Summer Squash

Last weekend my in-laws sent the boys home with a bag full of summer squash (yellow and zucchini). So, this past week I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it…..other than give it all away. Here are two recipes that I made this week and loved in case you’re trying to figure out a nice dinner and dessert for the weekend that’s kind of summer-y. Continue reading “Summer Squash”

What I Made Wednesday: Cupcakes, Applesauce, and the FDA

I’m currently in the middle of reading The End of Overeating (Fave Reads Friday coming soon) and have been watching documentaries (like I always do, most recent was Sugar Coated) on Netflix and it’s been making me think a lot about food. I’ve written many times about Mindful Eating and I posted an activity for you to try with the experience as part of the May Meditation series How to Meditate. In the news of late we’ve had stories from the FDA about wanting to redefine the term HEALTHY (you can read why I hate that term here) and new information regarding GMOs. My big take away from all of my “research” is that I still want to eat more seasonally and more whole foods. But how do you do this when it comes to a family of four and two adults with very different takes on food? Continue reading “What I Made Wednesday: Cupcakes, Applesauce, and the FDA”

My love of the scale

I had a doctor’s appointment today and they weighed me. I know a lot of women who are against knowing how much they weigh and I even advocate that it is just a number. But….I secretly love hopping on the scale. Why? It’s not because I still weigh 118lbs like I did when I graduated high school. It’s not because I’ve lost every last ounce of “baby weight” or “holiday weight”, it’s because I can choose what to do with that number and not let it control me.

I don’t own a scale at home, so whenever I am near one, I like to hop on and “check in”. I have no way of knowing if that scale is well balanced or how much my clothes and shoes I’m wearing add. I actually don’t care. For me, it’s just an idea of what’s going on with my body. I take that info and carefully, but reasonably, consider what I’ve been doing recently that has caused that particular number to appear.

For instance, today my number was 142lbs. I had my shoes, clothes, and a jacket on. My “usual weight” is somewhere around 134lbs. Wow! 8lbs! Yes, 8lbs is a lot of weight, especially if you break it down to say that 8lbs is 1/17 of my total body weight at 142lbs. It makes up a greater percentage if I were 134lbs. But, what did that number tell me? Anything I didn’t already know? No.

I know that I took a lot of time off from my usual cardio work (aka running) this fall. This is what burns the majority of my “extra calories” each week and pretty much keeps my weight in check. On top of that, I take a pretty simple approach to the holidays….It’s any other day; it’s any other party.

What does that mean? Well, we encounter parties all throughout the year. There are birthday parties and office parties and girls’ night out and friends visiting from out of town and a multitude of other reasons that we give ourselves to “cheat” from the way we usually eat. So, instead of beating myself up over it or restricting myself leading up to the big event or avoiding the enjoyment of the holiday food, I just treat it like I would any other party. I eat (although mindfully enjoying the food) and I drink.

During December we had more food and ate more often and I sampled more sweets than the other 11 months of the year, but not more or less than I would have if we partied that often in any other month. I drank more wine and other drinks. I enjoyed far more hot chocolate and juice and egg nog. We ate and sat and visited and enjoyed.

Do I regret it at all? No, because I love the scale for reflecting the bounty that I had this holiday season. I was well fed and celebrated. I look at that number and know what it means. Then I hop right off and go about my life. I taught yoga this morning before my appointment. I spent the rest of the day chasing kids and cleaning around my house. At 530am tomorrow I will be up and on my run again. I have been eating more sparingly because there is less around and I’m still just doing what feels right and tastes good. So, in the spirit of these 30 day posts….

Day Six: I resolve to continue my love affair with the scale and know that it is a reflection of the choices I have made. It is constantly fluctuating and I am the only one in control of what I do with that number. I choose to embrace it.

Have you ever been in love with your scale?

What do you do about holiday eating?

Is your holiday weight a happy reflection of the way you spent your time?

Sweet Surrender

My run yesterday morning was warm….like almost 50 degrees before 6am. I do not like this weather and have at least one sympathizer in Caitlin at Fit and Feminist (read her post about running season here). What was amazing about my run yesterday morning was it was the third time on this route that I’ve hit 9 min/mi or less, so I finally get to move on to my next route tomorrow! Today is also that Tuesday before Christmas and that means it’s Sweet Potatoe Biscuit Day!

We are hosting Christmas Brunch this year and I have a plan for how to get there without overwhelming myself. Here’s my 7 day plan for Christmas survival.

Day One: Saturday before Christmas

Plan of action is to run early in the morning, fast clean the house, cook and bake all day, shove the family out of the house, enjoy an evening at home with friends, food, and cookies. Oh yeah, and drink some wine, that’s always a necessity this far out. (Sorry for the lack of photos….I decided to enjoy myself instead of snap a billion pics….recipes for cookies to come!)

 

Day Two: Sunday before Christmas

Plan of action is to sleep in, make pancakes that will last for a few more mornings this week, attempt to read a book, pretend like you’re not actually going to do anything that day so you can enjoy the day. Also, see Santa and overpay for a picture of the one kid that would sit on Santa’s lap without crying (so should have bought the photo where little one was crying for the price I did pay), and have a nice fire with some friends while exchanging early gifts. Oh yeah, and drink some more wine and hot cocoa(…..just not together, I tried that at home and it was NOT good!)

 

Day Three: Monday before Christmas

Apple Butter Day! Go for an early run and work on that overdue library book, then eat pancakes, take kids to activities, return things that we don’t need for Christmas (BEFORE Christmas), finish fighting with Shutterfly, enjoy crazy warm weather in December. Don’t forget to submit grades. Oh yeah, and watch a Christmas movie with the family, because it’s ALMOST CHRISTMAS!

 

Day Four: Tuesday before Christmas

Last day to yourself before hubby is on holiday, so get up early to teach yoga, return library books, bake sweet potatoes and sweet potatoe biscuits, start re-cleaning the house for company, attempt to do something fun with the kids (that doesn’t involve them eating all of the cookies from the cookie exchange), and watch another Christmas movie with the family. Make a chicken pot pie to die for! Oh yeah, and crack open the eggnog….possibly with Brandy?

 

Day Five: Wednesday before Christmas

Wake up early to run even though it will annoy your hubby who is now on holiday, make a grocery list, catch up on blog reading and enjoy the quiet before everyone else gets up. Today you will go real grocery shopping for whatever else you will need to make it through the next week which doubles as an escape from the house. Hope that the remaining Christmas gift arrives a day early so that you can wrap it. Eat up leftovers in the fridge for lunch, bake Santa cookies with the kids, and make some beautiful salmon for dinner so that your brain is fueled for the days to come.

 

Day Six: Christmas Eve

Wake up early and don’t teach yoga, but do some yourself upstairs….away from everyone….and possibly get in some much needed meditation. If not, just read Amanda’s Think Out Loud Thursday round-up and get yours posted. Then the prep begins…..make the french toast casserole, cinnamon rolls, and egg casserole, cut up the fruit and stir up the cream cheese dip. Christmas is tomorrow and everyone needs to just chill today! Have all of the dishes done before baked ziti for dinner and watching Home Alone with hot cocoa. Get the kids to bed for the big day!

 

Day Seven: Christmas

Get up early for a run and so you can beat the kids to the tree and be sure to record them holiday hearthgetting up for the 5th year! (See how long this will last…..) Have time to shower and get dressed after presents and before everyone else gets there. Then, throw it all in the oven, sit back and enjoy! That evening….snack on light fare for dinner and look at the bounty that was a perfect and slightly stress free holiday.

Yeah….that’s my plan….eat cookies, drink a little, exercise, and spend time with the family while taking it one day at a time. Check back in on Thursday and, if I’m not yet committed, I will tell you how it is going. Until then, enjoy this other posts of mine about the holidays:

Shopping for Christmas Already?

What is your holiday attack plan?

The Great Cookie Exchange….or why I ran this morning

Hm? Maybe I should rephrase that title…..or just explain more here? One of my biggest pet peeves as a trainer and someone who loves to workout, is when people exercise so that they can “cheat eat”. I didn’t run on Wednesday and Friday mornings this week because I was in some serious pain that wasn’t going to be helped by bouncing around on concrete for 15 minutes or less. But, last night I was feeling better and I decided that my last 3 non productive days needed a dose of wake up…..so 530am and I rolled out of bed to hit the road.

Why? Because 530am runs give me enough time to run, do some strength training, stretch, and take care of quiet work (like computer time) before my family wakes up. I am the kind of person who likes a lot on my plate….often the phrase, “eyes are bigger than the bellybutton” applies to my work schedule. (Although, wouldn’t it be weird if someone’s navel were larger than their eyes?) So, I’m taking back two hours of time to get life in order. And today, it’s to prep for the cookie exchange I’m hosting tonight.

I can’t remember the last time I did something alone with just another female friend. I honestly think it may have been in the spring some time. So, tonight it’s just me and some of my NC gal pals and a whole lot of cookies! I’m hosting and making all of the food (over doing it I’m sure) and four different kinds of cookies. This is also my first time roasting hazelnuts and baking with gluten free flour. Wish me luck! I plan to have pictures and recipes for you all on Monday, but until that time, enjoy some of my other posts about cookies. Have a great weekend!

New Cookies!

Attack of the Holiday Cookie Monster

 

What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe?

The Metal Element

“Metal correlates to autumn, a time to begin turning inward.” ~Eating With the Seasons by Teri Mosey; IDEA Fitness Journal Jan. 2015

I’ve written a few other times this year about eating with the seasons and this article from January’s IDEA Fitness Journal. (You can find my other posts linked below.) I hadn’t had a chance to cover the fall foods yet, and for those of you who’ve read my posts in the past, you know how much I love fall foods! So far this fall we’ve had our 2nd annual chili cookout and I’ve been making pumpkin everything! I actually plan on making chili at least once a month now through the end of the winter season. But, I’m also feeling like a shift is coming in my eating patterns all together.

My goal for 2015 was to see myself as stronger by the end of the year. I’m really starting to believe that I can accomplish anything….again. One of the things that I’m looking forward to in the new year is taking better control of my health through food. I haven’t been “scared off” by the recent reports about bacon and other pork products causing cancer. Instead, it has reaffirmed my belief in “everything in moderation”. Also, I’m not that into pork products and never have been. I’ve really tried, for my family, but I’m more of a sausage once in awhile kind of gal and the occasional pork chop when I can’t think of anything else to make.

So, I really loved the quote at the start of the section on fall eating. It spoke to me on many levels. I am a fall baby (sorry I still haven’t gotten around to posting about my birthday), and it’s also one of my favorite times of year. Who doesn’t love the crisp air, college football, and the changing of the leaves? And the food that comes with fall is the best….think Thanksgiving!

This article mentions the dryness that comes with fall and foods that have a moistening quality including: tempeh, barley, millet, mushrooms, almonds, cooked pears, beets, carrots, daikon, parsnips, squash, yams, and soups and stews. It recommends pungent flavors and smells to clear the sinuses, like peppermint, radishes, watercress, turnips, garlic, onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, and scallions. These things remind me of some of my favorite recipes that I’ve shared before and have also linked here. I also love that it says this is a time of, “opposing emotions of courage and grief.” I encourage you all to take time to turn inward, cultivate your strength, let go of your sorrow, nourish your body, and enjoy the gifts of fall!

 

Simple Simon: Soup and Chili

Appreciation for Smarties

Simple Simon: Menus of Greatness

IGE: Kale and Butternut Squash Penne

IGE: Smoked Sausage, Kale, Apple Cider, Quinoa Skillet

I added butternut squash to mine and used a grain blend from HT Traders that included Red Quinoa, Green Lentils, Barley, and Brown Rice.
I added butternut squash to mine and used a grain blend from HT Traders that included Red Quinoa, Green Lentils, Barley, and Brown Rice.

WV Mountain Mama: Venison Barley Soup

Weelicious: Black Eyed Peas (I combined this one with the next recipe)

FS: Hoopin’ John with Venison

What is your favorite fall food?

Eat It!

Today is the first day of Summer and I couldn’t let it pass without a quick note on the new foods I’m going to be incorporating into our diet for the next few months. A long while back I mentioned an article on eating with the seasons and I’ve tried to do a fair job of incorporating certain foods at certain times of the year to best fuel our bodies. As summer has officially hit, here’s what’s going on the plates for the next couple of months:

Bitter foods: romaine, watercress, endive, escarole, Swiss chard, asparagus, celery and quinoa to support the liver

Fruits: watermelon, apricots, plums, and cherries to stay hydrated

Beans: mung, soybean, kidney, and navy beans that have a cooling nature

Heart healthy foods: halibut, salmon, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts

And we’re also going to ditch some of the grilling and try to eat more quick cooked or raw dinners. Think salads with fruit and nuts and cheese instead of burgers and beans all of the time.

Want more posts about seasonal eating? Find them here!

Triggers
Appreciation for Smarties
Kathleen, you are a lone reed.
A Delicious Three Way
Attack of the Holiday Cookie Monster