New beginnings

Sorry to deceive you with the title of this post. There’s actually no new beginning to be described. Life has continued in nearly the same routine since the last we’ve heard from one another. Turn, smile, shift, repeat as Phantom Planet would say. haha OK the song reference may be a little dark for my meaning.

Actually sitting and thinking, more has changed than I realize. I’ll just list three things right now so as to give me motivation to keep get back into posting on this thingamajig.

1) I moved into my own 1 bedroom apartment

There’s a surprisingly much different feel to living in an apartment on my own when I went into its acquisition on my own. I think living in a 2-bedroom without a roommate (when I used to have a roommate) felt like it was missing someone, but this feels just right.

Me and a small glimpse of my apartment (plus the map of the world my boyfriend so graciously purchased for me at christmas time and framed for me 5 months later for my birthday because I am that lazy.)

Me and a small glimpse of my apartment (plus the map of the world my boyfriend so graciously purchased for me at christmas time and framed for me 5 months later for my birthday because I am that lazy.) PS: Ignore the mess in the corner.

This is pretty much the only photo I have of the place, so imagine this times two plus a kitchen, bath, and study.

2) I started Strong Lifts

Me during one of my workouts.

For those unfamiliar with this workout :stronglifts-routine-starting-strength-routineReally liking it but have pretty much stalled on everything. Here are my current stalls:

Squat: 105lb
Bench: 70lb
Row: 70lb
Overhead Press: 50lb (can only do ~3 at this weight)
Deadlift: 130lb

I can tell I’m stronger than when I started, but stalling is frustrating (and annoying). But I’m sticking to it for now.  Going to try and change up the reps/sets.

3) I turned 25.

My friend and I celebrating my birthday.

My friend and I celebrating my birthday.

Hard to believe that when I started this blog, I thought of myself as someone who was just graduating and getting out into the world. It’s been 3 years since I graduated now, and while I don’t own a house or anything, I feel much more “out into the world” than I did when I started this thing.

Well, I’m off to the gym to either get into a TRX class or do a Stronglifts workout. Only fate will tell. (I’m on the waiting list)

 

Advertisements

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?

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?

Summer Deliciciosity: Fresh Fig Cake

Quick life update before I fill you in on what you really want to hear about (cake):

My good friend (and bf of my friend Ashley), Xaver, is in town from Germany (hi Xaver! ;Ashley, show this to him, pleeze.)

From left: Regina, Me, Ashley, Xaver

Aren’t they cuuuute? But anyways, this weekend was spent having fun and catching up (hence the lackage of new postage). But fear not, I still kept myself busy in the kitchen. So here is your cake:

One (of many) things I look forwards to every Summer are fresh figs.

juicy.

Early in my childhood, my mother planted a branch of my Uncle’s fig tree in our backyard. (That’s how you do the growing-fig-tree-thing) It flourished in the Virginia climate, and so every Summer around August we get buttloads very many figs. The season’s short, but the figs are plenty, and I like to take full advantage of the opportunity to eat fresh figs (they don’t keep well, so you don’t find them much outside of their dried form at the grocery store).

So, naturally, the best way to eat fresh figs is in a baked good.

but for real, fresh is probably equally as awesome

I got the idea for this recipe from here and edited it a bit to suit my desires.

Fresh Fig Cake 

     (alternatively, you could make “cakes” and bake the batter in muffin tins)
     Makes 1-13×9 cake or 24-“cakes”
Ingredients
– 3/4 cup your-choice sweetener (i.e., sugar, brown sugar. I used coconut palm sugar but it’s really-really good with molasses)
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2 flax eggs (combine 2 tbsp flax w/6 tbsp water and beat w/fork until gelled)
– 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 cups multigrain hot cereal (or old fashioned oats)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
– 3 cups fresh figs, chopped (peel on)
– 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350˚F and spray baking dish or muffin tins with cooking spray (or use liners for the tins).
2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, yogurt, oil, apple butter, vanilla, and flax eggs. Beat on low until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, multigrain cereal (or oats), baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat on low  until well blended.
5. Fold in the chopped chopped figs and walnuts.
6. Spoon batter into your desired baking-container
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 13×9 dish or 30 minutes in muffin tins.

mmm

ready-to-bake

Done!

After tasting this baby, I was slightly gulp disappointed. It tasted… healthy.The coconut palm sugar wasn’t quite as sweet as the cane sugar I used in the apple cake, and the recipe didn’t live up to my memory from last year of when I made it with molasses. So, I was left in a predicament: all this fig cake and no eating motivation. Enter solution: peanut butter. I spread a nice layer of peanut butter on the top of this baby, and wow! Delicious.

Super moist and super enticing.

If I had to do it over again, though, I would use molasses instead of the palm sugar… or add more palm sugar.

What was the last thing you baked?

What’s your go-to method for fixing a cooking/baking mess up?

Anything cool going on in your life?