretti custard with caramel and cream. I made hubby share it with me. Hubby happily let me eat about 70% of his dessert. I know, he is great! :-) I’m usually not a dessert person, but this dessert was amazing!

March Date Night 06

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? Date night was great, but we also had lots of fun at the garden park today. Photos to come tomorrow…

Be well,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Can't Stop the Bap Egg On Top

[Guest post by Hubby.]

Oh, no I can't! I can't stop eating my "bap on egg on top." Even more so now since Wifey likes it more than I do, and I like it a lot. She even wrote about it in a post several weeks ago, where she also managed to throw me under the bus. But it's all good since the wounds have nearly healed, and I hurt only on the inside now. :)

I'd like to point out that "bap" rhymes with "stop" and therefore "top" and thus there's quite the rhyme scheme going on with the title of this post. "Bap" means rice in Korean, and no, I have no idea why I see "bap" spelled with an "a" everywhere, like at restaurants and online, and not simply spelled with an "o." I've thought about using "bop" for this post, but I tend to not like rocking the boat. That's just how I roll...

Anyway, enough rambling and on to the "bap egg on top" that I made for breakfast yesterday.

The gathering: sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, butter, and chili pepper paste.

Mixing it up with brown rice.

The fried eggs could have turned out better looking: I blame it on the frying pan! (Someone/something needed to be thrown under the bus in this post, and since I'm barely smart enough to know to never throw Wifey under the bus, it had to be you, frying pan.)

Plating the meal and adding some cilantro...

Wifey has made this dish before taking turns adding green onions, mushrooms, and regular onions to the frying pan and then on to the rice right under the eggs.

This time around, I added the cilantro because we had some around, we love cilantro, and I needed some color. Its addition provided a contrast to the sweet (ketchup) and spicy (red pepper paste) flavor in the rice, and everything tasted well together.

The awesome news was that Wifey enjoyed the meal that I made. And really, is there anything more important than that?

Until Next Time,

~Grateful Hubby

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Fast Food

No, not that kind! :-)

Several weeks ago I was sent some samples of Bertolli pasta sauce through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. For weeks the sauce was sitting on my kitchen counter, and I was thinking of making something “great” with it. But somehow, I never got around to planning something “great.”

Bertolli Sauce 01
Today when I was just getting ready to “throw together lunch,” I saw the sauce yet again and decided to use it for a very fast and simple dish. While the dish is extremely simple and fast, it is also quite delicious. I used the  Bertolli Arrabbiata sauce, and it had a nice spiciness and went perfectly with the baby peppers and shrimp I paired it with.

  • 10 baby sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 green garlic stalk, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Cooked, leftover garlic shrimp
  • 1 jar Bertolli Arrabbiata sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Brown rice spaghetti
  • Cilantro
What I Did
  • I started by sautéing the peppers and garlic in some olive oil.
  • Then I added the pasta sauce and simmered everything for about 12 minutes.
  • In the meantime, I boiled the pasta.
  • When the pasta was almost done, I took the pasta sauce off the heat and added the leftover shrimp to heat them through.
  • Then, I squeezed the juice of one lemon into the sauce. 
  • Finally, I tossed the cooked pasta with the sauce and added the cilantro.
Bertolli Sauce 02
Bertolli Sauce 03
Bertolli Sauce 04

Yes, this was truly fast food and a great way to use the sauce! The teenager and I each had a portion for lunch, and we both really liked it. And there is plenty left for the “boys” for dinner tonight… I love it when I don’t have to worry about dinner in the late afternoon… :-)

Questions: What’s your favorite “fast food?” What did you have for lunch today? 

Be well,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wellness Wednesday

As some of you know, last month I started writing wellness posts on Wednesdays on Career Action Now. I have adopted a pretty “broad” definition of wellness for my posts, but I think wellness at work and when  planning your career incorporates many different aspects. On today’s post on Career Action Now, I write about how eating healthy foods can positively impact your career. If you think that’s a stretch, have you ever been in an interview without having eaten enough and then all you could think about was how hungry you were? Or your stomach started growling? It once happened to me many, many years ago during one of my first interviews. Not a pleasant feeling for more than one reason…

And in case you are interested, here are my previous Wellness Wednesday posts on Career Action Now:
Questions: What are you doing to be well today? Are you taking enough breaks? Are you getting some exercise? Are you fueling your body with healthy foods? Have you laughed yet today?
Be well,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Super Fast Veggie Soup with Dumplings and Chick Peas

Last night, I made veggie soup with veggie dumplings and chick peas. The chick peas were a last minute addition to up the protein content and add a bit of heft to the meal.

Recently, I have made a lot of “creamy” soups (without cream) thanks to my immersion blender, and this soup was a nice change… I really enjoyed the chunkiness and the different textures…

Superfast Veggie Soup 01

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 small leeks, cleaned and chopped; it’s amazing how much dirt hides in leeks; wash them well! :-)
  • 1 green garlic stalk – I got this in my CSA delivery. I don’t think I have ever used green garlic before. It tastes a bit milder than regular garlic, and I love it! I don’t like peeling garlic, so this is perfect!
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 8 cups of liquid – I used half water and half organic veggie broth (out of a box)
  • 1 can of organic chick peas, rinsed – I buy a brand with a very low sodium content; it’s shocking how high the sodium levels in some brands are…
  • 12 vegetable dumplings
  • Salt and pepper – optional
What I Did

I sautéed the onion, leeks, garlic stalk, and carrots in some olive oil for a few minutes. Then I added the liquid and the chick peas and simmered the soup for about 10 to 12 minutes. I actually prepared the soup up to this point early in the morning so that dinner would be super fast and easy as it’s a busy week at work, and we also worked out last night, leaving little time for making dinner. When it was time for dinner, I heated up the soup and boiled the dumplings in the simmering soup for about 3 minutes. Can’t get much faster than that!

Superfast Veggie Soup 02

Questions: Have you ever had green garlic stalks? If so, did you like them? Do you like garlic? What’s your favorite way to eat garlic? I love roasted garlic in mashed potatoes. And I also love garlic sautéed in olive oil with quickly sautéed fresh tomatoes, seasoned with a bit of red pepper flakes. It’s a perfect pasta sauce, and the kitchen smells so good afterward. Okay, I’m getting hungry… :-)

Be well,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Relaxing and Delicious Weekend, CSA, and Weekly Meals

We had a good weekend! The weather was great, and I actually ran (very, very slowly) outside for the first time in a long time. It was wonderful.

We also played with the toddler at the playground every day and had lots of fun.

CSA March 19 05 CSA March 19 06 CSA March 19 07 CSA March 19 08
CSA March 19 09 CSA March 19 10

On Saturday, we got some awesome sashimi for dinner… Sooooo good!

CSA March 19 02

Followed by Korean shaved ice, topped with shaved, frozen strawberries, nuts, and chocolate sauce.

CSA March 19 03

Hubby and the toddler had a good time eating most of it. The toddler kept on monitoring how much hubby was eating the entire time, making sure he was getting his fair share… Do you see how focused they are! :-)

CSA March 19 04

On Friday we had gotten our CSA delivery, which supplied us with lots of fruits and veggies for the weekend.

CSA March 19
Here is what we got this week, and what we did/are going to do with it:
  • Oranges – already eaten
  • Apples – already eaten
  • Tangelos – already eaten
  • Green Cabbage – I think I’ll sauté it
  • Avocado – has already been eaten by the toddler…
  • Red Chard – Maybe I’ll use it in some juice. I haven’t juiced in a while…
  • Cauliflower – The head we got was really small, and I cut it up and we ate it raw.
  • Red Beets – I’ll experiment and roast them.
  • Leeks – I’ll use them in a soup.
  • Romaine Lettuce – I made a salad.
  • Cilantro – Some of it went into the salad, the rest is in the fridge in a class of water, “hanging in there.”
  • Green Garlic – I’ll use it in a soup.
  • Yellow Onions – I’ll use it in a soup.
And now on to this week’s meals:

Monday: Veggie soup with leeks, green garlic, carrots, and onions with cucumber dumplings. I picked up the dumplings at Trader Joe’s last week. I’ll sauté the veggies and then add some vegetable broth and cook the soup until the veggies are soft. Then I’ll add the dumplings. The package says the dumplings only need to boil for 3 minutes, so this will be a quick dinner.

Tuesday: Veggie burgers and roasted beets and carrots on the side. I have never roasted beets before. We’ll see how it goes…

Wednesday: It’s Wrapped Up Wednesday. Today, we’ll wrap sautéed veggies, cheese, salsa, lettuce, and Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice, salt and pepper into sprouted whole grain tortillas.

Thursday: I’ll make a simple pasta dish with sautéed mushrooms, organic chicken sausage, and tomato sauce. Actually, I think hubby could pull this one off, don’t you think? ;) We'll also have a salad.

Friday: Salad Friday. Maybe it’s time for Fresh Choice again… :)

Questions: What are some highlights from your weekend? What are you eating this week? 

Be well,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lots of Greens and Some Sweats

I have been eating lots of salads lately. There is just something about spring and salads… Plus, once I like something, I could eat it every day (and I usually do, at least for lunch when I don’t annoy my family with the same food over and over)…

I’m also trying to pay more attention to my protein intake lately, so I have made sure to add protein to my salads.

One of my favorite protein salad “toppers” is salmon salad, and I had it several times last week. This is just some Romaine lettuce with avocado, topped with salmon salad.

Greens 001

Salmon Salad
  • 1 can skinless, boneless wild salmon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Wasabi mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon capers
Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy!

Greens 002
On Thursday, I met Lara, and we celebrated her birthday with some salads at Pluto’s, a salad place that lets you customize your salad. I got mixed greens, topped with a grilled Portobello mushroom. There were also seven “add ons,” but you can’t see most of them as they are on the bottom of the plate. Here is what I got:
  • Mixed greens
  • Grilled Portobello mushroom
  • Marinated mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Peas
  • Corn
Greens 003

I got a balsamic vinaigrette on the side. The salad also came with some French bread, which I usually don’t eat, but I was in the mood and really enjoyed it.

There is a cupcake place right next to Pluto’s, and so we got a cupcake to celebrate Lara’s birthday. Since we were quite full from the huge salads, we split the cupcake. We got the flavor of the month -Smores!

Greens 004

Questions: What have you been eating a lot lately? What was your last treat?
Happy Sunday! :-)

Be well,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Guest Post: About Dang Time for Lemony Pasta

[The following post is a guest post by hubby.]

I've never really cooked much. During the rare times when I have cooked, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I want to cook more. I will cook more. I proclaim right here, right now that I'll definitely make it a habit to prepare meals on a consistent basis.Woo hoo!

Now, it's been way too long since I've properly prepared a meal for the family. So yesterday, I couldn't wait to make a very simple dish that I call Lemony Pasta for dinner. I've made it a number of times in the past, but because my memory isn't the best when it comes to many things, I totally forgot the measurements. My preference when it comes to cooking is to refer to a set of thorough instructions and then to follow it verbatim. Wifey noticed my consternation and simply said, "Just do it. Don't look up anything. You've made it enough times." She knew that the meal was very basic and simple and had enough faith in me to know that I could figure it out. :)


  • Brown rice pasta
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper (optional)

While boiling the pasta according to the package directions:

  • Pour 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a bowl
  • Squeeze lemon to create  1/2 cup of juice and add to the olive oil
  • Grate 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and mix in with the olive oil and lemon juice
  • Chop up fresh basil
After straining the pasta:
  • Add the olive oil and grated Parmesan mixture to the pasta and mix in well
  • Plate the lemony pasta
  • Add chopped basil
  • Add lemon zest
  • Add salt and pepper (optional)
The Proof

Gathering up the main stuff...

After seeing me add the basil, the toddler picked a leaf from one of our hanging plants and added it. 

Nothing like freshly, grated Parmesan.

And now for some lemon zest.

The toddler looking somewhat surprised that Daddy's making something.

"Ready for my close up."

I was really surprised at how fast I put together everything. It only took about 25 minutes from the time I turned on the stove to boil up some water to plating everything. I still remember the first time I made this dish. I think it took me over an hour! Haha. I've certainly come a long way with this simple dish from when I first heard about it while watching a Food Network episode 5 years ago - Thanks, Giada!

The dish itself turned out pretty good, at least according to wifey, the teenager, and even the toddler. One thing I'd do differently next time is to use even less extra virgin olive oil, maybe use 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil instead of 1/2 cup, as I think that that would still be plenty of olive oil for the dish.

We wanted a light dinner so the lemony pasta was the main dish. When we've made it in the past, it was more of a side dish. Wifey and I love pasta, lemon, and basil. So this simple dish really satisfies on multiple levels.

Can't wait to prepare another meal soon!

~Grateful Hubby

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are You Too Connected?

I’m talking about high tech connections. High tech connections are essential for most of us. And nothing makes this clearer than when your Internet connection doesn’t work for a while and you are approaching a deadline… Yes, it happened to me not too long ago... All of us are connected through technology, and we have been able to develop wonderful friendships online. For the most part, high tech connections are a good thing. But too much of any one thing isn’t good…

In today’s post on Career Action Now, I talk about the importance of taking frequent tech breaks. I also give some suggestions on how to make sure you’ll take the breaks you need to be well on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis. Finally, I remind the reader not to forget about in-person connections when exploring jobs or looking for a new job. Head over there if you are interested.

Yesterday, the toddler and I disconnected for a good part of the day and explored a beautiful outdoor mall. We had so much fun playing in the warm sunshine, and it was a joy seeing him almost all well again. 

Outdoor mall 02
Outdoor mall 03  Outdoor mall 01

Questions: Do you unplug often enough? How many tech breaks do you take throughout the day, and what do you do? Are you ever truly disconnected? 

Be well,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tea Time and Weekly Meals

Celestial Seasonings recently sent me some samples of their wellness teas to try. While coffee is my “first love” when it comes to beverages, I drink tea almost every day and was excited to try these teas.

Celestial Tea 01

Hubby and I are still fighting off a cold (the toddler actually got the sickest with a quite severe ear infection and a high fever. Luckily, he is better now.) Anyway, I thought that the Sleepytime Throat Tamer was just what we needed, and made us both a cup last night…

When hubby first smelled it, he said, “It smells just like medicine.” But as soon as he took a sip, he loved it as it soothed his throat as he was drinking it. And I definitely felt nice and relaxed after drinking my cup and slept better than in many days. This morning I noticed that the package states, “Persons with gallstones should avoid ginger products” (the tea contains ginger). Oops. Fortunately, I didn’t have any gallstone problems, but I’ll look more into the ginger/gallstone connection as I love ginger and consume it quite frequently… In fact, I think the ginger flavor is what I liked best about the tea! I look forward to trying the other teas soon.

And now this week’s meals:

Tuesday: Salmon cakes on a bed of lettuce.

Wednesday: Wrapped Up Wednesday. Shrimp sautéed with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and vinegar wrapped in Bibb lettuce leaves. There will also be shredded carrots, cucumbers, and edamame to add to the wraps. An interactive, messy dinner… :-)

Thursday: Pasta in lemon sauce with Parmesan cheese and basil. Hubby may actually be making this… Stay tuned, I think I may have even convinced him to write a guest post... We’ll also have a salad.

Friday: Salad Friday. It’s going to be big and colorful…

Questions: Are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker? Or both? What’s your favorite tea? I start every day with a cup of coffee, but I also like tea a lot. I drink some green tea (hot and/or cold) on most days.

Be well,