Thursday, March 31

Laxidazical Lady

Hi everyone! Let's get real real fast, because I am actually on my way to my first (should be fourth) class of the day. Here's the lowdown behind my lack of posting:

I didn't blog on Wednesday because I spent the whole day working around the house, packing for my weekend at Biff's and putting some finishing touches on the first draft of my thesis that will be turned in in about 3 minutes.

I planned on blogging- a legitamate blog post- tonight, but alas, I forgot my camera cord at my casa.

I plan on hopping back on the blog-wagon tomorrow. Get ready for a 3-day recap! I know you are as stoked as I am.

See you then!

Question: What is your favorite on-the-go snack? I am feeling lik mixing it up these days...

Wednesday, March 30

Hungry Girl

After a few days of processed and sugary foods, I put my foot down (with myself) and said, This has GOT to stop. You all know that I am never against having a treat every now and then, or even every day, but having chips, cake, or candy with almost every meal is NOT ok. I was starting to feel it. After attempting a detox that actually made me feel worse than it was worth, I  ended up falling right back off the band wagon.

So Tuesday, I made myself a simple, yet filling breakfast.
Papaya and yogurt.
Then I packed myself a super-dee-duper healthy lunch and snacks for my full day of school.
Quinoa with salsa, big bag of veggies, and a pear. Not picture: almonds.
Back to that filling breakfast… It kept me full for about an 1.23 hours. This got the hungry ball rolling for me. No exaggeration, I was hungry ALL DAY. It’s not that I wasn’t eating, because I did eat. ALL DAY. This is the last time I pack mostly vegetables for mydaily eats. I assumed the sheer volume of the foods I was eating would keep me full. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Every time I ate, I felt hungry within a half an hour. Luckily, I had a melted protein bar in my car. After my volunteering with Biff and playing with the furry creatures, I made my way home. The entire way, I was thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner. I was not about to have a measly dinner after the day’s torture.

The following feast was the product of my commute daydreaming.
Yes, this is two large plates. Cod loin, twiced-baked potato (healthy version), and salad beast.
My eye was obviously bigger than my stomach. The other half of that potato is going to be Mama’s lunch tomorrow. I’m such a good daughter. :D

The moral of this story is that you should always pack yourself ample snacks to keep from being miserable. I usually don’t have a problem with this, but today, I greatly overestimated the stay-full powers of vegetables, making me a hungry girl. I might just go have a snack now…   

Tuesday, March 29

Party Animals

As I sit down to write this post, evidence of potato chips, mint-chocolate chip ice cream, and meat and cheese on crackers shows in my bloated, yet happy stomach, and remnants of their delightful tastes are still on my taste buds. Let me explain how this came to be…

I woke this morning later than usual (I blame senioritis), and had a typical breakfast.
Mocha Java protein shake and a pear.
 Then Mama informed me that we would be attending a surprise birthday party for her best friend. Apparently, everyone has known about this for a while, except for me. I guess everyone assumes that I am always up for anything and that I would have no prior engagements. I suppose I’m getting predictable.It seems like partying is all this family does. No complaints here.

After piddling around, I decided to do something productive, so I got to sweating. I did 25 minutes of weights and 20 minutes of yoga. Basically, it was magical. I feel like I’ve found the perfect combination: strength training, followed by strength training and stretching. It was beautiful.

Naturally, over the course of the day, my mom somehow ended up taking over the majority of the party-planning duties. I am still unsure how, in a few hours, we went from mere attendees to pseudo-hostesses. It is what it is. I got ready for our day out on the town, running errands for the shin-dig and then dined on an appetizing lunch.
Leftover salad courtesy my wonderful aunt and yogurt topped with the last of the carrot apple cake.
For some reason, we ended up not leaving as soon as I thought. Between the time I ate lunch and the time we left for the store, I managed to work up a rumbly in my tumbly. Snack time was in order. In my defense, the span of time between eating and outing was about 2 hours…
These are pretty much God's gift to the GF world.

Walrus face. Always sexy.
Mums and I hit up the post office to mail invitations (for my upcoming going-away partizzle), the library, the feed store (for the poopers), the grocery store, and the other grocery store. By the time we got home, it was already late afternoon. I figured, since we would be eating some pretty hefty snacks at the party, I would eat a small dinner early.
Veggies sauteed in a little BBQ sauce and a sweet potato.
This would have probably been sufficient, followed by some fruit and yogurt later in the night. Instead, this was the spread upon arrival.

There was no hope for self-control.

Large quantities of meat, cheese, chips, salsa, and crackers were consumed. It was so freakin’ good. I can never resist the charms of a meat and cheese tray.  

I did, however, resist the ice cream and cake (obvs).

But then…
Minty, Chocolaty Perfection
 I ended up dipping into this tub for a good five minutes.

No big deal. *shoulder shrug* Although I have been enjoying myself, in the interest of health, I need to get back into my clean eating routine. For reals. Luckily, when inspected the fridge for tomorrow's lunch prospects, I realized that these party animals forgot the veggie tray. 

Coincidence? I think not...

Monday, March 28

Dancing Through Life

Like so many weekends of my life, this one was spent breaking plans and having a good time. Every day, along with trying to lead a “healthy and balanced life,” is enjoying and living in that life. What I mean is, it’s a constant struggle to take my analytical and obsessive nature out of the equation, and just take life as it comes.  This is arguably more difficult for me than living that healthy, balanced life. I don't want to stroll through life, but dance through it instead. In doing so, I find that plans change and we're better for it.

Saturday, I did about a quarter of the homework I had planned on doing, did 15 minutes less Zumba than I had wanted to do, and took a nap instead of laying out. Sometime in between all of that, I ate yummy food.
Shroom, onion, red pepper, and spinach scramble repeat.

Papaya with yog.

Dinner in bad lighting: boiled red potatoes, spaghetti squash, salad, and a lovely glass of Cabernet Savignon.
After my delicious, simple dinner, instead of doing the other three quarters of the homework I should have done, I decided on spending the night with my good friend Netflix.  In flipping through the new releases, I stumbled across this:
I never got around to watching it in the theater and have been dying to watch it ever since. Without going into all of the philosophical and prosaic detail, let’s suffice it to say that sometimes, you just need an eye opener. I think life is about constantly reminding yourself that there is so much more out there than what’s right in front of you. I used to care about things so much bigger than myself, but fairly recently, I’ve lost sight of those things. My worldview and life scope had decreased to the size of a pinhead and needed to be re-expanded. My perspective restoration has slowly been taking place over the past month or so, and I feel like watching Eat, Pray, Love just pushed me one step closer in the right direction. Here is just one of the many quotations in the movie that really got me thinking:

“And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”

With my improving sense of life, I woke up Sunday morning ready to meet the new, beautiful day ahead of me. I had a delicious breakfast that, surprisingly, hasn’t graced my lips in quite some time.
Yogurt with a juicy pear and a nice helping of almonds and coffee with milk on the side.
 After consuming my fresh and fruity first meal of the day, I went for a walk in the Florida morning sunshine.

Later, I helped pretty-up the house for the familia and got a little bit of homework accomplished. A snacky lunchtime followed.
Snacktion: Carrots, celery with peanut butter, provolone quesadilla, and pastrami.
Around 2 PM, the house started to fill up. The rest of my afternoon was spent savoring amazing food and appreciating the strange family I have been placed in.

Imagine a photo of way too much chips and salsa right here.

Delicious salad, baked potato, and sloppy Joe sans bread.

Entire plate of dessert: sweet corn bread, brownie, mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, and a cup of peanut butter pie filling.
Apparently, my uncle thought it would be funny to have a photo shoot with my camera. The pictures are disturbing. Even more disturbing was my family's lack of surprise while all of this was taking place... I really don't think captions are necessary.

I hope you got a good laugh out of that.

I’m currently watching Eat, Pray, Love again with Mons. It might just end up being a personal classic.

Sunday, March 27

Daily Reminders

I’m finally getting around to recapping Thursday and Friday. This lack of motivation is killing me. But here I am, and that’s what counts, right?

Thursday was the norm- drive an hour to go to pointless classes. Pointless in material, not pointless in purpose (getting that diploma, baby). As of late, the need to do anything above and beyond passing seems more and more ridiculous. I just want to finish! I would love to speed it up a little. The foods I eat in the mornings and throughout the day are meant to give me energy and brain power for my classes. Obviously, that’s not working, but at least they are yummy!
Ok, sometimes it's yummy. Greens with water= death in a cup.

Toast. Peanut butter on one, cream cheese and fig jam on the other. Cinnamon yogurt on the side.

Chicken salad beast.
After class I had a horrific tummy-ache, which I attribute to dousing my insides with green drink, so a short naptime won out over volunteerism. Sorry little furry ones. All I wanted to do was hang with my Biff, whose brain connection with mine was even more evident than usual:
Black and white. Polka dots and stripes. I call it Clash-Match.

Also unplanned. T-shirt circa 2007 and paint party shorts. The hand prints on our butts are from each other.
We made our way to Wally World for a little food shopping trip, and feeling a little bleh, decided to head over to the local coffee shop for a pick-me-up.
Mocha Javaccino, thanks to my Biff and her gift card.
 We bonded over java and then came back to have dinner before going to our Thursday night Zumba party.
Baked sweet potato with sauteed onions on top. Not pictured: Biff's leftover carrots.
 We were both super excited about it since we hadn’t shaken our booties together in quite some time. But when we got there, we were disappointed to find out that class had been canceled. Boo you, Zumba teacher! Not wanting our matching workout get-ups to be in vain, we went for an hour walk around campus. Lovely.

After our stroll, we came back, showered, and proceeded to spend the rest of the night like 80 year old ladies. Sometimes, school work and relaxation has to be a priority. Jersey Shore managed to suck me in for its season finale, and then I hit the hay.

Friday morning, I woke up and had a liquid breakfast, courtesy Betty Lou’s Inc.
Orangey creamy goodness.

Seriously milkshake-worthy
I really loved this protein shake. It passed the no-fruit test (blended with only half water and half almond milk), although I think it would have been perfection if I would have included this banana in the mix. It pretty much reminded me of an orange creamsicle, which I LOVE.

Then I Skyped my Honey Bunches of Oats, and then Biff and I traipsed over to the school pool. While I was there, I munched on lunch. The only thing that would have made my time at the pool better would be having my man sitting next to me with his shorts rolled up, revealing his sexy muscles. Nothing beats a hot, tan, well-sculpted Portuguese boy (He will be blushing and slightly perturbed at my vivid description when he reads this, guaranteed). Sometimes, reminders like these give me little butterflies. Aaahhh, how I miss those days...
Carrots, yogurt with almonds and raisins, and carrot-apple cake.
 Fast forward to 5 PM and imagine me walking in the front door, heading straight for the pantry, and going on an eating rampage. I found myself scarfing obscene amounts Cape Cod chips, a bowl of strawberries, and two slices of toast with cream cheese and strawberry jam, all before we were scheduled to go to Carrabba’s for dinner with the famiglia (<--busting out my limited Italian). Nice.

In the spirit of balance, I had a light salad for dinner.
Insalata Fiorucci: Spring greens, eggplant, roasted red peppers, and artichokes drizzled with vinaigrette and topped with a hazelnut-encrusted goat cheese medallion.
In the spirit of indulgence, I followed that salad with a gigantic dessert.
John Cole: vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel and topped with candied pecans.
On the way home, I started feeling like a health failure, over-analyzing my food choices of the day and thinking, “It’s going to have to be a salad day tomorrow.” But I realized that it does no good to dwell on what was “bad.” Instead I thought about the good that came of it: an extremely enjoyable and tasty dinner and time with good friends (we were joined by our youth pastor and his wife). What’s the good in enjoyment if it’s followed by self-punishment? Nothing. For me, living a healthy lifestyle has to be a daily reminder- some days I will uphold my commitment to it, others I won’t. What counts is that I enjoy myself. As long as I am healthy and happy, one, two, or even three days of falling off the bandwagon doesn’t call for a day in the penalty box.

Tomorrow, the family is coming over, which means there is going to be insane amounts of food laid out for my enjoyment all day. Instead of restraining myself, I’m going to go for it, in moderation, of course. And, after I eat a small baked potato with butter and sour cream, a little Sloppy Joe, and possibly a small bowl of ice cream, I’m going to feel good about it. I’ll make sure to remind myself of that tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24

It's Only Uphill from Here

I woke this morning thinking that today was bound to be better than yesterday, because, let’s be honest, yesterday was pretty bad. Five AM and I got reacquainted and I banged out a paper that’s due tomorrow (Thursday). Nothing like procrastination. At 7, it was break time, and I ate a breakfast of champions.

I found this recipe on Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free and made it last night with necessary adjustments. 

Apple and Carrot Breakfast Cake

Original recipe

You could use a regular blender for this, but make sure to chop the apples and carrots first.

2 cups Better Batter flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 apples, quartered (leave the peels on)
1 cup of carrots, peeled and chopped (about 3 medium carrots)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until evenly combined. Place eggs, vanilla, apples, and carrots into the VitaMix.  Start on low and quickly increase to Variable 10 while using the tamper to push the apples and carrots into the blades.  Switch to High and blend for 20-3o seconds until thoroughly mixed.  It will be thick. 

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients by hand. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean (I think my liquid was too thin, and I ended up having to cook it for an hour!). 

Top with freshly whipped cream, homemade yogurt, or cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
Cake with cream cheese and banana/chocolate/green smoothie.
So lovely. It’s a perfect breakfast cake-not too sweet and very healthy and nutritious. I realized that I didn't take a picture of the final product in it's whole form. Obviously, I was too excited to dig in.
After I had breakfast and completed my paper, I thought it would be a good idea to take Lucy for a sleigh ride. I was sorely mistaken… After about 25 minutes of rolling around the neighborhood, I noticed three large dogs roaming the street in the distance. Lucy and I have a routine that when we see a dog, I skate faster, keeping her focus on the road instead of the other dog. Well, that plan today was unsuccessful. Long story short, I ended up hitting approximately 79 MPH and then abruptly being jerked to the ground when Lucy thought it would be a good idea to stop and greet the other dogs. With bruised knees and ego, I limped home in pain and felt the bad mood from yesterday creeping into today.
This proceeded to swell to the size of an orange. Awesome.
The more I thought about it and the more intense the pain got, the more my anger grew. I spoke to my poor fiancĂ© immediately following this incident. I say “poor fiancĂ©” because I spent about an hour venting about how stupid dogs are and how everything in my life seems to be sucking right now. I realized that the only cure for this problem was sleep. But first, I had to eat lunch.
Mushroom, onion, red pepper, and spinach scramble on tortillas.
 I woke up feeling about a million times better than before. Thank heavens. I spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for my weekly vacay to Biff’s house and cooking dinner.
Chicken tenderloings, spaghetti squash, and sauteed greens with Cape Cod chips on the side. Beware: Cape Cods are addicting.
 This dinner was so yummy and comforting. Good food always manages to lift my spirits. After dinner, the fam and I headed to church. I figured I could use some inspiration after my less-than-stellar day. I’m really glad that my day slowly improved and I didn’t stay in my crap-mood rut. Two days in a row is simply unacceptable. I’ve already made up my mind that tomorrow is going to be awesome. I can feel it.