Sunday: Church, Sports, Politics and Friday the 13th

Sundays are weird. I like schedule and patterns and Sundays don't have either. 

In 321 emperor Constantine established a seven day week and designated Sunday as the beginning of the week (i guess i should blame him). The days to follow were called Moon’s-day, Mars’s-day, Mercury’s-day, Jupiter’s-day, Venus’-day, and Saturn’s-day.

So Sunday is the start of a new week, the day over 40% of Americans attend church (yes i looked up that statistic),when most NFL football games are played, the day golf tournaments traditionally end, the day all national and regional elections in Peru and Belgium are held (voting is mandatory in these two countries), the Sunday paper is always more detailed and includes a magazine, color comics and coupons and last but not least any month that starts with a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th. 

See Sundays are weird. 

My Sunday was filled with none of these traditional Sunday activities. Even though I would like to start attending Church again. I haven't found my niche yet and therefore have not attended church regularly for over 4 years (a little thing called college kept seeming to sneak up and get in the way. not sure what the excuse is now.)

Today I cleaned, bought a reusable coffee cup, reusable plastic water cup with straw and batteries, went grocery shopping, did some early spring cleaning and cooked. Finally the scary unregimented Sunday is over and we can happily continue on with our precisely planned Monday. 


Dinner: Ginger-Chicken Soup with Cashew Butter, Sweet Potatoes and Greens with a Side of Fresh Mangos and Pears 

Snack Bars 
Photos from Past Recipes:
Fruit and Nut Snack Bars

Carob Avocado Pudding with Grapes, Dried Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds


"This much I knew. If you are what you eat, then I only wanna eat the good stuff."
~ Remy from Ratatouille

According to the Food Lover's Companion, ratatouille is "a popular dish from the French region of Provence that combines eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic and herbs-all simmered in olive oil."

If you ask me that sounds like eggplant spaghetti. So, that is probably why I made this dish thinking I was making ratatouille (or my mom just made up the name eggplant spaghetti, so I'd stop say ew gross everytime we had ratatouille), but ended up serving it over delicious spaghetti squash and topped it off with parsley cashew pesto. 

And for dessert? Carob Avocado Pudding topped with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Que Rico! 

Spaghetti Squash Facts.
I cannot spell spaghetti
 Great gluten-free pasta substitute
Easy way to sneak in veggies. 
Super quick and easy
Hard part: cutting the squash
Needed: sharp muscles and a strong knife 

Cooking Instructions: 
1. Using a sharp knife cut squash into quarters. 
2. Remove seeds with fork.
3. Fill microwave safe pyrex dish with 1 inch of water and place squash skin side up into dish. 
4. Microwave on high for 8-12 minutes or until squash is tender. 
5. Use a fork to comb through squash creating pasta strands! 

Sneak Peak into the Real Life of TFA (The Food Addict) 
Today we got a new "gadget" at work. The perfect portion scale (The New Gadget). We looked like kids on Christmas morning. We weighed apples, oranges, bananas (peeled and un-peeled), almonds, chocolate kiss, cookies, grapes, mushrooms, cheese, red and green bell peppers, broccoli..and we wouldn't have stop I'm sure expect that we started running out of things to weigh (and there was a little something called work nagging us to return to our desks).

The scale is really neat. You type in the code corresponding with the food and then place it on the scale (so say you wanted to know the exact nutrition facts for your morning cereal). You can zero out the bowl the food is in and then weigh the object and it digitally gives you the nutrition label. We started thinking though how our members most likely would use it to weigh their chicken biscuits and hash browns instead of grapes and mushrooms...its a good idea in theory, but I'm not sure it will be good for our population of people. maybe to show them the comparisons: you can eat this whole head of broccoli or this 1 oz square of dark chocolate (I'm personally still gonna go with the chocolate..who wants to know how many calories are in their broccoli anyway?)

The day started with me tornado-ing through my room to try and get to work on time and ended with us standing in the back hallway 10 minutes before leaving time as the sirens blasted throughout Shelby county. Quite the adrenaline rush driving home. Funny how things come full circle. Always seem to begin and end and end and begin at the same point. (obviously this food addict is tired and needs to sleep and stop trying to make deep un-profound statements)

Hoping to make it to an 8:30 hot yoga class tomorrow. Only time will tell whether or not I actually make it.

Carob Avocado Recipe to come..and yes mother it is good. I think carob is different now than it was in the 80s or maybe its just enjoyed best when paired with pumpkin pie. (Note: should not really be paired with pumpkin pie, read Pumpkin Pie post if confused).

Food Void: Glutton for Gluten

"Uh huh, mhm. Gonna get along without you now. Uh huh, mhm. Gonna get along without you now. Got along without you before I met you, Gonna get along without you now.Gonna find somebody that's twice as cute,Cause I didn't like you anyhow."-Milton Kellem (I like She&Him version/my version) 

When we are used to something taking up a lot of space and time (both in life and in our tummies) we find a way to fill that empty space or we get sad/hungry.For life, i just try and keep busy and as for my tummy, i try and ignore/repress the hole that is left behind. At first its fine, then suddenly i'm sitting staring into an empty jar of peanut butter and wishing i'd just had 1 chocolate cookie instead. take home message: i can't physically/mentally/emotionally cut out a major food group. 

so why am i repeating the same mistake again? cutting out a HUGE staple of the american diet and replacing it with strange looking vegetables and intimidating meats/seafood? I'm not sure? I do know though that I am ready to say gluten be gone. i am no longer glutton for gluten. after a weekend of binge eating, binge drinking and zero binge sleeping i know i can't treat my body that way anymore. (who knew paradise was filled with so much gluttony?)

however, after reflecting on last week i notice there where quite a lot of repeats.things i used to fill that void where the gluten, sugar, chocolate, cookies, humus and frijoles used to take up space. 

but I think this time i may be on to something. I am hoping I can prove these food voids have tons more health benefits and are more than just a simple food placebo. 

So here it goes:

cinnamon: "It's emerging as a true wonder food in terms of health protection," says Ann Kulze, M.D., a physician in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet.

    • Derived from greek word meaning "sweet wood"
    • 2 types: Cinnomum verum and Cinnamomum aromactium (cassia)
    • Cassia is most widely used in the US and comes from China, Indonesia and Vietnam 
    • contains polyphenols (antioxidants the help arteries and reduce risk of CVD*)
    • has been used for alleviate sore throats, indigestion, stomach cramps, nausea, inflammation
    • has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in diabetics
    • 1 T has 4g fiber 
    • excellent source of mg and a very good source of Fe and ca
    • has an anti-clotting effect on blood (due to its content of cinnamaldehyde)
    • can be used as a natural food preservative

    • the plant belongs to the same family as the lily and the orchid
    • very good source of B6, good source of Vitamin C, potassium and mg 
    • K and Fiber help prevent CVD (1 banana = 467mg K and 1 mg sodium)
    • Soothes stomach ulcers by helping to activate the cells that compose the stomach ling and helping to eliminate bacteria in stomach
    • Helps body absorb ca = stronger bones
    • 3g Fiber
  • fish
    • The new dietary guidelines for 2011 just came out suggesting we replace two meat meals a week with fish. We need to be eating more fish! 

dried cranberries 

          • excellent source of Vitamin C, good source of mg and vitamin K
          • 2g fiber (1/2 cup)
          • full of phytonutrients that are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties
          • best used whole, but only in season through oct-dec

          pumpkin seeds and canned pumpkin 

            • Very good source of mg and phosphorus, good source of tryptophan, fe, cooper, vitamin k, zinc and protein. 
            • anti-inflammatory benefits with arthritis
            • helps protect prostate and BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy)
            • good source of monounsaturated fat
            • helps lower CHOL

          sunflowers seeds

            • excellent source  of Vitamin E, very good source of Vitamin B1 and good source of mg, copper, tryptophan, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate. 
            • anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits 
            • lower chol
            • calm nerves, muscles and blood vessels 
            • cancer fighting benefits 

          *Cardiovascular disease

          "So long, my honey, goodbye, by dear." -She&him/me 

          "let's leave town on a permanent vacation, lock up the house, pack up the station wagon, make paradise our final destination, as long as we're outta here" -Kenny Chesney

          To get me ready for a palmetto filled weekend in Charleston, i made a tropical smoothie.
          Can of unsweetened pineapple 
          1 banana
          almond milk
          fresh or ground ginger
          unsweetened coconut
          almond butter
          a few fresh strawberries (couldn't resist them at the grocery even though they were not local or in season, but they are GOOD)

          If you didn't just run 13 miles, this smoothies should be divided by 4. If you did, drink it all! Bananas great for replacing K+ and pineapples help reduce inflammation, pain, swelling and speed healing from injuries. The strawberries, coconut and ginger have tons of health benefits too, but their main goal today was to create a tropical paradise. 

          Run: 13.2 =2:09.15 (9:50 pace, not great but pretty good since i ran the MI bridge 3x)

          the run was the real test to see if the whole nutrition dilemma was really having that big of an affect. Well surprise  surprise the run felt great! (won't lie i wish it had been over around mile 10, but it wasn't bad) In comparison to last weeks run which was run off left over alcohol and second hand smoke fumes from good 'ole bar dog, this would would be given a perfect 10!

          Just got a mani/pedi! (a little off schedule) 
          toes=> opi ski teal we drop 
          nails=> essie going incognito

          Bold colors to get ready for a bold weekend!

          "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say goodbye, hello! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!

          Busy Busy day! going out for my first long run outside! So excited thirteen to go! 

          Agenda for the day:

          8:15-1030 run
          1030-11 stretch
          11-1130 shower
          1130-12 eat
          12-130 mani pedi
          130-3 pack

          busy day! made fruit and nut bars last night they were amazing! wish i had ian's cd mix on my ipod, but instead i will be listening to mmm..whatcha say and yeah by usher with a few mash ups from glee. Coconut (organic and unsweetened) crusted salmon recipe coming soon! (dinner last night and was delicious!

          As you can see it is now 8:28 and my run should have started 13 minutes ago (ignoring the unlucky number and the fact that I had to pull up the computer calculator to do the math)

          "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say goodbye, hello! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!-White Rabbit

          Pumpkin Pie...Kids don't like pumpkin pie

          it was a big deal for me to share this blog with my family. so i'm not sure if i will ever share it with all of never-neverland (aka internet-land). it could be because i've cringed while reading so many bad blogs in the past or because i held out so long and now everyone and their mom (same applies for facebook mother) has a blog or the fact that growing up i always thought the papers i wrote were so insightful, heartfelt and down right A+ deserving papers and they would always come back with a big disapproving  "pumpkin don't like pumpkin pie." stamp right on top of the paper.

          Well obviously my teachers didn't have a stamp that said "pumpkin pie," but pumpkin pie refers to a more recent "put yourself out there" epidemic that received immediate shut down (no need to explain the literal meaning of the pumpkin pie story those parties involved will immediately understand). So needless to say those of you that are reading choose your words wisely, because remember "she maybe small, but she sure is mighty." -Robin Williams (in direct reference to me)

          Two more classes to go and then I'm home free! Been looking up recipes for gluten and dairy free vegan fruit and nut bars all day so i can bring some on my trip to charleston. found a few interesting ones i may adapt. should be an exciting night ahead. will keep you posted. will be heading straight to whole foods after work (it is quite possible a trip to whole foods might push me over the tipping point to move back to charleston. the store really is that bad in comparison, but remember no comparisons here. just two very different and unique cities. the following 2 link explain it all No Comparisons...Maybe Just One?)

          You don't know how good (or bad) you've got it until it's gone: double feature

          It is pretty ironic that i have spent the last few days reminiscing about college: the friends, the house, the city, the freedom, the chaos. i finally came around to the conclusion that underneath a muddled view of a mopey college student i had it good, i had it real good, gooder than good: great. but isn't it always the way that we don't know how good we've got it until its gone?

          to try and prevent this from happening to me again. i've decided to make a list of all the things i love about my life here on MI. and i will not be making an alternate list for charleston. i think this weekend will be proof enough of how much i miss the old cobblestones, the bridge, the coffee shops, the shopping, the churches, the green spaces, the bikers, the pedestrians, my yoga teacher, the sunshine, beach houses, boats, the beach, my gym, my old run down house, my roommates and first and foremost my grocery store (both whole foods and harris teeter, i had quite a rude awakening when i was told that shunucks was the best that it gets.)

          here it goes memphis, don't let me down:
          tennis courts outside my window, co-workers that are willing to walk a mile to staff meeting on a pretty day, a fun and creative job, family just a hop, skip and a jump away (i had a really hard time putting this saying in the right still might not be right, the more you say it the weirder it sounds), friends that are even willing to venture back into AR for a long weekend away from civilization, the MI bridge and river path, connections/knowing a lot of people (could be considered a negative component as well) the trolley stop, the pool, mrs. cords, co-workers that recite facts such as "did y'all realize how much fiber pears have in them?" as if that was a normal topic of conversation, running through central gardens, and of course i guess i have to say bar dog and beale street (they can be great after a long week of work!)

          On a more positive note (but initially sounds negative) i didn't realize how bad my body had it with all those processed foods. i'm not sure how this is going to end, but if i had the will power to keep eating  like this forever my body sure would thank me for it.  i still can't get over how much better i feel. my mind is clear, i get more work done, i ran 3 nine minute miles today outside and went to an hour long workout class and had energy to spare. (it is a possibility that these great side effects are in direct relation to the 70 degree sunny weather as well, not sure if we will ever really know?)

          Menu for the day:
          Breakfast: Bananas, Walnuts and Almonds (definitely need a new b-fast!)
          Cinnamon infused coffee with almond milk
          Snack: golden rasians, grapes, and raw sunflower seeds
          Lunch: Roasted Eggplant and onions and left over sesame cumin cabbage
          Snack: Smoothie (Frozen Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, vanilla, almond milk and sunflower seeds YUM!)
          Dinner: Broiled Basil Mahi Mahi with Cashew Parsley Pesto (left over) Sesame Cumin Cabbage (realized ginger would have been a great addition) and the new product: Cinnamon Apple Cider Brussels sprouts.
          Dessert: Banana Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
          Cinnamon Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts

          Cinnamon Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts
          Half brussels sprouts and place on foil lined cookie sheet along with large chucks of garlic. Pour on olive oil and use hands to make sure all sprouts are throughly coated. Pour on apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Pop in oven at 350F and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until brussels sprouts are golden brown, but not burned.

          “A person who misses a chance and the monkey who misses its branch can't be saved” - Indian Proverb

          Day Two and I'm Not Feeling Blue

          Corny title I know, but i am loving this elimination experiment (rather not call it a diet, the d-word has such a bad  connotations.."diet starts tomorrow.") Before I get to the menu for the day let me tell you about the Berry Heart Healthy Pancakes the kids said "were the best!" for class last night.

          10oz bag of frozen strawberries
          1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
          1/2 cup all purpose flower
          2 T flax seed
          3 T sugar
          2 eggs
          2/3 cup skim milk (or substitute)
          1 teaspoon vanilla

          Heat skillet and melt strawberries until their natural sugars and juices begin to come out. While waiting on the strawberries mix all ingredients together. Line six muffin tins with cupcake liners. Put starwberries and juices into muffin liners first then top with dough. Bake at 375 for about 8-10 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.

          I obviously didn't get to try them, but the kids love them, so we shall call it a success. Kids eating flax seed? that is impressive in my book.

          So for today's menu:
          Breakfast: banana and almonds, almond milk with coffee infused with cinnamon (just put a dash in your coffee grounds before brewing, great addition)
          Snack: Grapes
          Run: 6.25miles. felt pretty good, but i did feel a little weak. the day was amazing though and i couldn't pass up an opportunity to run through the beautiful streets of central gardens
          Lunch: Blueberry and strawberry almond milk smoothie
          Snack: Roasted Beets and Onions
          Dinner: Roasted Orange roughy with cashew parsley pesto and sesame cumin purple cabbage (DELICIOUS!)
          Desert: Avocado Banana Smoothie (Almond milk, ice, agave nectar and cinnamon YUMMM!)

          Orange Roughy with Cashew Parsley Pesto and Sesame Red Cabbage
          We are what we eat. Trust me just try eating a big dose of beets if you don't believe me! Their color is so pungent and beautiful.

          Starting Fresh

          Valentine's day for me this year is about learning how to love myself. love love love myself. so how am i going to show myself i care? flowers? chocolate candies? a bubble bath? No I've decided to go with a week of no processed foods, no gluten, no dairy (which I do anyway), no legumes (main staple of my diet right now), no apples, no citrus no alcohol (already received three emails confirming the plans for our valentine martini's tonight...hhmm..maybe not a good day to choose this challenge to begin) and no yeast products. I am doing a version of the elimination diet/caveman diet.

          Last year i challenged myself by training for my first marathon. half way through the training i decided to eliminate dairy just to see how i was affected (big shock to my roommates. they had watched me down huge glasses of milk in one sitting for the past four years). to my surprise i had more energy, less grouchy and just felt all around better during my runs. Well a year later i still don't miss milk or milk products. so why not try some other  food groups and see if I can make myself feel like a super star.

          So far so good. I feel GREAT! but, you might ask what they heck am i eating? well i'm taking it 1 day at a time (and since this weekend is my mini-college reunion in charleston, i will not be this first phase is somewhat of a 5 day "detox".) and it is a big possibility that i will have run out of ideas by tomorrow (and have cheated with a large glass of wine tonight (quite possibly out of this glass 

          But here is the food log/plan for the day:
          Breakfast: Banana, raw almonds and almond milk, coffee (it is recommended to eliminate caffine, but that is not happening this VDAY, maybe next year?)
          Snack: Carrots
          Lunch: Tuna w/ olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard (don't think this is a recommended item for the diet, but i couldn't handle the tuna without it) and roasted onions, eggplant and broccoli
          Snack: more almond milk, grapes, strawberries and almonds, green tea
          Dinner: tilapia with roasted beets, onions and Brussels sprouts

          Que te vaya bien!

          Scratch That

          I hate writing. My mom would say "Just start writing and it will come to you, just let your words flow." Well they never would and still don't. And the only inspiration/guidance given by my father are memories of him wearing a head set (similar to the drive through model) gritting his teach and repeatedly murmuring "scratch that" as the computer raced away typing/erasing his thoughts. An innocent bystander would have deemed him insane.

          So, the question is why would someone who hates writing, gets anxiety at even the thought of it, can't spell, has very poor grammar and isn't articulate start a blog? I'm not exactly sure myself. But, I'm in a slump and I need something to pull me out.

          So far I've tried "finding myself" (what does that even and find a wikianswer article explaining the phrase..hmm?) through cooking, running and yoga (drinking, overeating, sleeping, tv series (aka medication), but we will try and stick to the positive methods). Every attempt starts off strong then come full circle and I'm at the same place (or possibly a worse place) than I started.

          I figured I'd join the new blog craze and write about my yoga, running and cooking experiences (maybe a few bits of insight on overeating, tv watching and drinking as well?) and not only would it hold me accountable, but maybe by writing about it I'd realize what I'm doing is great, I'm great and life is great.

          I'm not starting off on the best foot. So far Wednesday is winning by 2 this morning. (No one's keeping score but Wednesday-2, Me-0). I woke early this morning (4:30am) made a pot of lemon-gingsley tea and headed out the door for my 5:30 Yoga for Strength Class. I've recently made a move in my life (almost 8 months now, but hey that's recent right?) and still can't seem to find that much needed connection with a local yoga teacher.

          Last week I went to my first 5:30am class and fell in-love with the class and teacher. This week not so much, mainly because it was 27degrees dark and 25 minutes away and no one showed up. Not even the teacher. Bummer...I decided to come to work early, use the creative movement studio and work on the poses by myself. Not quite the same, but it worked.

          In class today we are making baked spring rolls. Should be good, so maybe that will give me 1 for the day. Also expected snow fall starts 10am. Hoping for a snow day? In my dreams yes, but the likelihood of us closing is slim to none and I don't want to take my own PTO hours. That'd be great if my 11 hour day tomorrow was filled with sleep, coffee and sappy TV rather than 4 cooking classes, 3 meetings and a run. Hm...what a life!

          Until next time..eventually I will post original recipes and photos, but don't expect them to be artistic. The fact that this post is turning into more than a few scratch thats and the words are flowing is mind-boggling.  

          Lets end with, "But you don't have take my word for it. I'll see you next time." -Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton