Childhood Calling

Yesterday was a ridiculously long day full of driving and baking. This morning I still had a bit more to do for my next Oven Lovin’ delivery, but it was nearly impossible to get myself out of bed this morning. But it was time to bake the donuts so up I went.

As I was packaging up my little Lovers I sipped on a cup of Get Clean. I definitely needed if after the last couple of days.

I’m really getting the hang of this whole delivery day shindig so I was finished way ahead of schedule. Still not hungry for breakfast I decided to go check out my garden with the pups. And guess what I saw as soon as I walked up to my cucumber patch?

The first big, beautiful cucumber of the season.

I noticed this one growing since before I left, but it got big super fast. Hooray for rain and heat!

To me, it’s not summer until the cucumbers are ripe. And I also know that this is only the first of many many many cucumbers I’ll be picking in the next few weeks.

That’s why I love growing cucumbers—there’s always amazing returns.

And I’ve been growing them since I was really little.

Here’s me when I was about 8 holding the first cucumber from my first garden:

Fast-forward 10 years:

Look how much I’ve grown! Ha!

A quick garden update:

Massive amounts of baby figs. I absolutely can’t wait until these are ripe!

Tons of baby tomatoes that are just starting to turn.

Plenty of squash blossoms, with only one little squash growing. I’m optimistic, though.

I still have no clue about the potatoes.

And bad news with the okra—3 of my 4 plants have been eaten/mysteriously vanished. The last is still going strong.

Anywhoo, after my walk-around I decided I needed some grub.

Since brother has been the only one home since Wednesday (mother, stepfather and I were all out and about) there weren’t too many non-manly (thus generally unhealthy) options.

Luckily for me, though, I had a secret weapon: a jar of Crofter’s Superfruit spread Asia.

I picked up this little beauty at Deep Roots. So I spread some on a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread and sprinkled some slivered almonds on top.

I planned on having a few bites of mango, too, but it was a little past its prime so I tossed it.

It always hurts me heart a little to throw out produce.

With breakfast out of the way I decided to tackle my To Do list:

Deliver the goods.

Drop my car off to get new brakes.

Restock on rabbit food.

Clean the kitchen.

Work out.

That last one got scratched because my gym was closed for the holiday. But everything else got crossed off in a timely manner. I think I went a bit overboard on the rabbit food (including buying another whole pineapple, which may be my new favorite thing), but no biggie.

I’ll eat it all. And Larabars were on sale for $1! I think I got about 10.

For lunch I decided to use up as much of the almost bad food as I could (because I was already going to have to throw out a lot). That’s my explanation for this odd (and half eaten) creation:

Spinach, tofu noodles, corn and black bean salad, and tempeh goodness.

Notice the Reptar shirt? Yup, Rugrats pretty much defines my childhood.

For the rest of the day I kind of bummed around. Mother and stepfather got home so we all hung out and chatted for a while.

For dinner stepfather fired up the grill, in honor of the holiday. He grilled some Fresh Market blue cheese burgers for those with 2 legs, some hotdogs for those with 4 legs, and I made up some BBQ tempeh for the veg-heads (AKA-me).

This was my first attempt at recreating the tempeh from that awesome Mellow Mushroom salad. I mixed some zesty Hines BBQ sauce with balsamic vinaigrette and marinated the tempeh for a few hours. Then I cooked it in a cast iron skillet.

It got some nice crispy bits and the taste was pretty close, but no cigar.

Stepfather also grilled up some mixed veggies.

The corn and black bean salad I made rounded out the meal.

This wholesome, all-am-azing-erican meal practically demanded dessert. So I answered that call with one of my Monkey Wrench cookies.

Scrumptious, if I do say so myself. And, of course, I do.

Body Lovin’

So my little trip ended oh so wonderfully.

And with the help of a big bowl of noodles, a pita sandwich and a bag of Ruffles (the vodka may have helped, too) it ended with a marvelous, earth-shatteringly wonderful and needed revelation:

I love my body.

I really really do.

Of course I love it for all the wonderful things it can do, but I’m not talking about anything quite as straightforward.

I love it for how it looks.

Allow me to explain:

It started on Friday when I went out on a date. Like I said, we went to VietNOM. And nom I certainly did.

For weeks I had wanted a big bowl of noodles. But every time I’ve gone out to a noodle-y place (like last time I was in ATL) I knew I would be drinking later. And I once read in a diet book that if you’re going to be drinking you shouldn’t eat carbs so I steered clear.

But not this time. This time I fully gave in to my desires.

After we shared a couple of fresh veggie spring rolls as an appetizer I got my big bowl of noodles in the form of vermicelli noodles with lemon grass tofu and curry.

This bowl was chock full-o-noodles, tofu, a light but deliciously flavorful sauce and some steamed veggies. Exactly what I wanted.

So I ate it. I didn’t stop after a few perfect bites. Nor did I leave half.

Instead of listening to all the advice I’ve read over the years I ate as much as I honestly wanted. That was probably more than I needed, but it’s what I wanted to do.

Then I went out to eat again on Saturday.

A couple of the girls and I decided to hit up a local pita shop so I could satisfy my need for falafel.

I got a pita chock full-o-falafel and mushrooms.

While not the best falafel (Jack’s was better) this was certainly delicious.

And I didn’t leave 2 bites. Nor did I ditch the pita and only eat the filling.

I finished every bite, without even a smidge of guilt.

Returning to my temporary homestead I took a quick catnap before dipping my straw into a vodka tonic. While sipping on this citrus-y drink and chatting it up with some of my friends someone opened a bag of Ruffles.

These chips have always been a weakness of mine. There’s just something about them that I find nearly impossible to resist.

So instead of torturing myself with the knowledge that they were there but I couldn’t have any, I ate some.

Not a terribly large amount, but more than a handful.

Later on in the night I passed by a mirror. And in it I saw my reflection. Right then it hit me…I really like how I look.

Normally, after two nights of eating and drinking and a few days away from the gym the last thing I ever think is that I look good. Passable, maybe, but certainly never actually good.

But here I was, standing in front of a poorly lit mirror in a nice, but not necessarily flattering dress, and I was actually happy? How did that happen?

Then it hit me…I was happy. For the past few days I hadn’t been compulsively thinking about how much I was eating or how many calories I burned. Instead I did what I wanted. I ate what I wanted. I slept through my usual workout times.

And it was amazing.

Sure, I’m nowhere nearly as skinny as celebrities or the models I see smiling at me from the pages of magazines. And I don’t have a perfectly flat stomach or the slimmest thighs or bones jutting out in every direction.

What do I have instead?

Boobs, albeit petite ones.

The beginning of an ass that just won’t quit.

A somewhat flat stomach that can, and frequently does, hold amazing amounts of amazing food.

Hips that can fill out the figure hugging dresses I love to wear.

A body that can never be mistaken for a boy’s.

And I think all of those are pretty wonderful.

This being said I’m not going to jump off the healthy wagon in favor of Ruffles everyday. But I am going to make a conscious effort to relax more. Because I don’t need pointy pelvic bones or an exposed sternum to be happy or attractive.

This may or may not seem huge. But for me it is.

And it feels amazing.

Snack-age to the Max

I realized something yesterday.

Over this past year of school I have gone to a tattoo/piercing shop 6 different times. And only 1 of those times were for me (I was checking out prices for a tattoo that I never ended up getting).

What can I say, everyone really embraced the freshmen rebellion.

Anywhoo, for the rest of the afternoon I just kind of bummed around. And snacked. A lot.

See, on the way back from the piercing shop we just happened to pass Deep Roots. And since it had been so long since I’d popped in I couldn’t resist a visit (even though there was absolutely nothing I actually needed). Once inside my eyes got big, I saw a bag of Mr. Krispers Sea Salt and Pepper Baked Rice Snacks, and my wallet suddenly got smaller.

Funny how that happens.

With bag in hand I returned to my crash pad for some relaxed reading and a nap. Well, sometime during my reading that new bag of Krisps got opened…and devoured.

But you know what?

I was okay with that. There were several times throughout my snackfest that I paused and asked myself if I was done and if I should put the bag away, but each time I decided against it. I was thoroughly enjoying my krispy reading session so I kept eating. And these little babies, these lovely little glossy ovals of goodness, aren’t a bad snack at all. So I felt no guilt.

A little while later my manly friend returned from an impromptu soccer match by the lake and we napped. Because after waking up at noon I definitely needed a nap.

It was glorious, though.

Later on I was feeling a bit snacky again so I decided to break into this little baby:

I found this on sale at Teeter yesterday and was quite intrigued. It’s the snack size version of ProBar. I had eaten a ProBar before but was in no way pleased. I felt vaguely like I was eating birdseed (but in it’s defense, it was ridiculously old).

Once I read the nutrition facts (heavy on the chia seeds and only 160 calories) and saw the price (about $1.50) I couldn’t resist a taste. And honestly, nothing cran-raspberry can be bad, right?

Verdict:

Yum! Yum! Yummmmmm. This was chewy, but not quite in a Larabar way. And the flavor was on point. Not overwhelming, but certainly present and authentic.

It totally hit the spot.

So with a belly full of goodness I trekked off to hang out with my old roommate and some friends before heading to an off-campus party.

At said party I danced, drank and resisted the always-tempting chip bowl. I consider that a major victory.

Allow me to explain:

Normally while drinking I (like a lot of other people, I assume) cannot resist munching. And chips of any kind, but especially tortilla chips, are my major weakness. And there I was less then 2 feet away from a massive bowl of them. But I knew I wasn’t hungry. I knew that even if I was hungry the last thing I needed was deep fried salt by the handful.

So I resisted. And I’m quite proud.

I then proceed to get hit on by the host. And upon returning home I promptly passed out while watching Deadliest Warrior.

This morning I woke with a slight headache, but nothing major.

You know what else I woke with?

I desire to hit the gym hard.

In all honestly, I kind of missed my gym here at school. It’s definitely better equipped than the old folks-infested gym I frequent at home (though I’m not knocking that one, because it’s free and ridiculously convenient). But first I needed fuel.

I was going to the fridge to snag my usual apple and peanut butter, but then I saw the container of tofu. For some reason a couple of slices of pan seared tofu sounded far more appetizing. So I popped those in the microwave along with my tea, found some spicy mustard for dipping, and snagged a couple of strawberries.

Voila! Wonderful breakfast (which, as you can tell by the picture, I quickly devoured).

With some hardcore protein under my belt I hit the gym.

13 minutes of treadmill intervals. 30 minutes of full body strength training (being sure to fully utilize all the machines my home gym doesn’t have). 10 minutes of elliptical cool-down. This fit the bill for that good, hard workout I was craving.

I returned home, watched my lactose-intolerant friend beast a Chick-fil-A peach milkshake (which is all kinds of wrong), showered, and made myself this little beauty:

Spinach, steamed broccoli and Tempeh Goodness.

What is Tempeh Goodness, you ask?

1/3 package of tempeh, crumbled

2 T roasted red pepper hummus

1 ½ t Texas Pete

2 T salsa

1 tsp olive oil

Mix and let sit in your fridge for as long as you want, but at least an hour.

I eat this cold, warm, by itself, in wraps, on salad. Pretty much however I can get it.

Delish.

Once my bowl was practically licked clean I ventured off to do some errands that desperately needed doing. One of those errands was attempting to get a replacement for my ridiculously malfunctioning phone. After a trip to the AT&T; store and an hour on the phone with warranty service I gave up.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

All the stress left me needing a snack. And what better way to relieve some stress then crunching through a very crispy apple?

Nom nom nom.

And now I’m waiting for the dude to shower and pretty himself so we can go out to dinner. I think we’re going with Vietnamese. Or as I like to say, we’re going to VeitNOM.

Yup, I went there.

Surprise!

Yesterday morning started bright and early with an alarm and a shower. No gym for me that morning. I was a girl on a mission.

After said long, refreshing shower I nommed on some breakfast:

Sliced strawberries, Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond granola and a little cashew butter (which is very quickly growing on me) mixed up with the last remnants of a jar of apple sauce.

Not quite oats from an empty nut butter jar, but still quite possibly one of my favorite breakfasts.

Once I had scrapped out every last little morsel I calmly went out to grab some last minute packaging supplies for my second bakery delivery (unlike last time). I came home. Packaged the cookies.

Delivered them right on time. Chatted with the owners. Came home. Grabbed my bags and drove to North Carolina.

Oh, did I not mention that?

Well yes, I decided a few days ago that I couldn’t possibly be away from my beloved Boro and all the people that inhabit it any longer. So with my stepfather’s birthday and my delivery out of the way I figured there was no better time that Wednesday for a trip.

So off I went. And 6 hours, a few handfuls of popcorn, 1.5 liters of water, 3 bathroom stops, some cashews and an apple later I arrived at my destination.

Oh boy does it feel amazing to be back.

I spent a few hours watching Deadliest Warrior and catching up with a certain someone. Then I got ridiculously hungry ridiculously quickly.

Dinner consisted of another apple (because apparently I’ve decided the saying should be “2 apples a day keep the doctor away”), some more cashews and a slice of pan fried tofu (which I brought from home because, honestly, no one there will even go near tofu) which I dipped in sriracha.

Simple. Random. Delicious.

About the time I was wiping the last bit of sriracha off my plate I got a call from my old roommate. She was out of class and very thirsty.

Luckily I had just the thing to quench her thirst—champagne.

So I put the bottle and my champagne glass (because I always travel with one, it seems) into my purse and was off. We quickly polished that off and I moved on to vodka tonics.

About half way through my drinky drink I came to a very important conclusion:

My tolerance had lowered drastically over summer and I probably hadn’t eaten nearly enough through the day.

I came to this conclusion because I was already swaying and this was barely a pre-game amount.

Oops.

So I put the cap on my drink, gave myself a little bit of time to stop swaying, and returned to the apartment I was crashing in and crashed. Hard.

When I finally got out of bed this morning (by morning I mean noon) I was famished. A quick jaunt to Teeter to pick up some necessities was certainly in order.

I do love grocery shopping.

Upon returning I immediately dug into a delicious Gala apple and some ManaNatha chunky peanut butter.

Wonderful fuel, if you ask me.

Now off to do take my friend to get her lip re-pierced.

Later, eaters.

Vegan-izing Birthdays

Today we celebrated my stepfather’s birthday.

My usual role for birthday celebrations is to make the cake. With my new vegan inclinations and my family’s very non-vegan inclinations it took a little convincing to get them to agree to me maintaining my role. They didn’t sound terribly thrilled about the idea of an eggless, butterless cake.

So I made it my goal to prove them wrong.

I found a recipe on PostPunkKitchen.com for a chocolate cake that received quite a few soybeans (their rating system).

Originally I was going to also use a chocolate frosting recipe that I found there, but at mother’s insistance, I just went with Duncan Hines (because Peta informed me that it’s vegan).

The frosting recipe called for almond extract. That and the box of yummy strawberries in the fridge gave me the perfect way to jazz up a possibly boring chocolate cake:

Strawberry Almond Chocolate Cake

Cake

1 1/8 c whole wheat pastry flour

1 ½ c all purpose flour

2 ½ t baking powder

2 t baking soda

1 1/8 c cocoa powder

¾ t salt

1 ½ c soymilk (I used almond milk)

¾ c canola oil

2 ¼ c maple syrup

1 ½ t apple cider vinegar

3 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together the dry ingredients, except the cocoa powder.

In a saucepan heat the soymilk on low heat and whisk in cocoa powder. Remove from heat once smooth and add other wet ingredients.

Slowly combine the dry and wet ingredients.

Pour batter into two 9in baking rounds and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cakes were cooling I doctored up the icing. By doctored up I mean I heated the can in the microwave for 20 seconds and stirred in about 1 ½ t almond extract.

Once the cakes were cool I began icing. An interesting little tid bit I figured out: slightly warm icing spreads amazingly smooth without all the effort of dipping your knife in warm water all the time.

In between the layers I sprinkled some slivered almonds and sliced strawberries. And I continued the decoration on top.

Isn’t that pretty?

And it certainly tasted just as good as it looks.

This cake was moist and dense, but not overwhelmingly so. And it had a slightly maple flavor, which may not be what you’re looking for in a straight up chocolate cake, but it worked wonderfully with my jazzy cake.

So not quite death by chocolate, but definitely death by delicious.

And what’s cake without ice cream, right?

Of course I had to put the ice cream maker brother and I bought for Mother’s Day to work and whip up a quart of vanilla almond ice cream.

I adapted this recipe from GreenBabyGuide.com and it was the easiest recipe ever.

Vanilla Almond Ice Cream

3 ½ c almond milk

½ c sugar

1 ½ t almond extract

1 t vanilla extract

½ t salt

seeds from one vanilla bean

Mix everything together until the sugar is fully dissolved. Then throw the cold mixture into your ice cream maker and away you go.

In less than forty minutes time I had yummy homemade ice cream. I transferred it into a metal bowl and put it in the freezer overnight so it could firm up a bit more.

It ended up getting a little too firm, so it turned into more of a shaved ice cream than pretty little scoops. Next time I’ll take it out sooner.

The subtle hints of almond in the ice cream and icing paired wonderfully together and really highlighted the almonds in the cake. And the strawberries were a juicy, delicious little surprise.

I probably would have preferred raspberries (because I always do), but these were convenient.

But now let’s back track a little bit to dinner.

When mother was first running the menu by me I wasn’t terribly concerned. Sure they were eating fish, but I would happily chow down on the steamed veggies. But then she said potato salad.

In my mind potato salad means mayo. And even if my mother was up on the current food trends (which she really isn’t), it would mean yogurt.

Both are not enjoyable to me.

So I piped up and volunteered to make a delicious vegan potato salad. And it doesn’t even contain Vegenaise.

Get it While It’s Tepid Potato Salad

3 lbs red potatoes

4 T spicy brown mustard

4 T balsamic vinegar

¾ t cayenne pepper

3 T roasted red peppers, diced

salt and pepper, to taste

Chop potatoes however you like, being careful to make them all about the same size. Boil the potatoes until just barely fork tender, less than 10 minutes (but I do like my potatoes firmer).

While the potatoes are boiling whisk the mustard, vinegar and cayenne.

Drain the potatoes and transfer into a large bowl. Dump the peppers and dressing on the potatoes and gently mix to coat. Add salt and pepper.

This can be served warm, tepid (my favorite) or chilled. Also, the addition of some sweet relish (maybe about 1 or 1 ½ T) would be wonderful. Trust me.

Even without the relish this dish is something to write home about. Tangy. Spicy. Nice firm potatoes. Slightly sweet peppers.

Everyone had seconds, which is always a good indication.

Overall, I think this was a successful meal.

And the best part?

No one missed the eggs and butter in the cake.

Score one for the vegan!

Body Planning

So I took a few days off from the blogosphere for a little metox. It was much needed.

And today I was back with a (healthy) vengeance.

I started the day right with ½ an Ezekiel English muffin spread with raspberry spread (I forgot to put the slivered almonds on top as I planned) and a side of (quickly getting over ripe) pineapple. And of course not far away was my cup of Get Clean.

This breakfast is one I’ve been having recently and I love it. It fills me up, gives me a decent amount of protein (4g from ½ a muffin) and satisfies my fruit-y-sweet tooth. The only problem is that I eat ½ the muffin at a time. That means there’s usually ½ a muffin sitting in my fridge. And believe you me, those muffins go stale (chip a tooth stale) ridiculously quickly.

I guess I’ll just have to eat more.

I was planning on heading to the gym straight from breakfast (as I plan to everyday), but this morning I was just exhausted. So I listened to my body and took a 20 minute nap after breakfast. That was exactly what I needed.

So off I went to the gym.

I was planning on doing a full-body strength session (since it had been a few days since I had), but my body was sore all over. So again I listened to it and instead did a gentle on all my joints elliptical session: 40 minutes. I got off feeling like I’d worked hard enough. And I was practically dripping sweat.

I consider that a successful workout.

Later for lunch I was craving a salad. But not a delicate, daintly little salad made for a little girl. Oh no. I wanted a big, messy salad. I wanted a big girl’s salad.

So I topped some baby mixed greens with leftover corn and black bean salad, cucumbers, broccoli, salsa, some crumbled tofu (sautéed tofu with nutritional yeast and black pepper) and a bit of guacamole.

And a salad this big and messy can’t be eaten out of any salad bowl. No, this requires something heavy duty and serious: a metal mixing bowl.

Total mouthsex! This was just the salad I needed.

And eating it outside in the sunshine made it even better.

For the rest of the day I did a little shopping and pondered ways to pass the time in my too boring town.

Finally it was dinnertime.

While mother and brother had chicken (cooking on brother’s new George Foreman Grill) and cheese tortellini, I pan fried up a piece of tofu (with a lovely spicy barbeque dipping sauce), some quinoa salad (caramelized onions, steamed asparagus, slivered almonds, raisins, with a tiny splash of zesty Italian dressing) and a hearty serving of broccoli.

Super scrumptious.

And now I’m off to…do something.

G’night, eaters. Tune in tomorrow for my vegan birthday eats made for my non-vegan family.

Bad Day. Good Soup.

So today started off like any other day.

I woke up. Made my cup of tea. Mixed up a bowl of sliced mango, pineapple and watermelon with a bit of Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond granola on top.

Ate. Changed. Walked to the gym. Felt all the wonderfulness that is sore muscles from a great workout. Did 30 minutes on the elliptical. Walked home.

Then things changed.

Normally I’m feeling great leaving the gym. I feel full of energy and not the least bit hungry. This morning that wasn’t the case, though.

I felt a little weak and dizzy. And also I felt just the tiniest twinge of hunger. So on the walk home I decided I would have a light snack once I got home. I wanted something juicy and refreshing, but I knew I needed some fat and protein to rectify this weak and dizzy and in a tizzy feeling.

I had just bought apples yesterday, which fit the bill for juicy and refreshing. I also had an unopened jar of cashew butter that was calling me from the pantry. Sounded like the perfect snack.

Once I got home I poured myself a glass of water, cut my apple in half (because I wanted this to be a light snack so I could still eat a still undetermined, but undoubtedly delicious lunch later), and retrieved my nut butters—ManaNatha chunky peanut butter and 365 creamy cashew butter.

I spread a little cashew butter on my apple and took that first delicious, juicy bite.

Verdict on the cashew butter:

It tastes just like cashews, which for me, doesn’t strike the same delicious cords as a whole cashew in all it’s crunchy glory. Maybe if it was chunky instead of creamy.

Then I tried a few bites with peanut butter (delish!). Then I alternated between the two nut butters for the rest of the apple.

Since I applied the butter sparingly, I decided that to fulfill my need for protein and fat (and because this is always how I end a nut butter snack) I should have just one tiny little smidge more. To really seal the deal.

Well, that turned out to be a bad idea because it lead to a few more “tiny little smidges.” Followed by some tortilla chips. Then some dark chocolate chips.

And this wasn’t the fun kind of snack-a-thon. This was the kind that leaves you feeling sick afterwards.

I immediately regretted every bite I took. So I made some tea and did a few laps around the garden to ease the increasing bellyache and clear my head.

Afterwards I lay down for a bit.

For the rest of the afternoon I was angry.

Angry at myself for slipping back into my old ways. I had been trying really hard lately to eat more consciously and stop the binges. And I really thought I was doing a good job and getting a hold on it.

I felt confident.

Well, that all went out the window today.

In reality, I really didn’t eat that much. Maybe a 100 or so extra calories than I usually eat at lunch. But it was the principle of the thing that got to me.

I’ve been trying so hard to eat healthy and cut out the junk. I’ve been trying to stop the mindless munching and only eat when I’m hungry.

And I feel like this completely undermined all of that.

So for the rest of the afternoon I was angry and I think I kind of took it out on the people around me. Which makes me feel even worse.

Gah! Today was just not my day.

So for dinner I wanted to make something gentle, nourishing and detoxifying. I got a recipe idea from Bethenny Frankel’s book Naturally Thin, the chapter talking about binges. She suggested a pureed zucchini soup.

Unfortunately, we were all out of zucchini. But I head read that broccoli, asparagus, onions, garlic, lemon, pine nuts, and parsley (all of which we had) were equally gentle and detoxifying. So I made a quick soup.

Detox Soup

Ingredients:

½ cup broccoli

handful of asparagus spears

1 tsp olive oil

onion

¼ tsp minced garlic

1 tsp fresh parsley

¼ lemon, juiced

¼ cup almond milk

1/3 cup water

salt and pepper, to taste

pine nuts

Heat ½ inch of water in a pot and steam broccoli and asparagus for 5 minutes. Chop asparagus, leaving to tips to the side, and place asparagus, broccoli, almond milk, water, and parsley in blender. Blend until desired consistency.

While blending your green stuff, heat oil in pot and lightly saute chopped onion (as much as you’d like—I used about 1 ½ T) and garlic. Once cooked, pour in the contents of the blender, season with salt and pepper, and heat through.

Pour into a bowl (this makes enough for one serving) and top with pepper, asparagus tips and pine nuts.

This and a slice of Ezekiel bread was exactly what I needed. It was light and comforting. I almost feel better. Not quite, though.

I’m still bugged by this little binge (not to mention I still feel sick from it).

I think I know why it happened, though. I blame it (partially) on my breakfast.

Normally, I would have something slightly more substantial for breakfast. I would have had the protein and fat I was craving after my workout with my breakfast. But I read not too long ago that if you’re looking to lose a few lbs (like I am) you shouldn’t eat fat (even healthy fats like nuts) before a workout. So I eliminated it.

With no protein all that sugar from my fruit and granola breakfast probably caused my blood sugar to spike then drop like a rock. Hence why I felt less than ideal after my workout. I needed something to relive my shakes and give me the energy I usually have after a workout.

So I ate. And ate. And ate.

And now I feel bad.

I really need to stop focusing on my weight. It’s something I’m sure a lot of people do, but I know that it’s a ridiculous number. It doesn’t take into account muscle, fat, water retention or anything else. I need to start focusing on how I feel.

I feel better when I eat balanced meals (healthy carbs, fat, protein, fruits and veggies).

I feel great when I complete a tough, sweaty workout.

I feel happy whenever I balance plenty of healthy eats with a few treats.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Time to step away from the scale…maybe for good…and listen to my body.

I feel like a broken record, but this is more of a reminder for me. Health is a journey. And journeys are difficult. So I hit a bump, but I won’t let it derail me.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Boot(y) Camp

Today was a momentous day. This was the day that I had my first boot camp exercise class. And woah boy! It was something.

In anticipation of this class (which wasn’t until noon) I set my alarm for a little later than usual (9:45 instead of 8), but I couldn’t force myself to stay in bed that long. So I was up by 9.

We were light on the fruit this morning, so instead of the fresh fruit and nothing but the fruit breakfast that I was craving I went with some blackberries and applesauce with homemade granola and chunky peanut butter.

I quickly made this messy bowl messier and it was divine. Flavors and textures all blending and swirling in my mouth. Definitely mouthsex.

The blackberries on the other hand, were not mouthsex.

They looked delicious. They looked like they were going to explode their tangy-sweet flavor all over my mouth. (Let’s see how many sex references I can make about these berries. This makes 2.)

But looks can be deceiving. Bigger is not always better (3), especially not when it comes to berries. Bigger doesn’t mean more. It means less. Less flavor.

And look how huge these things were compared to the biggest berry I got from my little bush (does that count as 4?). As you can see, they’re way too big for this little lady (4 or 5? Not bad for a berry).

After breakfast I did…nothing of real importance. Watched a little TV. Did a few dishes. Got dressed. Went to the bank. Then I was on my way to be Trained By Cain.

Remember my home away from home bike shop? Well, Rick Cain used to work there during the peak of my visits. He’s a funny, adorable little man with a quick wit, quicker humor and growing devotion to helping everyone around him lead a healthy life. Needless to say (which seems to be my new favorite saying because I think you know me well enough by now to know what I’m thinking), I was excited about the prospect of him kicking my ass boot camp style.

I wanted him to yell. Make me repeat exercises if I quick too soon. Tell me I wasn’t using enough weight or running fast enough. Maybe even blow a whistle.

None of that happened. Instead, Rick asked me and the two other women in the class to push ourselves, but not overdo it. He stressed the difference between a good burn and a bad hurt.

This didn’t stop me from pushing myself, though. And it really didn’t take much internal drill instructor-ing on my part because Rick’s workout was hard. I’ve never been much of a strength class enthusiast (I’m irrationally afraid of getting too bulky), so this almost entirely weights class left my muscles shaking.

Does anyone else’s muscles go from fine to completely unable to do an exercise without notice? Because that’s what was happening during the ab session. One second I was crunching and lifting with no problem, the next no amount of force or desire could get my neck off the floor.

Regardless of my incorporative abs, this class was amazing. I’ll definitely be going back (and feeling it tomorrow—I love being sore).

This hour of sweat left me in need of nutrients. On the menu: Blackbean chipotle Gardenburger with copious amounts of salsa (ratio was approaching 1:1 when I put the jar down), the last of the roasted veggies with Texas Pete, ½ a deli pickle (because we had one for some reason), and a pineapple slice and blackberries for dessert.

A hearty, delicious, filling lunch if you ask me.

After lunch I went for a lovely little walk through my sunny gardens. This makes it sound like I have a lot of property, all filled with flowers and fruits. We all know this isn’t true, though.

What is true, is that things are growing at amazing rates. Everyday brings me closer to delicious, organic produce straight from the ground. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

Later in the afternoon I snacked on some tortilla chips and even more salsa. I won’t show you how much of the jar was left after I was done. What you would see would shock and horrify you.

Does salsa count as a vegetable? I sure hope so.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking to Starbucks, working, grocery shopping, and walking home. At the market I picked up a few essentials:

Apples, bananas, tempeh (step 1 in recreating that super delicious Mellow Mushroom salad), tofu, a lemon, and a few bars.

Dinner later was some of those Tofu Shirataki noodles, spinach, meatless balls and marinara sauce with a side of steamed broccoli.

As far as the noodles go, I wouldn’t exactly say they are just like regular noodles. They seemed to have a weirdly chewy center, if that makes sense. Maybe I’ll cook them longer next time.

After dinner mother and I decided to cut up the massive amounts of fruit we had waiting to be cut—mangos, pineapple and watermelon. It all looks so damn juicy and delicious. I already know what I’ll be having for breakfast.

But breakfast wasn’t close enough, so I decided to have ½ an Ezekiel English muffin with Dark Chocolate Dreams and a side of pineapple.

Despite cooking this muffin exactly as I always have I felt like my teeth were going to break off when I tired to take a bite. It really was rock solid.

So I tossed it and when with plain Ezekiel bread and Dreams. A delicious end to a long day.

G’night, eaters. Get ready for tomorrow’s post all about fresh fruit and my aching body. Excited?

A-T-L

Saying that these past 24 hours were just what I needed doesn’t even begin to cover it. There is nothing like a night a old fashioned fun with two of my best friends to relax and rejuvenate me.

I picked up my friend, Coco, and together we headed up to the A-T-L, singing along to all our middle school favorites all the while.

As soon as we got there we headed off to Mary’s pool where we floated and chatted until some kids came and began splashing too much for our taste. We took that as our cue to leave and get ready for dinner.

By getting ready I mean we played dress up for half an hour, then each put on the clothes we had been wearing earlier.

Do we sound like triplets yet? It gets creepier.

After dressing we each threw on our brown over the shoulder bags (all on the same side) and headed to midtown to dine at…

Noodle.

This was a little, unassuming place in the corner of a small strip center. I wasn’t expecting much from the outside, but once we walked in that all changed. It looked just like the swanky Asian restaurant I was hoping for. Though the weather was so glorious we decided to sit outside.

And despite the fact that we chose this restaurant because I said I wanted a big bowl of noodles for dinner, I didn’t get anything noodle-y. Instead, the three of us split crunchy veggie spring rolls for an appetizer.

These little babies were lightly fried, crispy rolls of heaven. I, of course, dipped them in all three of the sauces (spicy mustard, the typical sweet sauce, and sriracha). Needless to say, I liked sriracha the best.

For dinner I stayed with the appetizer menu and ordered some miso soup and tofu lettuce wraps.

When they brought my food out I was amazed at the portions. I don’t know why I’m still shocked by the massive amounts of food restaurants give you for an appetizer since it happens all the time. But at least for little me, the idea of eating a whole appetizer then eating an entrée (which were super massive here) is impossible. I got a FoodBaby (which I named Sir, in honor of the sriracha I doused everything with) just from these two.

Regardless of the massive portions, the food was delicious. There was cucumbers and yellow squash in my miso, in addition to the traditional tofu and scallions, so I was very happy. And the lettuce wraps were crisp and refreshing, which is exactly what I wanted.

Mary ordered noodles with tomato sauce (also known as spaghetti) with calamari and mussels.

She didn’t like the mussels because they tasted like the ocean, so she tried to return them to their home by throwing one in the fountain.

We don’t take her out in public much.

Later, once we got back to Mary’s hip, adult-like apartment, we walking across the street (J-walking all the way) to get some mixers and coffee. Can you tell we were ready for a good night?

Some quick highlights: mocking people from our high school yearbook, inventing a serious drinking card game (it’s called “chug your drink and we’ll play Go Fish”), and swapping stories about our parents’ drinking.

Needless to say, we woke up at the early hour of 11 this morning. By noon we were headed out to start shopping.

Unfortunately, my friends don’t embrace the healthy life that I do, so breakfast was the last thing on their minds, unlike me. But lucky, between the car and the stores we passed a Publix. So I darted in and grabbed an apple, blueberry Z Cliff Bar and a bottle of water. This was eaten while leaving against a wall outside the stores, like a cool kid.

After about an hour of shopping my friends were finally hungry (and my breakfast was light enough) so we lunched at Doc Green’s. This Doc Green’s was far less mellow and relaxing than the last one I ate at, but my Dr. Grilled Veggie salad was delicious nonetheless.

A little more shopping, then it was time for the real fun (at least for me):

Whole Foods!

Like most other foodies, Whole Foods is my (veryveryvery newfound) playground. My friends were not quite as excited. So while I lovingly wandered the aisles, looking at all the amazing food and dreaming of the delicious creations I could make with it (if only I could afford it) they ran around sampling everything (twice, I think).

I finally decided on my purchases (a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar, cashew butter, Tofu Shirataki noodles, and Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter) and met my posse outside.

^As you can tell from the picture (which was taken once I got home) I got snack-y in the car.^

Not long after we got back to Mary’s place, Coco and I had to depart. It was sad to say g’bye to Mary, but I’ll see her this weekend for an even more extreme kind of debauchery.

As soon as I got home I changed and got my butt to the gym for some serious cardio (10 minutes of intense treadmill intervals and 25 minutes on the elliptical). Then for dinner I enjoyed another personal pizza (whole wheat tortilla, salsa, roasted veggies, tofu, Daiya, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, and Texas Pete).

Super yummy. Super filling.

And now to send me off for sweet dreams, a slice of Ezekiel bread with Dark Chocolate Dreams.

G’night, eaters.

Craziness

Gah! Yesterday got really crazy really quickly. Here’s a brief recap:

After a late night of baking I’m not terribly surprised I overslept my alarm. So instead of waking up a little before 8 to have a leisurely breakfast, run out and by some last minute things for my first bakery delivery, and calmly making that delivery then heading off to the gym, I woke up at the time I was supposed to be returning from those errands. In no time flat I hopped into (yesterday’s) clothes and was out the door. Not the best way to start a morning.

I was finally able to eat some breakfast (mango and blueberries with half an Ezekiel English muffin and ManaNatha peanut butter) around 11.

Needless to say my whole day was thrown off.

A workout never happened, unfortunately. All day I kept trying to get myself to go, but for some reason it just never happened.

What did happen, though, was a yummy lunch of pan fried tofu, kidney beans and leftover roasted veggies over a bed of spinach with some marinara sauce on top.

This was such a wonderful, typically me lunch. Honestly, the best salads are a bed of greens topped with last night’s dinner. And who needs “normal” salad dressing when you have fun things like marinara sauce or hummus.

After my salad I was craving something…something…dessert-like. Nothing sweet, really, since I had spent hours last night sampling cookies. A look in the fridge revealed the perfect thing to fit the bill: ManaNatha Chunky peanut butter.

I haven’t had chunk in so long. Definitely a fun spoonful. (Though I am starting to miss my Fresh Market peanut butter.)

After lunch I headed over to Barnes and Noble to pick up Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. I loved Skinny Bitch so much I decided I needed the cookbook. I can’t wait to try out some of these recipes.

But that would have to wait because my couch was beckoning me for a nap. And that’s a call I was not going to ignore…or so I thought.

Not too long after I laid myself down to sleep I got another call. This one was for a much needed girl conference and less needed shopping. I decided my nap would have to wait.

I got home later having only bought one thing and just in time for dinner. But that one thing I did buy was 1) cheap and 2) too damn adorable to pass up.

Call me childish, but compartmented plated are amazing! If used properly, they are the perfect way to ensure balanced, portion-controlled meals.

I decided to utilize this little baby for dinner:

Salad (spinach, mandarin oranges, pine nuts, cucumber, broccoli with a drizzle of Italian dressing), tabouleh, and even more roasted veggies with Texas Pete.

Like I said, portion control and balance.

Mother and brother had parmesan tilapia, tabouleh and salad.


Right after dinner I went with brother so he could get a slightly impromptu tattoo.

^You can’t really tell through the wrap, but those are the triathlon symbols.^

And as soon as I got home I got another call I couldn’t ignore: to head over to my friend’s place for a night a casual debauchery. It was marvelously entertaining.

Despite not getting home till around 3am last night my 8:30 alarm wasn’t too painful (or so I thought).

Not long after I woke up my stomach started hurting, though, so breakfast was an apple. And that only seemed to make things worse. So bad that I headed back to bed for a 20 minute nap instead of walking to the gym.

The nap helped a bit, but not too much. Still feeling sick.

Oh well, I had a yoga class calling. I did my usual 20 minutes of pre-class cardio before heading upstairs to bend and stretch and strengthen every muscle in my body.

Can you tell it was an amazing class today?

Despite a still unhappy stomach, I knew that after class I needed some lunch. And some comfort. So voila!

Personal pizza

Whole wheat tortilla, sweet basil marinara sauce, kidney beans, even more roasted veggies (and I’m only about half done with the batch. Sorry for the repetition), broccoli, and Daiya cheese.

Sweet deities! Daiya cheese is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is unbelievably creamy. It melts and stretches (just like the package says).

This pizza (and the hunk of watermelon I ate after) was the perfect lunch.

And now I’m off to continue the craziness with a night in Atlanta with my two besties.

Not so casual debauchery will undoubtedly ensue.