Posts tagged ‘lunch’

Fire + ice

Good lord, has it been hot in Chicago lately. I have taken to wearing either next to nothing (while at home only, of course), or workout/wicking clothes most of the time because it’s literally like an oven outside this week. Yesterday’s heat-inspired outfit at least looked somewhat put-together:

I feel like my head looks awkwardly huge here…but yeah, that’s my new Lululemon CRB (cool racerback), a hat to cover up the major sweaties/greasies and some cool, comfy LOFT shorts. Flip flops were obviously worn as well.

This was worn as a work from home outfit, but my working was intended to be at the Caribou nearby. Unfortunately, I got there and paid for a drink before finding out that their WiFi wasn’t working! I feel like that is kind of a big deal for a coffee shop where people sit around and work, so I was pretty annoyed that they didn’t have some sort of sign up or something. Small potatoes, but still. Hmph.

I decided to just go back home and finish my work there. I had rented a Zipcar at 6 o’clock to run some errands, so I didn’t want to waste time walking around to another coffee shop when my apartment was much closer. Still though, I hate being cooped up inside all day. At least it was a good day to hide out in the AC.

It was also a beautiful night for colors in the sky.

Isn’t that incredible? I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it looked at dusk.

Even though I have AC in my apartment and it stays pretty cool because it’s so small, I haven’t wanted to use the oven at all — something about hot food or standing over a steamy pot just makes me want to gag. Tuesday night, I made an Amy’s frozen veggie lasagna that was actually really good. I can’t remember what I ate on the side, but it was some sort of vegetable….

The portion size seemed just right (enough to feel slightly indulgent and filling, but not too huge where it was overly filling or had too many calories). The veggie filling was also nicely bulked up, and while I would have preferred whole wheat pasta, the organic ingredient list was nice. I highly recommend it!

Last night, I went all cold and picked up some sesame tofu (marinated but I don’t think they were fried) from the Whole Foods prepared foods case. For some reason I don’t really like the way sesame oil smells, even though I like how it tastes, so the smell kind of put me off and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I tried it though — it was AMAZING!

(Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pics). I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise it was delicious. If you see these, definitely give them a try! I also picked up a lemon-lime Zevia because I was craving soda. To continue with the no-cook theme, I made another massaged raw kale salad. This time, it was just kale, olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I topped it with grape tomatoes.

I love how easy this is to make, plus I feel like I’m eating superfood when I make it (I guess I am!). It’s perfect for hot nights.

So this morning, I finally got to see my doctor regarding the knee pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had knee problems for a long time, but they’ve never really interfered with my life like they have been doing lately. I know it’s in part due to my increased running, but I know that that’s just what intensified the problem, not what caused it.

I got up early to work from home for an hour or so, then headed out to see the doc before going into work. My doctor confirmed my suspicions in that it’s not my IT band and likely not my actual knee that’s causing the problem, but it’s actually “further upstream” in my hip. My right hip is tighter and slightly higher up than my left, causing a misalignment and subsequent knee pain. Some physical therapy focusing on hip stabilizing and strengthening, as well as strengthening my gluteus med muscles, should really help, so she wrote me a scrip. I can’t wait!

Doesn’t she have such nice handwriting for a doctor? I seriously love my doc — she is a D.O. as well as a licensed clinical social worker, and puts a lot of focus on holistic health, and always recommends natural and healthy alternatives like yoga, whole foods and natural supplements. Please let me know if you live in Chicago and would like a recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about her!

When I got to work, I had not one, but two Amazon packages waiting for me. I seriously have a problem! I worry someone is going to nominate me for Hoarders soon…

One item was super-relevant to the doctor’s orders today.

She told me I need to be icing both sides of my knee for 15 minutes every day, twice a day (wow!) so I’m glad this came in the mail. I know I can use frozen peas, but it will be nice to have at least one “real” ice pack since I don’t have any. I still got a bunch of other stuff too though.

I know, I’m insane. Look at all those boxes! But I got some fun goodies, including:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book I’ve been wanting to read forever
  • A kitchen scale which will not only be useful for cooking/baking (weight is much more reliable than volume), but also occasional portion checking
  • A 4-pack of dark chocolate roasted almonds that were WAY cheaper than at the store. Can keep some at work for afternoon snacks, some in gym bag, some at home!
  • A (not pictured) locking glass shaker bottle that I will use for transporting smoothies!
  • Another fun surprise that will be revealed soon!

Love. Love love love love love. This is a clear case of the wild hair syndrome, but whatever – I know I will use all this stuff, and I am really jazzed about the new book. I’m also super excited that Mel offered to lend me her Hunger Games books! Thanks, Mel!! :)

Just for fun, here are a few more 5k pictures.

This was my post-race brunch:

Not sure if I remembered to mention the bacon in that brunch or not, haha.

cutie-pie Amy

Amy's face describes exactly how we felt at the end

anguish!

I am going to get back to work, but I hope you are all having a wonderful day and aren’t melting in this heat. I’m going to try to make it to the gym tonight as my knee is finally feeling a little better, but I’m still wary of busting it up even more. See ya!

July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm 7 comments

Small goals + protein needs

Hi there!

I am a tired lady. My sleeping schedule is seriously out of whack at the moment…I’m finding myself staying up as late as I used to in college! Not that I’m too far out of college now or anything (I graduated in 2009), but since I’m now an “adult” and have an “adult job,” I have to be more responsible about getting a good night’s sleep so I can work hard. Last night I was up until at least 3…It wasn’t intentional, but I get such a burst of energy at night that I find it hard to imagine going to sleep when there are so many other things I could be doing!

Definitely drank a giant iced coffee this morning, made half and half with almond milk.

source: Tom and Lissie

Part of the reason I was up so late is that I worked from home yesterday and got a late start. I focused and worked hard, but it was one of those days where nothing was going right and I couldn’t get the answers I needed to get things done. It was very frustrating, so I ended up working later than I planned to try and get more done. I worked most of the day at Caribou, but this time only bought a large iced tea and brought lunch from home — a small turkey, goat cheese and avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a few strawberries (not pictured).

I finally got home and made dinner around 9, and stuck to a simple combo of whole wheat rigatoni, marinara sauce, pecorino cheese, a Trader Joe’s chicken sausage and some asparagus on the side. It was simple, hearty and delicious.

So as much as I hate doing so, I have gotten back on the calorie tracking bandwagon. I am by no means obsessive about counting calories (I think those people who know the count of every single food offhand are a little neurotic), but I’ve realized that it’s really important to help keep portion sizes in check and to make sure I’m not unknowingly going completely overboard with my daily intake. I know that I need to set small goals for myself in order to make continuous and long-lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

It’s one thing to eat three slices of pizza for dinner — anyone with an ounce of sense knows that this is a caloric meal and, if they’re trying to watch their intake, can compensate to a pretty close balance. That’s not an issue for me. My problem is all the really healthy, nutritious, but calorically dense food that I eat. I love healthy food — I love seeing how many superfoods and nutrient-dense things I can pack into my day, and seeing the benefits both in how I look and feel (hello, glowing skin!). But things like nut butter, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, olive oil, avocado….all these things are very calorically dense. I love all of them, so after tracking my portions and calories very closely, I’ve realized that I usually eat more of these things than I need. Sure, I can balance it out with fewer calories from other things throughout the day, but I doubt I would be satisfied or full if I wanted to stick to the same intake goals.

My point is, as much as I despise calorie counting and feel that it can border on obsessive or disordered in some ways if you’re not careful, I think it’s an important tool that can be used periodically to help make sure you’re sticking to the nutrient and calorie intake that your body needs, but not more than your body needs. My problem isn’t too many cookies or chips — it’s the freakin’ avocado!

On a similar note, I’ve noticed that while tracking on Livestrong.com/The Daily Plate that I almost always go over the fiber and protein “nutrient goals” they set. Fiber didn’t faze me at all — lots of fiber is awesome and most people don’t get nearly enough. But the too much protein thing really surprised me! They’re suggesting I need only 41g per day which I don’t think is anywhere near enough (for health, satiety, muscles, etc), so I decided to look up how much protein I (& women in general) really need per day.

Health.com had a really useful tool that helped cut to the chase (I didn’t want to wade through a bunch of text):

via Health.com

As I suspected, I actually need more than twice as much protein as Livestrong initially told me. I’m guessing they just suggest the bare minimum since most people don’t get enough (or get far, far too much) protein, but I was still really surprised to see such a disparity. Interesting! Glad I have been making sure to get plenty and not listening to Mr. Armstrong ;)

One major accomplishment I made last night was finally setting up my wireless router. Even though I moved into my current apartment at the beginning of May, I neglected to set up a wireless connection for a variety of reasons, the main being laziness, but also because my apartment is very small. I could easily leave my laptop on my coffee table next to the modem I needed to plug it into, and it was never really a problem — just a slight annoyance, the biggest drawback being not being able to use my laptop in bed. I think overall that’s probably a good thing, but I suppose I’ll find out soon enough now that I have wireless!

Funnily enough, the only reason I couldn’t figure out how to set up the router was a faulty Ethernet cable! I thought I was going crazy or at the very least had lost my techie prowess because I couldn’t figure out this silly router for the life of me (it was used, but handed over by my parents so still in great condition). As it turned out though, the cord they included was just busted. As soon as I tried a new one (why didn’t I think of that sooner!) and followed the simple steps on the LinkSys website, I was up and running in no time! Hallelujah!

Another major accomplishment last night was making my first protein muffin, the ones that Gina is always raving about! I wanted a dose of protein (how appropriate!) but also something dessert-y. I know I’m always saying I’m not a sweets person, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving sweets much more than usual. Maybe I’m just not a junk food, processed sugary crap type of person? Even as a kid, I thought Sour Patch Kids and gummi worms were disgusting; they always gave me stomach aches!

I did a pumpkin-chocolate combo for the muffin and it turned out delicious! It was almost like a brownie, but it also wasn’t very low-cal either…I’ll post pictures and the recipe I used later, but I have a feeling I’ll be experimenting with this recipe quite a bit going forward, tweaking it to at least make it the ultimate brownie!

I’m off to finish some work and eat my lunch, then I’m having dinner in Little Italy with my parents for my dad’s birthday! I cant’ wait! Due to the freezing AC in my building, lunch is a steamy cup of lentil veggie soup (in my favorite mug!) and a cold, crunchy salad. I also brought a cup of tasty fruit that I cut up. Have a great day!

July 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm 10 comments

Grocery woes + Greek quinoa salad

Hi friends — happy Thursday!

pretty, huh?

I had another impossible time waking up this morning. I stayed up late talking to the guy I just ended things with for a couple grueling hours. He informed me yesterday afternoon that he may be moving to Portland in a month and I was completely flabbergasted. He is still intent on becoming friends, and while I really do care about him, I’m just not sure I can do it. We’ve been doing this awkward back and forth for awhile now, and it’s getting exhausting, so I’m really not sure what to do. I think I still see him as someone I dated, and don’t know if I could maintain the distance to be okay with being just friends. You know, not kissing or holding hands…etc. :(

Have you ever decided to become friends with someone you dated longer than a quick fling, but not long enough for a full-fledged relationship?

Anywho, I’m totally exhausted. We finally got off the phone at 1:30 in the morning, and after that I proceeded to tackle the horrific mound of (stinky) dishes in my sink. I don’t like this living alone thing — I’m turning into a freaking slob! I’m rarely home these days because who wants to sit home by themselves in the summertime when you could be out having fun? But that means I’m dashing in and out, and never spend any time cleaning up. Who wants to come over and help? :)

After getting the news about the guy’s potential move, I was totally bummed out, so naturally, I went grocery shopping.

You guys, I am a food hoarder. Some people stockpile shoes (although I do tend to do this too…) — I stockpile groceries. I have enough food to feed 50 people for a week. It doesn’t help that it’s nearly impossible to leave Trader Joe’s without spending at least $50. I left with lots of tasty produce, some quinoa (theirs is always cheaper), some frozen fruit for smoothies (ditto — you won’t find cheaper pineapple and mango anywhere else), their amazing chicken meatballs, some Kona coffee (!!) and a few other random things that I can’t remember. I think the bill was something like $83….ugh. But I can’t help myself!!!!!

I also picked up this nifty reusable insulated bag, even though I already have like 38492340239450 reusable grocery bags. Again, friends — hoarder, I tells ya. HELP ME STOP.

After feeling crappy about everything all day (despite being able to work from home – aka Starbucks), I headed home, noshed on a small banana, cleaned up a bit, and tossed on my gym gear after winning an internal battle of whether to go or not. It was absolutely insanely gorgeous out last night, so it would have been the perfect time for a run, but I’m starting to think that I overtrained and gave myself shin splits.

I’m not exactly sure how one can overtrain for a freaking 5K, but I guess these legs are not ideally suited for running on hard surfaces. This totally bums me out, because for the first time in my life, I’m actually enjoying running outside. I’m considering asking my GP to refer me to a physical therapist so we can take a look at what is causing my knee pain, as well as this shin-splint-y feeling. Have any of you guys ever had shin splints?

I got on the scale this morning for the first time in ages. I’d been avoiding it because, due to my total (okay, not total, but certainly not up to par) lack of exercise commitment, I was almost certain that I had gained some weight. I’ve also been feeling pretty down on myself, self-image-wise, and my clothes have been feeling a little snug, so I really haven’t wanted to stare those numbers in the face. But I think it’s important that I know so I can get myself back on track.

Bad news: I had gained some weight, as I thought.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Good news: It wasn’t that much. If I can hop back on the exercise train and get my freaking act together, I think I should be okay. Right now, I just want my goals to be about eating and feeling better (e.g. getting more protein so my hair stops clogging up the drain in the tub — ugh, gross) and fitting comfortably (and feeling fabulous) in my clothes. Eventually I think I do need to set a general poundage goal, but I’m still unsure of how I feel about that. We’ll have to wait and see.

So, um, I’m kind of thinking I need to get myself out on some dates again. But I’m tired of meeting morons and jerkface buttheads (I’m so mature). Chicago ladies — where should I go to find some eligible bachelors that aren’t of the John Barleycorn persuasion? I live in the ultimate no-man’s-land, straddling Wrigleyville and Boystown. To the east, there are gay — albeit gorgeous — men as far as the eye can see. To the west, it’s the land of the Bro-skis, a class of men so undesirable that I’d rather spoon my cats for the rest of my life. Waaaaah.

I’m crazily excited for my lunch today. I packed a salad consisting of butter lettuce + radicchio, a Greek quinoa salad I threw together, tomatoes, leftover avocado and some organic pea shoots. I grabbed a banana to have on the side. Here’s how you make the Greek quinoa salad (makes about 4 servings):

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked
  • a bunch of full-fat feta (as much or little as you want)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced/diced
  • 1/2 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Mix everything together in a large bowl and keep in the fridge, covered. It should stay good about 4-5 days. This stuff is great because it makes packing a lunch SO easy. I topped my salad with it today and can’t wait to try it out with some olive oil vinaigrette as a dressing. Lots of fiber and protein, too — yum! Feel free to tweak the recipe as desired — you can add onions, olives, whatever floats your boat. I recommend using the full-fat feta for two reasons: 1) I think low-fat cheese is disgusting, and 2) low-fat cheese doesn’t have enough flavor, so you end up using more anyway. If you really like the low-fat stuff though, go for it.

I’m off to finish the day. Have a good one!

June 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm 5 comments

Rainy day + sugary sweets

Sometimes I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of my life. I was in the middle of my lunch and realized that I needed to go downstairs to switch my laundry out. Since my cats are fatty vultures, they will immediately jump up and sniff/lick/consume any food or drink that I leave out, regardless of what it is. For this reason, I am always balancing or hiding my food in weird places when I walk away. Today, my lunch was perched on top of the fridge for ten minutes.

I had a delicious open-faced turkey sandwich with TJ’s sliced goat cheese and 1/3 of an avocado, and a salad with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell pepper and TJ’s champagne pear vinaigrette. I just picked up some sliced turkey from the deli yesterday after finishing off the gross pre-packaged turkey I bought last time when the deli was closed. It was the natural, no preservatives kind, but still — that stuff is so slimy and just not tasty. I prefer Boar’s Head ovengold much more :)

See the little flecks of Gorgonzola in the dressing? Mmmm! It’s pretty low-cal too, I think only 45 calories in a serving. I always keep this stuff in the fridge because it makes any salad taste like it came from a restaurant.

Half a banana was also enjoyed on the side.

I was able to sleep in and work from home today (yayyy work-from-home Wendesdays!) and it’s a good thing too, because it’s bleary and rainy out! It seemed like it was actually pretty nice out up until about 1 o’clock, but I was a good little worker bee and stayed inside near the computer, so I can’t be sure. Now it’s raining pretty steadily though, and it’s nice to have the sound in the background while I’m working away.

Yesterday after leaving work, I hopped on the bus to find that it was uber-crowded, so I had to stand up at the very front next to the driver, and it felt like I was playing a video game or something. I was RIGHT up against the windshield. Traffic was bad, so I downloaded a new phone app that is similar to the Hipstamatic for the iPhone and played around with it. Here is an overly-Hipsteresque shot of my ridiculously treacherous-looking spot on the bus.

Crazy, no? That happens from time to time on the bus because it’s the very last stop before it runs express up Lake Shore Drive. It was a beautiful day with tons of people running and biking along the lake shore path, with lots of sailboats out on the water too, but I couldn’t snap a decent enough shot. Sorry! Here’s another.

This app is so neat, I can’t wait to play around with it more. Expect many more hipster-y, vintage-looking pictures in the future!

When I got home, I made a quick run (hah!) to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for the evening’s activities. I seriously don’t think I can leave a grocery store with a bill under $50. Honestly. I think it’s impossible. Thankfully it was still lower than it would have been normally, because strawberries were $1.50 a pack!!! Talk about a kid in a candy store — I went nuts, and left with four packages :D

My friend Laura met me in front of my apartment soon after, and after dropping off the groceries, we walked over to a new restaurant that just opened in the neighborhood called Taverna 750. Immediately after seeing the signs and menu go up a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try this place. It had lots of small plates, homemade cellos (limoncello, orangecello, etc) and a fantastic drink list, all with an Italian twist.

I started off with their signature 750 cocktail, which was very similar to a cosmopolitan, but was made with homemade limoncello and came with a sidecar!

It was STRONG, but very delicious. And how cute is the little sidecar in a bucket of ice? The drink was $10, but I felt like I really got my money’s worth with the extra little carafe. Of course I shared with Laura, and she got a shooter of homemade pistachio-cello. It was sweet and very smooth!

Next we each received our own antipastos. She got a chilled carrot soup, and I got a mozzarella dish wrapped in phyllo dough…they were both amazing.

That’s truffle honey drizzled over the top!

We shared two small plates after that: a slow-roasted pork shoulder in a tomato sauce with creamy polenta and a pesto drizzle (OMG), and a “pizzette” with brie, figs, pepperoni and poppy seeds (OMG!). This is my kind of restaurant.

The polenta was SO creamy and amazing, and paired with the savory meat and sauce, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I will never turn down slow-roasted pork shoulder, it’s one of my favorite dishes. The pizza was amazing too, and I thought the poppy seeds (typo alert – I wrote “poopy seeds” at first…heh) were such a neat and unexpected addition. I can’t wait to come back and try everything on their menu!

For dessert, Laura and I planned on making strawberry rhubarb pie (!) after I texted her earlier in the day saying that it sounded really good (drawback of looking at food all day for work). When we looked at some of the recipes, though, it seemed like the combination of a few tired girls and my very small kitchen might mean we should pick something a little easier. We decided (after a stiff cocktail, of course) that Emeril’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Irish Whiskey Butter sounded perfect to these two lushes.

makin' whiskey butter

pre-cooking

ready for the oven! see all that berry goodness at the bottom?

the finished product

I have to admit, this dessert was very good, but it was far too sweet for my tastes. I have never been a big dessert or sugar person, and hardly eat much of it from day to day, so when I try something really sweet, it usually turns me off. While the taste was fantastic, I had a hard time adjusting to the sweetness with that first bite. The sauce was also very sweet, so I needed to gulp down a gigantic glass of water after a few tastes.

I think next time (if there is a next time), I’d make this with 1/3 of the sugar or even less, since the strawberries were so naturally sweet. I would also try to figure out a way to make the sauce with less sugar, because once that melted into the crumble, it was just that much more sugar. If you’re a big sweets fan though, this would definitely be for you!

I decided to have dessert after my lunch today, and mixed a small portion of leftover SR crumble into a big blob of Fage 0% and sprinkled a little cinnamon on top — I think this was the key here. The yogurt’s tang really set off some of the sweetness of the dessert, and the insanely indulgent creaminess of the Fage (seriously, this stuff is worth the splurge — it is leaps and bounds beyond every other Greek yogurt out there) contrasted nicely with the crunch of the crumble.

You better believe I licked the bowl clean! Yum.

I have a bit more work to do today, and I’m multitasking by doing some long-overdue laundry that has been staring at me for weeks. There are about nineteen piles of clean clothes on my bed, and every hanging surface available is covered in clothes hanging dry. I’d like to get to the gym at some point before it gets too late, but I have a feeling this is going to take a looooong time tonight…wish me luck.

Catch ya later!

June 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm 6 comments

Fatso Friday

Okay, I  don’t really think I’m a fatso (most of the time). I’m just feeling super bloated because I’m dealing with lady issues. Blegh.

What better way to combat that nasty, puffy feeling than heading to the gym? (Bonus points if this is the first time you’ve exercised in a week).

I wore the free t-shirt I scored from Zipcar at SausageFest last week (thanks, Zipcar!), and did about 25 minutes on the lazy person’s recumbent bike with Fitness mag, then did a quick and sweaty 2 miles. I hit a 11:57 pace!!! (I know this is pretty slow for many of you, but getting under 12 for me is still an accomplishment).

if you give me free t-shirts, I can guarantee they will work their way into the gym rotation!

this little lady was watching and wondering why I was taking weird pictures

Even though it wasn’t the most intense workout, it felt good to get back and get moving. I can really feel the difference in my body after seriously slacking in my workouts the past couple months, and it is not a good change. Must. Step it. Up.

Lunches lately have been variations on the same thing…turkey/chicken sammies and salads! Simple, easy and delicious.

open faced whole wheat naan with turkey, topped with swiss melted over avocado -- so killer!

leftover buffalo chicken on a sandwich thin, topped with, you guessed it -- avocado! (can you tell I'm obsessed?)

turkey, swiss and Hellmann's light, alongside a big old salad. you can't tell with my shitty camera phone, but this romaine (organic on sale!) was BRIGHT green!

delicious mix of arugula, cukes, leeks, carrots and pintos. random, but tasty! (I love raw leeks in salads)

my favorite -- yesterday's salad, with the neon green romaine, cukes, rep pep and cherry tomatoes. a classic!

 

The weather this weekend is supposed to continue to be considerably cooler than the heatwave we just had. I’ll take it, even if it means a little rain. I do not handle 95+ degrees well!

my big brother, melting along with me at the Ray LaMontagne concert

the sweaty masses -- check out the total bro-ski in the pink shorts

I have plans to go to a few festivals this weekend — RibFest being one of them :D Last week at SausageFest, I saw a Vizsla and immediately thought of Julie!! (and Sadie!)

don't be fooled, this was no Sadie!

 

I also felt like I earned major cool points with the (attractive) owner for knowing how to pronounce Vizsla :D

Well, I’m off to finish up some work, then hit the gym after work. I got a new (hot pink!!) gym bag from Old Navy yesterday using a coupon and my Groupon, so it was super cheap! It’s little things like new gym bags that get me excited to go to the gym again, so it wasn’t too hard for me to pack up my bag to take to work this morning. Baby steps!!

Hope you’re having a great Friday, and if you need a little boost, check out Ali’s awesome “I Refuse” post today!

June 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm 5 comments

A bit premature?

I hate to jump the gun, especially because I have a tendency to hop back on the bad habits bandwagon every time I see a hint of progress, but I jumped on the scale Saturday after having ignored it for weeks, and voila! I appear to be about ten pounds lighter.

I’m not sure if this may be partially due to my lack of gym time recently (aka muscle turning to mush), my crazy-busy schedule, my tiny (and therefore barely usable) kitchen or just the fact that I am eating less (both intentionally and accidentally), but I find it interesting nonetheless. A huge change has been my conscious effort to watch portion sizes. In a truly un-Laura-like fashion, I’ve been cutting my beloved hamburgers in half and taking the rest home to enjoy as another meal the next day. This is in direct conflict with the little voice in my head screaming, “Eat this entire plate of foooood!! It’s so tasty!! It will make you feel GREAT!”


Does anyone else grapple with this little voice?

(I swear I don’t have beef-induced schizophrenia.)

Great, now I really want a burger. Shouldn’t have looked up that picture…*facepalm*

Anyway, I titled this post “a bit premature” because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. This new “journey,” if you will, is all about creating small, attainable yet challenging goals for myself and achieving them one at a time. Next on my list is to get back into my exercise routine — no easy feat, considering I’ve been out of commission and permitting my extreme laziness in an effort to get over this cold. I know without a doubt that I could have been back at it several days ago, if not far earlier. I am human, however, and let it get away from me. This doesn’t mean I’ve been “bad” or that I’m an awful person…it simply means my mind and body wanted a break for awhile, took advantage of the livin’ made easy, and will need a little extra push to get back into the habits and routine that I know makes me look and feel the best.

The question is — what will this “push” be?

Still too broke to buy some cute new Lulu gear…although I’ve been eyeing this bad boy for quite some time…Not sure how I feel about calling the color “toothpaste” though :/

A few random thoughts and images to occupy your brains on this loverly Monday afternoon…

  • There is a rather interesting debate/comment thread going on over at The Frisky right now. I’ve been a reader for quite some time, and, as many other regular readers may have noticed, their content appears to be going through a transition right now. The site was bought and has been shifting writers, strategy, tone, etc., and their readers have been letting them know in the comments. The site editor, Amelia, wrote a letter from the editor to address some of these issues, and the conversation going down in the comments is really heated. If you’re a regular reader, or even if you’re not, you might want to check it out! The conversation is centering on the expectations of writers/bloggers in regards to nasty comments, criticism, constructive vs nasty, and feminism. Interesting stuff!
  • I like to make silly faces:
  • I spent a good 15 minutes last night packing my breakfast and lunch for the day. This morning, I forgot the best part — the salad! :( Sadz.
  • Tina over at Carrots ‘n Cake is doing a blogger bake sale. Even if you, like me, are not a big sweets person, I’m sure you’ll still find something to drool over — I’m eyeing the soft pretzels!
  • Before moving the other week, I caught Molly snuggling with my teddy bear. Too funny!! (insert crazy cat lady joke here)image
  • I’ve spent a day back “home” at my parents’ house the last two weekends — one for Mother’s Day, one for an ill family member (happy times, sad times). While I was waiting at the train station to head back into the city, I had a lovely view of the adjacent park and the river. Excuse the poor photo quality, but it was still lovely!
  • imageI bought some cute organic mini peppers the other day. And lots of cucumbers. That is all.

    image

Have a great rest of your day, lovelies!!

May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm 7 comments

Avo-goat-o + dabbling in veganism

I made the beeeesttttt sandwich for work today. Lately I have been craving creamy, cheesy comfort food like nobody’s business (although watching Man vs. Food last night probably didn’t help), so I wanted something particularly tantalizing for lunch today, not to mention easy.

Solution: found.

image

I took a Morningstar Farms chick’n pattie that I had hidden at the back of the freezer, two slices of whole wheat bread, half of a PERFECT avocado and some goat cheese. This bad boy made me weak in the knees.

Really though, is there nothing better than cutting into a perfectly ripe avocado? It rarely happens, so I always do a little dance when I get one. <—nerd

I’ve had the goat cheese/avocado combo many times in salads, but never together on a sandwich and all I say say is HOLY COW. Or rather, holy goat. <———bigger nerd

When I was in college and vulnerable to just about any “alternative” idea, I decided to go vegan for awhile. Like many women, I read “Skinny Bitch” thinking it was a diet book and, of course, was horrified to read what it was really about. That stuff is a big shock if you’ve never read about it before, and I had never really been exposed to veganism.

Disgusted, I immediately cut out all animal products in a dramatic cleansing of my cupboards, and found myself with next to nothing to eat immediately after. I did what many “starter vegans” do, buying meat substitutes of every food item you can imagine, as well as some vegan junk food. I tried soy milk for the first time (and hated it, but eventually grew to love it), switched to agave from honey — the whole 9 yards.

Long story short, I slowly began lapsing on my good choices because I found that this lifestyle was simply not practical for me. I am by no means saying that a vegan diet is bad (I think it’s awesome) or that is is impractical in general, but I did not feel my best when doing it and, especially being in college, had a very hard time keeping it up while maintaining the lifestyle that I wanted. (Hello, I lived in Wisconsin — beer and brats, anyone?)

BUT, going vegan for awhile had some very positive impacts on my life that I still keep up with today. After cutting out cow dairy for several months, I found that I had a really hard time digesting it when I tried it again. I now know that I (along with a huge portion of the population) am lactose intolerant, and while I can handle small amounts of yogurt (Greek mainly) and cheese (not ideal but tastes WAY too good to avoid), I absolutely cannot handle milk or ice cream. It makes me sick sick sick and very…er…unpleasant to be around. Heh. I now drink either soy milk or almond milk and don’t even miss milk! I still use half & half in my coffee, but use only a splash and almost always buy organic.

Being temporarily vegan also introduced me to an entirely new world of vegetables. Before that, I would maybe eat broccoli or salads once in awhile, and would occasionally get some vegetable soup. But having quickly realized that you can’t subsist on tofurkey slices and bread all day, I began trying vegetables that I either had never considered or hadn’t even heard of previously. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, jicama, you name it — to this day, I will eat just about any vegetable. Peas (regular, not snap) are my one exception, but I’ll still eat them sometimes anyway.

It was also a great way to learn  how to introduce meatless meals into my diet, and I began to become more and more aware of how much better my body feels when I eat vegetable-heavy, low-dairy and nutritious meals.

Have you ever dabbled in veganism?

March 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm 2 comments

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