Happy 2011!

Happy New Year!  I feel old and boring .. we stayed in yesterday (as usual on NYE) evening, ate a nice homecooked meal, and celebrated New Year’s on East Coast time since that’s where we’re from and b/c I couldn’t stay up until midnight central time .. ha!  I actually fell asleep around 10:15 p.m. and my husband came to wake me up so we could ring in the new year together.

Yesterday, I made breakfast calzones with homemade whole wheat pizza dough.  Mine had 1 egg & 2 egg whites and sauteed spinach and onion.  My husband’s had eggs, ham, spinach and onion.  We dipped in salsa – delicious!

And then I guess I stopped taking pictures – ha!  We just had a really chill day.  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking Julia Child’s recipe for boeuf bourgignon (insanely detailed but so tasty).  By the time I finished, made sides and sat down to eat, I was so hungry I didn’t stop to take pictures.  🙂

This morning, I got up and went for an easy 6 mile run.  After my pitbull run-in during my last run, I brought my phone and my pepper spray.  Now I am sipping a cup of tea and wondering whether I should eat something (not terribly hungry yet but I know I need to eat after running) or wait for my husband to wake up so we could eat together.

2010 was a good year.  I started a new job that I LOVE, with the best co-workers a person could ask for.  My husband and I grew closer together and celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary.  I worked hard towards achieving balance in my everyday life, even though it still feels like a lot of effort and not very natural.  My goal is for it to become more natural.  Right now, it’s still kind of forced.  I have to plan it out (plan out my meals so that they’re normal and balanced, plan out my workouts so that I don’t overexercise) and it takes thought and effort.  It’s easier for me to be extreme.  I also just want to have more fun and treat myself well .. less rigid in my routine, worrying less about money (but still being responsible, of course), eating better food.  So yes.  2011 (as was 2010, and 2009) will still be for achieving more balance in my life.  I’m excited about it and wish you and yours a wonderful start to the new year.

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On the radio today, I heard people talking about not making resolutions for the new year, but rather choosing a word that will be important to them during the new year.  I do plan on sharing some resolutions here tomorrow, but if I had to choose a word to focus on next year, it would be “BALANCE.”  I lack balance in my life.  I’m such an extreme person.  I can’t just work out 30-45 minutes a day – I work out 60-90 minutes a day, often 7 times a week.  I wake up at ungodly hours to have time to do this before work and if I don’t, my day is completely off.  I used to find it easier to eat nothing and restrict rather than try to eat normally.  Now, I’m just too rigid.  I track every calorie and don’t yet, after all these years of trying, to have a healthy relationship with food and my body.  I’m a total workaholic as well – so, work/life balance is another important thing I need to work on.  In fact, most of my resolutions (if not all) will be trying to achieve a sense of balance in various areas of my life.

Today started with a six-mile run (during which I got chased by a stray dog – scary!).  As usual, I had very specific plans and a timeline for the day, so after a quick shower, I took my cereal to go (no worries, I took this picture while parked in my driveway!).

I was hungry when I got back, so while I cooked lunch, I snacked on a clementine and some True North Pecan Almond Peanut clusters.  They are tasty!

I guess I’m on a roasted veggie kick, because that’s all I wanted for lunch today, with a hot mug of green tea and two slices of whole wheat toast.

Not surprisingly since I again did not eat enough for breakfast, I was hungry again a few hours later, and had my standard snack of whole wheat toast with 2 T almond butter and 1/2 T maple syrup.

And I had a few of these extremely gingery (and delicious!) ginger snaps..the rumor is that this is the same cookie as the Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps as well as the ginger snaps in the Whole Foods bin.  They are very crunchy and have bits of crystallized ginger.  They are spicy and delicious!

Dinner was kind of boring .. a baked sweet potato, some steamed green beans and freshly baked corn muffins.  I used the recipe that Lynn posted the image of here, except I subbed the honey for maple syrup and when I make it (I’ve made it 3 times now), I always get 12 muffins out of it and still have a little bit of batter leftover .. and this is filling the muffin pan to the top.

And tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.  I’m looking forward to 2011!

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I’m so routine oriented.  Being on vacation is awesome, but I also crave my normal routine .. so I cope by forming vacation routines.  I had a whole schedule set today, from the time I would leave the house to go running to the time I would be home after running errands.  I need to learn how to loosen up!

I woke up early – around 5:15 a.m. – and ate a clementine around 7:00 a.m. to get me through my workout.  I’m used to working out first thing in the morning, at 5:00 a.m., on an empty stomach, so I can’t have much more than that.  But I am not used to waiting a few hours before working out, and I got HUNGRY!  The reason I waited was so I could make my husband a hot breakfast before he headed to work.  So I made do with this clementine and headed out for a 6-mile run around 8:30 a.m.

When I got back, I took a shower and took a cup of Three Sisters Honey Oaties to go in a paper cup so I could head out on my errands.  My plan was to go to the bank, the liquor store, and Sam’s Club.  We don’t drink, but I wanted to get some marsala wine to cook dinner with.

I know better than to continue on with my day without having a good breakfast .. after all, I was hungry all afternoon yesterday because I didn’t eat breakfast.  The first thing I did when I got back was get some veggies chopped and into the oven.  In the mix were brussel sprouts, tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, broccoli and garlic, tossed with cumin, 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and some red pepper flakes.  I roasted them at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

In the meantime, I tried to keep myself from chewing my arm off and threw in a load of laundry and picked up around the house.  I was so happy when these veggies were ready – I ate them with a fried egg and two multigrain dinner rolls.  Delicious!

A few hours later, after doing some work from home, I had some whole wheat toast with 2 T of chunky almond butter and 1/2 T maple syrup ..

This helped tide me over until dinner.  I cooked chicken marsala!  It was super easy and surprisingly light.  I used tons of mushrooms, since I didn’t plan on having any chicken.  I’ll include my recipe below.  I served the chicken marsala (or for me, mushroom marsala) on top of whole wheat egg noodles with a side of sauteed organic spinach (not pictured).  It was really good!

Only a few more days of vacation!  I plan to (try to) relax a bit on at least one of these days!  Are any of you insanely routine-oriented or always in need of a plan?

Chicken Marsala
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb thinly sliced chicken breast
salt & pepper
3/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1 lb sliced mushrooms (I used 1.5 lbs)
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup marsala wine (I used dry)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 T half and half (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet/frying pan.  Salt and pepper each piece of chicken and dredge it in flour.  Pan-fry each slice for about 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in batches to brown them properly.  Put them aside.

Add the mushroom, onion and garlic to the hot pan and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the moisture has cooked out of the mushrooms.  Add the marsala wine and let it cook at high heat until reduced and thickened (about 3 minutes).  Add the chicken stock and continue simmering.  At this point, I also added the chicken back to the mixture to warm it back up.  Taste the sauce and season if necessary.

Before serving, I like to stir in a couple tablespoons of half and half.  It’s not necessary, but adds a luxurious creaminess to the dish without a ton of calories.

If you’re not big on the chicken, you can totally make this with just mushrooms and veggie stock .. that’s how I prefer it!

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I’m on vacation, but have stayed busy!  Yesterday, I ran a bunch of errands and went grocery shopping in the morning, then went on a 8-mile run.  I cleaned the house, re-organized my closet, did some work from home, cooked myself lunch, cooked my husband dinner .. it was busy!  My mistake yesterday is that I waited WAY too long to eat.  I woke up at 6am, but went out and ran errands and then decided to go for a run.  By the time I got back and showered, it was already noon and I hadn’t eaten yet!  I made myself some roasted veggies for lunch.  I put them on top of a cup of cooked barley and topped it with an egg, sunny-side up.  The brussel sprouts, mushrooms and carrots were tossed with some balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and then roasted in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes.  This was delicious!

But unfortunately, since I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, I kept feeling hungry all afternoon – especially after running 8 miles.  So not long after I finished lunch, I had a cup of 3 Sisters Honey Oaties:

A couple of hours later, I was still hungry so I decided I needed something more substantial so I had 2 slices of Nature’s Own Double Fiber Bread, toasted with 2 tablespoons of almond butter topped with 1/2 tablespoon of pure maple syrup.

This did the trick, because I didn’t even feel hungry at dinner (I ate this around 4pm).  I just had a little bit of broccoli and stir fried potatoes.  I also made sweet & sour pork riblets for my husband.  Sorry, the lighting is really bad in this photo!

We got a new toy for Christmas – the Xbox Kinect – so we ended up playing that for awhile last night.  FUN!  Technology is amazing these days!

On the docket today .. more errands, a long run, and some work to do!

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Life went crazy for awhile.  Personal things, family things, etc.  But I am back!  W and I went on a mini vacation to the Dallas area this past weekend and it was a lot of fun!  We did some shopping, and ate some good food, but I’m really glad to be back and eating my own stuff now!  Some highlights…

We had these sizzling fajitas (with veggies, chicken & steak) with AMAZING homemade corn tortillas (absolutely nothing like the kind you buy from the store) at La Hacienda Ranch in Dallas.  I ate THREE of these filled with chicken & veggies (I just couldn’t get enough of those corn tortillas!).

For dinner, that night, all I wanted was something healthy and light. I picked out a few items from Whole Foods’ salad bar.  I used to live right next to a Whole Foods (as in, I could step outside my apartment door and two minutes of walking later, I’d be there) and probably spent way too $ there while I did!  I got some kale, black eyed peas, butternuts squash, scallion & cilantro tofu, and portabello mushroom quinoa.  I covered all that you see below with some organic greens (since they don’t weigh much).  I was very happy with this meal!

I also scored some of my favorite cookies from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.  They’re the snappy ginger cookies and I hear they are the same as the triple ginger cookies from Trader Joe’s!  I had a few of these back at the hotel after dinner.

Our last meal in Dallas was at Grimaldi’s!  I had no idea that Grimaldi’s had branches all over US. I’ve been to the “real” one in Brooklyn and while this wasn’t quite the same, it was still awesome and reminded me of eating pizza back on the East Coast (I grew up in the New Haven, CT area so I know my pizza!). I had 2 slices of mushroom pizza.

I happen to have a week and a half off work b/c of the holidays ….. I’m a little sad that it’s already Wednesday and a week of that break is over.  It has gone by so quickly!

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Game Day #2

Being from Washington, DC, today is another game day for us, albeit a different kind – the Redskins are playing the Cowboys for Sunday Night Football.  It’s currently halftime, and we’re pretty thrilled about the last minute touchdown we got!  🙂

Anyhow, food on Sundays is always different and scattered.  I just eat when I’m hungry.  When I got up this morning, I had my usual cup of coffee w/ stevia & organic milk, then did an intense workout with a Jillian Michaels DVD.  This workout kills me every time (Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism).  I really wanted to go running, but the last time I ran in my neighborhood (on weekdays, I run on campus, and then I can shower at the campus gym and go to work), I got chased by 2 stray dogs; and then I had to witness one of them get hit by a car when it ran into the street.  I was upset and practically in tears as I ran my last 4 miles back to my house.  So I decided to stay in today!  After working out, I had a bowl of cantaloupe and Flax Plus cereal.

When my husband woke up, I made him some potato pancakes made with organic potatoes, a farmer’s market egg and two strips of bacon.  I make him really healthy breakfasts on weekdays, so I like to spoil him with special breakfasts on the weekends.

For dinner, one of my favorite Chinese dishes – sticky rice.  I make mine with Chinese sausage (though I don’t eat it – I pick it out, it’s more just for my husband), shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts.  I also stir-friend some napa cabbage and made a spicy honey glazed chicken for my husband (neither are pictured).

I also baked this cinnamon almond biscotti for my coworkers and had a piece.  Biscotti is one of my favorite treats!

All in all, a nice weekend.  I spent a TON of it doing homework and studying, but also got to spend some quality time with my husband.  Now back to football!  🙂

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Game Day

I am still getting used to living in a college town.  More specifically, a college town that is crazy about college football.  The last place I lived was Washington, DC, which didn’t really have a huge college football fan base.  Now, I live smack dab in town with a large state university (where I both work and go to school), so college football becomes a part of my life too, whether I like it or not!  On game days, it’s hard to go anywhere.  The streets are backed up, and the grocery stores are packed.  I usually opt to stay home.  Today, I volunteered to help an elementary school that sells parking spots to earn money for the PTA.  I was out in the hot sun for a couple of hours taking people’s money and directing them to parking spots, but they really appreciated the help.

But, before all that madness, I went to the farmer’s market.  I ended up with all this gorgeous, local produce for less than $10.  A canteloupe, sweet potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh eggs.

I decided to make a farmer’s market breakfast for myself, but while I waited for one of the sweet potatoes to bake in the oven, I was hungry, so I cut the canteloupe and had some .. it was the absolute perfect ripeness!

My farmer’s market breakfast – baked sweet potato, sliced tomato, and fried egg.  It was so delicious.  Eggs are one of my favorite foods but since my cholesterol is on the high side (it runs in my family), I don’t enjoy them whole much – only occasionally!

Then after a couple of hours out in the sun, I was hungry, so I had some Fiber Plus Antioxidants cereal ..

For dinner, I roasted an organic chicken on a bundt pan (it didn’t come out as well as my normal roast chicken .. I was just giving it a shot!) on top of some organic potatoes, onions and carrots.

For our side dish, I roasted the farmer’s market eggplant in the oven for 40 minutes.  In the meantime, I sauteed some onions and garlic in olive oil, then added quartered crimini mushrooms and tomatoes.  When the eggplant was done roasting, I added that to the pot and simmered it all together for about 30 minutes with a sprig of rosemary.  This side dish was to die for though it doesn’t look like much.

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