Thursday, April 29, 2010

Running….and Walking

Just a quick check in as run through life, desperately trying to keep up with my sadly overbooked and bulging schedule this week!

Yes I have been eating great things and dutifully photographing them…but all reside in my camera still, not in the post.

Tonight is my first 5k run walk.  The big Mercedes Benz Corporate Run is going on tonight and we are participating.  Yes…most people will be running it but my family and I will be walking it!  At this time that is the best I can do.

FabHubs, FabStepson, and FabHeTeen (now that I have TWO teenagers their names have to grow along with them) will be walking with me!  FabSheteen will be at her dad’s so she will miss out (she probably doesn’t look at it that way though).

FabHubs could very easily run the whole thing and probably not break a sweat…but he is choosing to walk with me, even though I gave him the go ahead to run or even walk at his much faster pace than mine.

I know I will have not problem finishing it…I walk 3.5 miles all the time and 5k is equal to 3.1 miles. 

I have only two concerns...the major concern is the not one but TWO bridges along the way, the uphill portion (I am great with flats…the hills and stairs are what aggravate my muscle weakness) and secondly….I hope I don’t come in last!!!

Hoping to have great things to report tomorrow!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April Is Full Speed Ahead!


Scrambling to stay afloat during this crazy busy week!  Baynanza, a Girl  Scout retreat, multiple birthdays (including one BIRTH day with a brand new nephew), school field day, Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day, and more!  This week has been PACKED!

Today I finally had a chance to slow down and  B R E A T H E.  Even though I spent some time working, I didn’t have to run anywhere and that was relaxing in and of itself!

While I worked, FabHubs was busy on his new project!

We have composted for years  and have a huge bin full of rich compost ready to go.  We have talked for years about having our own garden but have never gotten around to it.

Our lovely compost bins (made from leftover fence posts when FabHubs rebuilt sections of our fence):DSCF3346

A couple of months ago, Eating Well ran this article, which I left in the bathroom for FabHubs to “discover.”DSCF3351

Garden plan, how to get started and all!DSCF3352

It worked like a charm!  For the last few weeks he has been so excited about planting our own garden, and last week he went out and got some seeds…and now we are the proud owners of these two lovely plots:  DSCF3344 DSCF3345 Yes..they may look like dirt patches…but they are our new edible garden!  the mounds are for cantaloupe, and we also are growing carrots, tomatoes, bush beans (what are bush beans?????), corn, eggplant, bell peppers, romaine, kabocha, and pumpkin.

The kabocha, eggplant, and bell peppers are not from seeds we bought, but saved from organic veggies we ate from my weekly produce delivery.

I am very excited to see how these do!

We also like to toss the crowns of pineapples into a section of our yard.  It is amazing how they take root and grow!  Earlier this week I went out there to check on them and was amazed to find these little guys!!! DSCF3347 DSCF3348 DSCF3349 DSCF3350SIX of them in total!  These little baby pineapples are so cute!  Can’t wait to eat them…we DEVOUR pineapples in this household!  It is one of the rare fruits that all five of us are major lovers of!

Quite a few dinners this week have been in restaurants…something very rare for us.  I think we ate in restaurants more this week than we have in the past four months!

Aside from feeling not as healthy, that also makes it challenging to use up our produce before it goes bad.

Tonight’s dinner put a major dent in our produce stash!

First, since we were so hungry, I made a snack of some raw baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and sugar snap peas, all received this past Monday in the delivery!

Crunchy sweet and delicious!  I love sugar snap peas raw.  It is such a crime to cook them!!!!

We finished these in no time…


For dinner I roasted a large sweet potato alongside a few rutabaga I also received on Monday:  DSCF3355     Some sauteed asparagus and broccoli…DSCF3359 And the main dish of zucchini burgers…I had several weeks’ worth of zucchini that had to be used up!!!  I still have a couple left though.

The final result…DSCF3360 DSCF3361

I loved how FabHubs about ketchup on his “burgers” (he is not a fan of zucchini) and when I suggested tomato paste or sauce instead HE WENT FOR IT!!!  And afterwards said he really liked it as an alternative!

Weekend is not done yet…My Birthday is tomorrow!  A fine wrapup to a full week!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Birthday Week…and Nature Is Calling!!!

Oh boy do we have a PACKED weekend!  This time of year, every year, seems to fall into the realm of chaos for us.

First of all…we kick off what we affectionately call “birthday week” in our family.  Starting with FabPreteen on April 20 (she will not be a preteen anymore so I guess I have to change her name!); my cutie nephew on April 22, and ME on April 25!  Plus, this year I am getting a brand new niece or nephew on April 21!  (traditionally in our family we never find out in advance!!!  This will be grandchild #10 for my parents…and none of us ever learned the sex before birth.  Can you believe people still do that!…it is actually fun!)

So…tonight we will have a family dinner for Ms. FabsoontobeTeen; tomorrow morning we head out for Baynanza:

(from the website):

What is Baynanza?

The early 1980's marked the beginning of a monumental effort by Miami-Dade County to save Biscayne Bay. The Bay was suffering from pollution its marine environment was in steep decline. Baynanza was created as part of a larger effort to save the bay.

Baynanza, now in its 28th year, is a celebration of Biscayne Bay as one of our most important ecological and economic systems. While Baynanza includes more than 50 great events spanning from March to April, the event that has become nearly synonymous with the celebration is the Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day.

On April 18, 2009, this event drew a record number of more than 8,500 community volunteers to the shores and islands of our Bay. They collectively removed more than 32 tons of garbage that had accumulated along from Biscayne Bay's shores.

We are big nature lovers and really enjoy camping and the outdoors, so we are looking forward to doing our part in this major South Florida event!

Speaking of nature…Did you know that this week is National Park Week?  All entrance fees to the 392 National Parks will be waived from April 17-April 25.  We have the Everglades National Park  down here…and we go several times a year.  Not sure I will be making it over there this week though.

So then after Baynanza, we rush home to get FabPreteen ready for her reward trip for selling 1000 boxes of cookies…then after taking her there I will head over to a blogger meetup (so excited!!!)…and then home to rest…until Sunday!

Sunday I will join FabPreteen in Day 2 of her reward trip, which is spa day!!  Manis, Pedis, Massages..and more! 

Then home for a quick dinner…and off to a play with the family!

WHEW!  The rest of next week looks pretty much the same as the weekend. 

We almost never eat out but this week with so many activities will bring lots of eating out!  Let’s see how I do among all of the temptation!!!

Spring is here…what kinds of things will you be doing this weekend???

Creative In The Kitchen

I like seitan as a meat substitute and have tried several times to make it following a simmering recipe.  I have ended up with a sort of weird, moist, doughy concoction.  Not so good. 

I have found a few other recipes to try for baked seitan which look really good…but haven’t made the time to try them out. 

So today when I stumbled on this recipe for seitan in the breadmaker, easy peasy, no kneading necessary (by ME anyway) I had to give it a try!


Of course as usual I subbed out what I didn’t have.  No chickpea flour?  No problem…spelt flour instead.  Out of thyme (always it seems..oh..not -that kind of time!), in went italian seasoning instead.

Can’t read it? Marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and basil.

DSCF2939This was dump and go! 

Ten or less fast minutes dumping everything into the breadmaker pan and then just set it to go.DSCF2940 After the first mix…DSCF2946 And as I type this, still waiting for the results!

So while we wait…on to dinner.

Remember last night when I wanted to make Shepherd’s pie but didn’t want to use the cream of mushroom soup?

Well I still wanted to make it tonight.  But with something other than the canned soup!  So I came up with my own recipe!

I have fresh carrots, peas, and potatoes…but I really want to get some of the stuff I have in the pantry and freezer gone for good already!  We don’t seem to use the freezer as much now that we are getting so much fresh produce to use every week.

From the freezer I found a half bag of mixed veggies…and another half bag of baby peas.  In they went!

I dumped them into a measuring cup just to get an idea of how much I had…but I wasn’t really measuring anything.DSCF2947 Also a bag of Boca Crumbles.   Publix had a sale a while back and I stocked up…so I have lots of bags but rarely use them!DSCF2949I just got 2 pounds of Yukon Gold taters in my box on Monday….but I used this from the pantry, this has been sitting there for ages…..I just want to get rid of it already!DSCF2948As I start off most recipes…some onion and garlic sauteed in some EVOO.DSCF2950In went the Boca Crumbles…then when they were mostly defrosted I added the frozen veggies.  DSCF2954

Now came flavoring time!  In lieu of the can of soup (I need to get those out of the pantry too…but I will probably donate them to a food bank.  (Shhhh…don’t tell FabHubs!!!)

Fresh on my mind from the seitan, I poured in some Worcestershire sauce and some amount of water that looked good (I didn’t measure)…and then I remembered this tomato sauce left over in the fridge just begging to be used in something!  Perfect.DSCF2951    DSCF2955 I made the mashed potatoes and “iced” the filling with it!

This came together so fast!  Browning the “meat” took the longest…and that was not long at all!

FabHubs came home from work and saw this…and said it sure looks like Shepherd’s pie but that would be an impossible dream in this house…and then proclaimed it a crime for me to call it Shepherd’s pie.  He redubbed it Farmer’s pie…and so it is.

DSCF2956I put it aside while I assembled the salad and the rest of dinner, and a little while before dinner was ready I baked it until it was heated through and browned on top.DSCF2961Alongside…a yummy salad…DSCF2957 Sliced avocados that were almost past their prime!  (I cut the spots out before serving)DSCF2958I wasn’t feeling the oil and vinegar dressing tonight for the salad so I decided to whip up a version of a concoction my mom used to make.  I didn’t know the quantities of the ingredients…so I just made it up as I went along.

Fresh organic lime juice and minced garlic mixed with a little sea salt and EVOO. DSCF2959   DSCF2962 So good and such a nice change!!!!DSCF2963 And of course my pie Farmer’s Pie which was So Good!DSCF2965And we can’t forget the seitan!

Okay…it looked really weird when I pulled it out of the breadmaker…lumpy and bumpy!  And very dark.  I wasn’t expecting that! DSCF2967I cut a piece off to try it.  It was crusty on the outside, but inside was stretchy and a little doughy…perfect seitan texture!  Tasting it, it was a little salty for my taste (less tamari next time..and no added salt)…and surprisingly it had quite the kick!  I think I added ground red pepper instead of sweet paprika!  Oops!

But this will be perfect for recipes and was so easy!  And ready to go for a future “quick to put together” dinner.DSCF2969

Do you eat unprocessed?  What kinds of shortcut foods do you use to get dinner done in a hurry?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Almost Sold Out!!!!

I didn’t feel like cooking and I almost caved.  I was going to make a Shepherd’s pie, subbing out Boca Crumbles for the beef.  Easy enough…but I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like making a sauce and started to reach for the cream of mushroom soup.

Yes, you read that right the canned, processed cream of mushroom soup that has been sitting unused on my shelf for at least the last six months.

And I just couldn’t do it!  I felt guilty and unhealthy…and I went back and forth a while on it.

I finally ended up settling for another meal…still with processed something, but somehow totally different in my mind.  At least it was organic!

We ended up with sauteed kale, roasted sunchokes, and Gardein beefless tips.

Sunchokes look like ginger, but taste almost, but not exactly, like potatoes. 

After searching the internet for something interesting to do with the sunchokes, I found everything too complicated or exotic and decided to simply slice and roast the sunchokes along with some garlic and sliced leek. DSCF2924


Leeks have to be washed really well, especially between the layers.  I had already rinsed this leek when I peeled back the outer layer and found this!DSCF2926

Tossed in a little EVOO and some S&, then into the oven at 425.  I like the higher heat in order to caramelize the onions and garlic.  So good.


     On the side was curly kale, washed and destemmed…DSCF2928Then sauteed in the pan with garlic, onion, and a little EVOO as well.  I think garlic and onion enhances veggie!  After cooking I sprinkled (heavily) some parmesan cheese on top.DSCF2931 And my quick processed portion of the dish?  These meat-free beefless tips from Gardein.DSCF2932 DSCF2933I have been having some low B12 issues and was recommended nutritional yeast to help…so I loaded it on top of the kale as well.

So good.DSCF2934

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Wind In My Face….Then Out Of My Sail

Today I logged in my 50th (and  51st and 52nd) mile on my mission to walk a minimum of 300 miles by the end of this year.

I have made sure I get out walking at least three days a week if not four, and been trying to add extra steps during my day, tracking them with this (untrustworthy I believe) little guy!DSCF2921The past few days I have been having some lots of frustration for me in that I don’t feel I am shaving any time off of my miles!  

In trying to think of improvements, I definitely feel a little more sure in my steps and don’t fear falling as much.  I do think my legs have a little more strength to them and are not as wobbly. 

We have way too high front steps with no banisters…and at my worst I had to hang on to the column for support to get down the steps and make sure I landed on perfectly even ground…or I would go down the steps the hard way!!!  I did realize this morning that while I do not bound down the steps, I also don’t have to put a death grip on the column to go down them either.

Perhaps the walking. 

Perhaps the fact that legs have 30 pounds less to lug around.

Perhaps a combination of the two.

And so I get towards my point…

I walk around the perimeter of a large squarish-shaped, open field park, 7/8 mile for one lap.  This morning it was quite windy!  Around two of the sides the wind was fierce, blowing right towards me and into my face and I had to work hard against it.  Sometimes I felt I was on a treadmill, walking in place!

But it was also very warm today and I left my water bottle in the car so I wouldn’t have to carry it.   I pushed hard…sweating…breathing hard…trying to speed up as fast as my poor legs could manage, even against the resistance of the wind.   I really want to start bringing my time down.

And then on my third lap around this runner passed me.  Dressed in a large hat, black pants, a long-sleeved black jacket, and a thick towel wrapped around her neck like a winter scarf.   I was actually starting to feel a little bad from the heat…pushing mid80s today…and she was running in this, (running past me of course) dressed for the 50s!

It kind of kicked me down a notch mentally…but physically I still  pushed harder and a little faster. 

Then this other lady passed me…she was about my age and weight.    And she was simply walking, not running, not jogging, not power walking.   She was simply walking.  Not breaking a sweat…she looked like she was out for a casual stroll.   But she “casually strolled” right by me and left me in the dust like I was standing still.  I couldn’t believe how far ahead she was within 5 minutes after going by me!

And that just took the wind right out of my sail.   I don’t know why I let it.  I know it is not a competition.   But I am competitive by nature…even if I am competing with myself.  And I started having all of these negative thoughts inside my head!

Why isn’t my time coming down?

Why aren’t I making progress?

What if I am never going to be able to gain strength and get faster?

What if there is no UP for me, and where I am today is the best I will ever be!!!

I was set to do one more lap…but I gave up and went to the car and went home. 

I  am not giving up…I still have hope, and I also know that no matter what speed I am, it is vital for me to be out there pushing my legs or I will definitely deteriorate. 

But on this one windy day the wind sure blew out of my sail quickly!

Back to home…I talked to my mom on the phone, worked a little, and crossed some things off my to-do list, goofed off a little..and all of a sudden it was 1 ‘clock (how did that happen?) and I was starving!!!

Once again I did a quick scroungefest for lunch…looking to see what the fridge had to offer me!

    • A baggie of cooked lentils, leftover from when I cooked way too many last week for a lentil salad dinner.

    • A sweet and crunchy organic carrot.

    • Organic grape tomatoes!

    • EVOO and balsamic (not in fridge!)

    • and a red organic pear (that everybody keeps mistaking for an apple around here.)

          Other than a minute or three for some carrot and tomato chopping and dicing…this came together in no time flat!  And was so filling I couldn’t even finish it. DSCF2914Red pear was on the side…not in the salad..although  that may have actually been kind of interesting to try!

          Then look what was taunting me…singing to me…left next to my computer this morning (I type on my laptop on the dining room table!).DSCF2922

          I  had to buy one!

          Of course I picked the healthiest one (wink wink)


          I have to say I am SPOILED!  Compared to all of the high-end organic dark chocolate brands I usually buy, this tasted awful!   Look at that paltry sprinkle of chopped almonds in there..three little bits on the left side!  DSCF2919

          I don’t care what they say, this is certainly not The World’s Finest!

          I am kind of glad though…I will not be tempted  to buy more of these!

          Now…off to work on the taxes.  Have I ever mentioned I was a CPA before I had kids?   LOL…kind of embarrassing…I don’t think waiting until April 14 is very CPA like! 

          Blogger Giveaways

          Some more great blogger giveaways I have come across this week!

          Amanda from Run To The Finish has a great motivating giveaway going on now.  The Three Changes Challenge inspires you to make three small changes in your life that will make an impact on your lifestyle or goals.  She has a bunch of great prizes for this challenge!  My daughter wants me to win just so she can get the Subway GC!

          I chose to limit my computer time outside of work, drink a minimum of  54 ounces of water daily, and to add resistance band training to my weekly walking to try to strengthen my muscles!  Of course I just ate an hour of my computer “fun time” on this post!

          Tricia from Endurance Isn’t Only Physical is back with another giveaway as well from GE to help promote National Women’s Health Week.  You can win a $20 health-themed gift card for entering this one.

          Monday, April 12, 2010

          Greening Lunch and Cooking Under Pressure

          Back to produce day again!  On the days I get my organic produce delivery, I work almost nonstop! 

          When I get home from the morning kid run, the produce delivery truck is either in my driveway…or not far off.   Sometimes I barely have enough time to gulp down a breakfast and make myself some coffee!

          I print the sorting sheets, set up a box or cooler for each customer coming to pick up and get to work.

          Sorting usually takes me about two hours, after which I go down the list to call everybody to tell them their box is ready, and then wait for them to come and pick it up!

          The customers come in bits and spurts throughout the day…usually as soon as I make a bathroom run or sit down to try and have some lunch! 

          Of course I love doing it…I get to meet and chat with so many great health-minded people AND I get first pick at this! DSCF2893This week was so colorful!

          I got:

          • Carrots!  They are so bright and smooth looking when they are this fresh!
          • Potatoes
          • Onions
          • Grape Tomatoes
          • Celery bunch
          • Cucumber
          • Romaine
          • Broccolini
          • Green Beans
          • Zucchini
          • Asparagus
          • Sunchokes
          • Kale (Curly Kale)
          • Strawberries
          • Red Pears
          • Grapefruit
          • Pink Lady Apples
          • Bananas
          • Pineapple
          • Mangos
          • Blueberries
          • Raspberries

          Look at the asparagus…it is PURPLE!!!!

          So Pretty….

          DSCF2894After sorting and a few pickups I was RAVENOUS!  And I was so craving something crunchy and green!!

          I didn’t think I had time to make and eat anything so I tried to find the leftover salad in the fridge.  Turns out FabHubs had snagged it for his lunch.

          But luck was still with me!  I ended up having a wonderful window of opportunity to make and eat a lunch, AND someone had been scheduled for a leafy add-on to her order but hadn’t ordered it, and didn’t want it…so I was thrilled to buy it!  It was two HUGE Lacinto kale bunches…the tall straight kind.  I had never seen bunches this big!

          I couldn’t stop thinking about massaged kale salad, crunchy, green, sweet, and fit the bill perfectly, and I began to work my appetite into quite a frenzy over this! 

          All of a sudden I didn’t even want to wait the time it took to make it…I just wanted to eat it! 

          But of course I couldn’t get one without the other.  

          So I washed, de-stemmed, and tore half a bunch of kale leaves into the big blue bowl and added some minced garlic, honey, walnuts, raisins, and olive oil…and a little S&P, and massaged for ten seven minutes.  By then it looked massaged enough to eat!

          On the side I also added a small Hass avocado from last week that needed to be eaten.

          OMG this was so green…and sooo good!  I had two big plates of the kale.  IT HIT THE SPOT PERFECTLY!!!!DSCF2895 On the side I also tried this free sample of green tea I  received from Lipton, in this beautiful little reusable storage pouch.  I loved the flavors.DSCF2896 DSCF2897 The rest of the afternoon was a blur…produce pickups, daughter pickups, doctor’s appointment, and getting ready for scout meetings.

          And then all of a sudden  I had about half an hour to come up with a quick and yummy dinner before we all scattered in different directions. This is the part of whole food vegetarianism I have found to be really challenging, trying to use all natural unprocessed ingredients and not rely on anything from a box!

          Before the vegetarian part it was easy to make some rice, George Foreman a natural chicken breast, and steam some broccoli and call it a meal.  Now the chicken sort of throws things off for me!

          But I have to say that I looked in the refrigerator, managed to start throwing some things together, and ultimately AMAZED MYSELF!  This came together pretty quickly and was So Delicious.  So Delicious.  

          A keeper!

          Found in the fridge (all from last week or prior):

          • Leeks
          • Zukes
          • Broccoli
          • Carrots
          • Garlic
          • Ginger
          • Tofu (yes, I know it is processed…but still!)

          Found in pantry:

          • Rice
          • Curry powder
          • Coconut oil
          • Canned coconut milk
          • Raisins
          • Cashews

          Quickly I sliced up the tofu and put it on a pan under the broiler to try and get some of the moisture out of it.  I didn’t press…I didn’t marinate.   No time.

          I called FabHubs into service to get the rice going for me.  Would have preferred brown rice…but no time!

          Then I washed and chopped, sliced and diced.  I heated some coconut oil in the cast iron.  First I sauteed the leeks, garlic, and ginger…then added the carrots since they needed longer to cook…then the zukes, broccoli, and finally the somewhat browned, broiled tofu.

          When the veggies were looking sufficiently tender, I sprinkled everything with a TBS of flour for thickening, and an unmeasured but very generous amount of (homemade a few weeks ago) curry powder.   I stirred everything up until I couldn’t see the powder anymore, and then mixed in the can of coconut milk. 

          Finally, a few big handfuls of raisins and some cashews…I had a small amount of raw that I used up, and then found a small gift box of roasted…both went in!

          The end result…..a huge hit with the family, done in record time, AND a bunch of veggies were used up in the process!DSCF2900

          Aaaaaamazing I tell you!

          Are you afraid to experiment? 

          Or do you find the more you cook the easier it is to invent “have-on-hand” combos without recipes that turn out great??