Things I’m Looking Forward Two

1. Winter Squash

 

Cajun-spiced Butternut Squash Fries anyone?

2. BIG Navel Oranges

Almost-grapefruit-sized juicy delciousness… is your mouth watering like mine is right now?

3. My Sister’s Wedding

4. The day when this cough goes away

5. Dinner

… No picture available, but it’s a Curried Lentil, Barley, and Pumpkin stew. YUM (leftovers from date-night-in with my boyfriend on Friday)

My goal in life

Image

Here it is. Pretty simple: to get to be an old, healthy, happy woman.

Here’s a little something-something that I got from a mailing list I’m on featuring…

 7 Ways to Become Healthier Today

By Valerie Frankel, Health.com

Health.com

Easy lifestyle alterations

Think it’s time to make some healthy lifestyle adjustments? Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, is right behind you. Buettner is crossing Iowa in a bus, attempting to change American towns into healthier places. “More than 40% of Americans smoked in the ’60s, and only 20% do now,” he points out. “We can turn around our diet and lifestyle, too.”   

One thing we Americans have going for us:  We are always up for a challenge. So try these healthful ideas inspired by healthy women around the world. 

Take 20% Off

Blue zones—like areas in Italy, Japan, Greece, California, and Costa Rica where the people have traditionally stayed active to age 100 or older—are some of the healthiest in the world. “In every Blue Zone, they eat less than we do, by at least 20%,” Buettner says.   

One trick for slashing portions: “Instead of putting big platters of food at the center of the table, fill each plate at the counter,” Buettner says.   

Pile on the plants

Not only are plant-based diets rich in antioxidants and other good-for-you nutrients, they’re also better for your waistline. “A plate of food in Okinawa has one-fifth the calorie density of a typical American meal,” Buettner says. “You can chow down for a fraction of the calories.”  

Buettner suggests thinking of meat as a condiment rather than the main event, and subbing in more beans, legumes, and nuts.  

Love the foods that love you back

A diet of berries and elk or tofu and sea vegetables might seem utterly foreign—but taste buds can be retrained. “Americans love fat, salt, and sugar because that’s what we’re used to,” says David L. Katz, MD, founding director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. “But studies show that if you eat more wholesome foods, you can learn to prefer them.” 

An easy way to start:  Search for stealth sugar, which Dr. Katz says is found in many packaged foods. “Once you get rid of that hidden sugar, you’ll start to prefer less-sweet foods,” he notes.  

Sit down—and slow down

It might be too much to cook every meal. But we can sit at a table to eat our takeout instead of scarfing it down in the car. Savor each bite as the French do; stretch your meals out for 20 whole minutes. You’ll end up eating less and enjoying more.  

“The longest-living people don’t think of exercise as a chore,” Buettner says. Instead, little bits of movement are a constant part of their everyday lives. Make like a French woman and take a short walk after dinner.  

Shovel your own snow instead of paying the kid next door; make extra trips carrying laundry up and down the stairs.   

Get out

Every Blue Zone is known for its strong social and family bonds. Besides spending quality time at home with family, surround yourself with healthy-living friends—good health habits are contagious, research shows.  

Be sure to get involved in your community, too, whether it’s at church, a gardening group, or a volunteer organization. These connections can add years to your life, Buettner says.  

Take it easy

Even the world’s healthiest people get stressed out sometimes. What they all have, Buettner says, are daily strategies to shed stress. Meditate, go for a run, make a dinner date with your best friend—and don’t worry about your inability to be a French woman or a Greek farmer. 

It’s OK to enjoy the occasional cheeseburger. What matters is a cumulative lifestyle pattern of enjoying healthful food, staying connected to others, and keeping yourself moving.]

——————————————————————————————————-
What I’m working on:

1. Slow down. Sometimes I really scarf down my food. I’m going to make a concerted effort to really enjoy my food.

2. Get out – OK, so I already do this. But I definitely want to continue it- I know that spending quality time with friends and family makes my life happier.

3. Take it easy – Definitely trying to ease up on stress and live in such a way as to build in relaxation time. (i.e., going home for lunch, reading before bed)

What are you working on to make your life happier and healthier?

Merry Hanukkus

Hey all,
I’m writing you from my couch where I’ve been sitting, relaxing, for most of the morning. My Christmas started out on a good note:
- wake up without alarm clock
- yoga practice (dvd)
- steel cut oats with milk, pumpkin, pomegranate, flaxseed meal, and almond butter (so. good.)
- backed-up-email-reading

The rest of my day looks like this:
- debate doing this workout in preparation for the day’s feasts
- traditional feast with extended family and friends
- white elephant gift exchange (so fun)
- taco feast with the boyfriend’s immediate family

This past week I’ve been baking a bit for my friends’ holiday presents, which means a lot of dough-eating/”broken”-cookie-eating:

Notice the greasy stain where my "tester" cookie once rested

Oh darn, it broke apart. Might as well store it in my belly :-)

I bake cookies for my friends pretty much every Christmas. This year’s assortment looked like this:

Christmas Present Cookies

To the left we have Orange Spice Molasses Cookies :

Orange Spice Molasses Cookies

Wonderfully spicy and delicious. I think I’ve probably made a better molasses cookie in my day, but this recipe still is pretty darn delicious.

To the right (and pictured above) we have Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are. so. good. This is the type of cookie that milk was made for. So rich and delicious. I doubled the recipe, added vanilla, and replaced the 2 cups white sugar with 1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar, 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, and 1/2 cup stevia for baking.

On top you’ll find Coconut Date Cookies:

Coconut Date Cookies

I made these exactly as called for in the recipe except I doubled everything in the recipe except the sugar. These were simply fantastic. Another one of those “broken”-cookie-eating-cookies.

I was very pleased with how the cookies turned out. As you can see above, I gifted them to my friends in glass jars that they can reuse for future cookies or any decorative storage of their choosing.

As a side note: anyone else notice that their craving for sweets increasing in this holiday season? 

Did you fit in some exercise on Christmas?

What you’ve missed

OK, so I have about 20 or so “events” in my iPhoto of pictures that I took of food and other things thinking that I would blog about it and then got too busy and never did. So, since I have time at the moment (dinner is taking a painfully long time in the slow cooker) I figured that I’d give you a little taste of all that I’ve been too busy to blog about.

Get your pads and pens ready because I’ll likely never write a full post about these recipes unless you ask.

Mexican-Style Red Beans & Barley w/the fixin's

Two Bean Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole

Spiced Garbanzo Bean Burgers

Unsloppy Joes

Spicy Black Bean Burger w/the fixin's

Chili, Quinoa, & Corn Pudding

Curried Tofu Salad

Oh, hey I got ringworm. (apologies if this grosses you out)

side note: ringworm is actually a bacterial infection – the same one as athlete’s foot and jock itch

Layered Chipotle Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Tabbouleh w/Garbanzo beans

Mexican-style Amaranth & Beans

And that’s what you missed! on… GLEE

Cook anything fun lately?

Also – I’m looking for holiday cookie recipes – if you have an awesome one please please please tell me.

Also – let me know if you wanna know more about anything that I’ve posted.

This Needs Something

You ever make something and think: this needs something?

Your dish is missing some “wow” but you just can’t place it?

Well, here are my go-tos for such a predicament:

Good for roasted vegetables, stews, baked tofu

Good for almost anything you could possibly cook.

Good for stews & baked goods

Good for anything savory.

Good for salads, vegetables, stews, sauces.

Good for sauces, stews, fish.

What are your go-to flavor enhancers?

Blink

This will be a simple, quick post because (to be frank) bed calls. I’ve been having a wonderful weekend with lots of sleep, lots of friends, and a little bit of paper writing. This is the last week of school for me, and I have just one paper between me and a month’s break from school.

I’m trying not to think about the future when I’ll have two classes, a full time job and a 14-hour/week field placement. Pushing that a bit further back in my brain as we speak.

In fitness news: I ran the farthest I’ve ever run before!!

TWIW (This Week In Workouts)
Su – rest
M – Circuit Strength 1
Tu – 5.16 mi run @ 9:26min/mi pace (yay!!)
W – TRX Circuit Class
Th – Yoga
F – Circuit Strength 2
Sa – Boot Camp

Alright, time for some good-ole rest.

Pen-Pal-a-Go-Go

Judging by my title you may have discerned that I participated in November Foodie Pen Pals! So, around the middle of this month, something that looked quite a bit like this:

showed up at my doorstep from Keri over at KeriandBrian(dot)blogspot(dot)com {THANKS SO MUCH :-D} And boy was I excited to open it!

Ok, Ok, I didn’t really get a lolcat in the mail, but what I got instead was pretty much equally as awesome! I opened it and was literally in shock-and-awe. You wanna know what I got? Keep on keepin’ on…

Kamut Puffs

These things are the bomb(dot)com. Awesome fluffiness of popcorn plus the nuttier taste of honey smacks BUT with one ingredient what??? Yup. One ingredient. Just Organic Whole Puffed Kamut. I’ve been mixing it into my cocoa-peanutflour-stevia-cinnamon-plainyogurt-cereal concoctions.

Himalayan Salt + Salmon (& unpictured/already eaten salmon jerky)

The salt is proposed to have benefits over table salt due to a higher mineral content; however, I haven’t personally looked into the matter yet. I have, however, cooked with it and what I made turned out delectable.
Clearly I have not eaten the canned Salmon yet; however, I did partake in the Salmon jerky. It was quite interesting. If you like smoked salmon, you will love this stuff.

Coffee + Adult Drink Mixer-Uppers

We all know how much I love coffee (score). And I’m super excited to try out the drink mixes! One you can use to make mulled wine and the other you can use to make a hot toddy.

TEAaaaaAAAaaaa

These are about to all go into work with me for several, nice afternoon pick-me-ups :-)

The Chocolate.

BAM! Look at all of this chocolatey goodness!

1. 72% Dark Chocolate w/Mint –> hello, yummy get in my belly
2. Zico Chocolate Coconut Water –> so excited to try this baby
3. Dark Chocolate Almond Milk –> I’m thinking I need to invent a dessert around this stuf
4. DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPS –> enough said.

And it all came with such a lovely letter :-)

Are you interested in participating in December’s Foodie Pen Pals?

Send  an email to Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

She needs to hear from you by December 4th! And you’ll get your pairing by December 5th.

What was the coolest thing you’ve gotten in the mail recently?

Order up

It’s 7:00 PM on a Sunday evening, I have a couple hours before bed, and I have time to just do whatever I want. My room is organized, the dirty dishes are all getting clean in the dishwasher, and I don’t need to do anything for school for at least another week. I have to say, it’s sort of weird! I feel like there’s something that I should be doing.

I am going to bask in the glory of having time to just chill and simultaneously bring you your 5 Things Thursday: Sunday Edition that I thought I wasn’t going to post for you this week!

This week’s theme is: Five Things Fitness

1) Ever wonder about what’s going on in your body when you’re working out?

This article tells you about some hormonal changes that happen when you work out.

2. Need a Quickie workout?

Check out these 15 minute workouts for those days when you just don’t have any time.

3. Starting (or thinking about starting) to run?

Here’s some helpful beginner advice.

4. Have asthma but still want to run?

These are some tips for managing your runs with asthma.

5. Ever wonder about what trainers eat?

Here are some foods that trainers swear off.

The effects of following my blog. ;-)

Ok not really, but isn’t he just the cutest?

And now I leave you with ThIs WeEk In WoRkOuTs:
Su – rest
M – Full Body Circuit Strength 1
Tu – 4.98 mi run @ 9:30/mi pace
W – TRX Circuit Class
Th – Yin Yoga (60 min)
F – Full Body Circuit Strength 2
Sa – Boot Camp class (45 min)

Unfaithful

You guys. I normally would pretend that I’ve been posting at a regular rate and just write any old 5 things post or TWIW post (which, if you’ve noticed is pretty much all I write as of this semester starting haha) but I have to be straight up and honest with you.

With my already oh-so-limited free time I have been engaging in .:gasp:. another free time activity.

You all may be familiar with my current favorite-show-of-all-time: True Blood

Well, in case you didn’t know, it is based off of a book series by Charlaine Harris:

So, to make a long story short: I am on book # 4 and I started about a month ago. I maaay be addicted. Just a little bit. And just to clarify, I got the 4th book from the library this evening and I have about an hour and a half before I go to sleep. Therefore, I am failing at all the false obligations that I have set for myself by not posting my 5 Things Thursday. But maybe one or more of you will enjoy reading these treasures.

Until next time, my friends. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later ;-)

Halloween Shmalloween

It’s Halloween weekend and my lack-of-creativity-when-it-comes-to-costumes is showing its big-fat-head.

If you’re in the same boat as me, maybe you’ll like these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/10-free-halloween-costumes_n_1017436.html#s425254&title=Cautionary_Tale

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27402278/ns/today-style/t/think-out-box-diy-halloween-costumes/#.TpyaQpwVKfZ

http://www.bellasugar.com/Easy-Last-Minute-Halloween-Costume-Ideas-5635291?page=0,0,0

http://www.bellasugar.com/Easy-Halloween-Costume-Ideas-5893726

I finally decided on a half-way-decent half-way-costume. More on that tomorrow. (Let’s cross our fingers that I remember my camera)

Here’s a taste of my costume past:

2008

2008

2008

2006

What (if anything) are you going to be for Halloween?

What does your costume past look like?