Grilled Cheese (Knot!)

>> Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alternative to grilled cheese? Take Pumpkin Garlic Knots, bake them so they are slightly under-done in the middle. Then slice in half, top with cheese of your choice, I used cheddar, and broil for a few minutes until browned and bubbly. Then top with the usual garlic knot mixture.

This "recipe" is simple enough.

Goes great with Roasted Tomato Soup!

Happy Halloween, by the way. If you'd like to check out Ada's awesome lion costume, just head over to Writing Chapter Three! I want her to wear it every single day.

And here's to the New Leaf plan and avoiding mass quantities of candy tonight.

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Roasted (Canned) Tomato Soup

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When tomatoes aren't in season, we stock up on the canned variety and keep plenty in our pantry. Many soups, stews, sauces, etc. call for tomatoes. They're pretty versatile, too, and we toss them into a variety dishes year-round, well beyond typical Italian fare.

Yesterday, I was craving tomato soup. I've never made it at home before, but it's one of my favorites with a crusty grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough, most preferably. I'm a lover of roasting everything, as you well know, and I've drooled over many roasted tomato soup recipes online -- including this one from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

So . . .

. . . I set out to make a roasted tomato soup with canned tomatoes, fully accepting that it may flop. But I had the time. Obviously fresh is best, but when that's not an option, I'd definitely say that this recipe yielded some tasty soup in its own right.

To roast, you'll need a rimmed baking sheet and two 1-lb cans of whole, peeled tomatoes -- drained. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If you've worked with these tomatoes before, you know the insides are often very juicy. I also halved them and took out the seeds. I roasted 3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped, with the bunch.

I drizzled the pan with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Then I let roast for 10 minutes, stirred, roasted another 10, stirred, another 10 stirred, until the pan turned black. That isn't an instruction. That's just what happened and why I decided to take them out when I did. 

By this time, the garlic had browned, so I let everything cool a while and then blended the tomatoes and garlic with a few tablespoons of water.


What you'll need . . .

  • Roasted tomato puree (from above)
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method . . . 

  1. I combined the chunky tomato puree with the ingredients above in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. I turned the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, until thickened slightly.
  3. I kept tinkering with the spices until I got it just how I wanted it.
  4. I then served it with some special pumpkin garlic knots, as you'll see tomorrow.

Have you found creative ways to use canned food? What have you made?

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Moonshine Kingdom

>> Monday, October 29, 2012

Nothing much to report from this morning. I'm finishing up some storm preparations, as I just wrote on Writing Chapter Three. This weekend went well eating-wise. Though, I did find myself in possession of a couple frosted sugar cookies from Wegmans. (Note the passive voice.)

In an appropriate Halloween theme, of course.

This weekend marked the Zombie Run, but due to the storm, I think most people were out scrambling around to get water and supplies. (Not-so funny story: All the stores are out of water.) Only a few of us showed up compared to a couple years ago. So, we went out for coffee brains instead.

At least I got a few photos. I don't think Ada knew what to think when mommy had all that strange makeup on. I'm still washing it off my forehead, too.

Weekend highlight: I made the most delicious batch of Pumpkin Garlic Knots (and replaced the agave with maple syrup -- you may also use honey). We ate them Friday night and we f.i.n.a.l.l.y watched Moonrise Kingdom. Delete. I did it AGAIN! I keep accidentally calling it MoonSHINE Kingdom.

That would be another kind of movie entirely, wouldn't it?

Of all the recipes on this blog, the pumpkin garlic knots are -- by FAR -- my favorite. Also one of the easiest. And I make them year-round, even when the pumpkin supply is relegated to the bottom shelf in the most obscure corner of the grocery store.

Which has me thinking: Right now we mostly have winter squashes waiting to be roasted, dough waiting to be baked into bread, and eggs that need to be fried before consuming. We have some packets of baby food for Ada and some raw fruits and veggies for us, but very little else that can just be eaten as-is.

When the weather gets rough, do you have a stash of emergency foods? I need to add this to my last-minute list. Oh, and I need to get this load of funky diapers into the wash ASAP, too. I wouldn't want to be stuck with them any longer than necessary.

More soon!

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Weekends Off?

>> Friday, October 26, 2012

Another day. Another early start. Another morning walk. Another healthy breakfast. Zero time online last night from 6 pm till bedtime. So far, keeping up with my goals is working well. Now I'm facing the weekend.

Oh, to be 1993 again.

Every time I've gotten into healthy eating habits in the past, I've followed a "weekends off" approach where I basically stuff myself on everything sweet, cheesy, bready on Friday night through Sunday. I then resume healthy eating bright and early Monday morning.

I make it sound awful, but really -- it kept me relatively on track because I didn't seriously gorge myself, but I would definitely indulge enough to feel satisfied. I didn't make up this approach myself. I learned it a long while ago in one of my favorite healthy eating books, The Weekends Off Diet (the book is I am apparently so old, it's no longer in print).

I'm thinking this time around, though, I may try to stick it out and continue eating sensibly all seven days of the week. This means none of this "good" or "bad" day stuff, but -- instead -- filling my belly with more greens, proteins, etc., so maybe I'll have room for only 2 huge slices of pizza instead of 4 for dinner.

However, if those pieces of pizza are homemade and piled high with veggies, avocado, etc., maybe 4 pieces as a meal isn't so bad after all.

Do you practice a weekends-off? Even if you don't set out to, do you tend to indulge more on weekends anyway?

GOAL #4: Roll with it. I used to be much better at accepting unpredictability. Like in college. I'd cruise through my days and take what came at me -- and often that led to good opportunities. I got everything done but had fun at random intervals in between.

When I started working my offices jobs (and I had many different ones), I became a slave to my Outlook Calendar. Over time, I grew to love those little reminders. I'd enjoy chunking -- yeah, chunking --  out my day and getting certain tasks done.

Tuesday mornings were for catching up on my inbox, for example. I had a meeting every Thursday afternoon from 2 till 4. And that routinized approach continued when I left the office. Come home. Go for a run. Cook dinner. Relax. Sleep 8 hours. Wake. Breakfast. Etc.

These days, being at home with a baby means a loose structure for multiple reasons I've already listed way too many times. Working from home, too, isn't exactly a 9 to 5 sort of deal. But I'm still craving that chunking of my time. Knowing what to expect and not having interruptions.

Yeah. That won't happen again for a while. It's been a major source of frustration for me and even leads in anger in extreme cases. Certainly I need to address this. So, I know I can't change my personality, but I can change how I'm dealing with situations and try to find a happy medium.

So, I don't know what exactly I'll do yet, but some of you have suggested that list-making is good. I had many, many lists when I was working, and I definitely think it would help. Even something small like "diaper laundry" that I could cross off. Blocking off certain general ranges of time for tasks could be motivating, too.

And in all of this, taking advantage of time when Stephen is home or when my parents can watch Ada might help me if I set a certain goal for me-time. I do get ample time to run, which is great. But I think if I had another activity outside of that, I'd feel more accomplished and fulfilled.

Wow. Sounds much sadder than it actually is. I've come to understand that sometimes my words paint a darker picture than reality. Transition this year has been a challenge, but not necessarily a bad one.

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Runner's World Half Marathon Recap

>> Thursday, October 25, 2012

If you remember, the last half marathon we ran was way back in May. It was my first big deal race after having Ada, and I surprised myself with a finish in the 1:48 range. My training had been hit-or-miss, but relatively solid. My goal for the Runner's World Half was to commit to running 5 days a week and to not miss any long runs if I could help it.

How did I do? I'd say well. However, I didn't meet either of these training goals. My training ranged between 3 and 5 days a week, but most weeks I'd finish 4 runs. Usually on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. As for long runs (Sundays), I pushed many to Mondays and I missed 2 of them entirely.

Stephen had been telling me about the course for months. (Image from the RW Half Participant Guide.)

That the website described the streets of Bethlehem, PA, as "hilly" and "challenging" -- but I didn't pay it much attention. I've done tons of courses with rolling hills, and I consider tackling inclines a strength of mine. I trained on some hills, but, as I found out on race day, not nearly enough.

OK. So, here's us before the race. (I'm very car-sick in this photo!)

At the start, I decided to take off my long-sleeve in favor of my sleeveless shirt. I have such a hard time knowing what to wear while racing, and I usually end up too hot. The weather was almost perfect -- cool, but with promise of warming up with some sun.

I positioned myself ambitiously, right by the 1:45 pace group (8:00/mile). I've never run in a pace group, so I thought this might be a good time to try it out. Before I knew it, I was off and running. After a slight decline, the first hill revealed itself. I made it up just fine, but was lagging a bit behind the group. I figured as long as I kept their little signs in view, I'd be fine.

One thing I haven't given much thought to before is downhills. I'm probably going to dwell on all the climbing I did in this race. But I think the declines balanced them out. Anyway, I race on those declines. Fast. But not many people do. I think it's silly not to take advantage of such a controlled fall like that. (If you want to try it out, make sure you practice. It uses different muscles.)

Back up for a second. To the expo, where we got this great family photo taken.

At the expo, I heard people saying over and over again that once you get past mile 7, the hills were done (with one exception) and it was just coasting to the finish. I let that dictate how I powered up all those hills. I RACED them, which is unusual for me.

I should have looked at the elevation chart beforehand.

Or maybe not. In all, the elevation gain was over 800 feet. That's the most I've ever done in a race, and I've completed some very hilly courses. I kept thinking those first seven miles, which were a complete blur, that it would be over at the 7-mile marker. But as you can see from this chart, one of the biggest hills is between 7 and 8.

I guess I misinterpreted what "after mile 7" meant. So, this is really the part I can remember. After I hit mile 7, things leveled out, and I thought I was in the clear. No one in my pace range spoke very much. They were all very focused. This is how I can tell I was actually racing, because I didn't mind. Sometimes I am way too happy and giddy, which shows me I'm not expending enough energy.

A man jogged next to me and said he'd be using my pink cap to pace himself the whole race. Soon after, we passed by some houses and his whole family was there cheering him on. I think he had three daughters. Fun!

Also at this point, he blew past me because I saw that gigantic hill. Seriously: Seeing the hill was so demoralizing. I thought I was done for a while, so I think I even swore under my breath. I made it up, but my legs felt like there was nothing left. I hadn't trained for this type of difficulty, and because I was car-sick, I didn't eat a huge breakfast. I think my energy stores were low.

However, things looked up -- or, rather, down -- after that. The neighborhoods were absolutely gorgeous with all the colorful leaves. There were lots of people sitting outside their houses cheering. It reminded me a lot of the Boilermaker in that respect.

And speaking of 15Ks, I wasn't wearing a watch, but by my estimation (and the 9-mile clock marker), I think I did close to my PR on this course for that distance. That was a long way of saying I was speeding along quite well despite feeling so tired.

But the 1:45 group was nowhere to be found.

I thought of Stephen. Poor Stephen. There are no groups for his pace. Running in the top five must be so lonely. Thanks to Kerris (congrats on your race!) for passing along this great photo her husband took of Stephen -- not knowing it was him!

I said the first 7 miles were a blur, but really the rest was, too. I just remember that the weather was perfect. The leaves were beautiful. Bethlehem was beautiful. People around me started to pass me. I was keeping steady-ish, though. But others were speeding up. I heard a few say "we can still make 1:45," so I figured I was somewhat close to my goal.

I started making promises to myself at mile 10. I'll never make myself run a full marathon again -- I will stick to halfs like these, as they are definitely enough challenge. I will give myself an entire week off from running. I'll eat an entire pizza when I'm done. Just don't stop. I'll do anything for you, Ashley, just finish the damn race.

Somewhere in those last couple miles, we passed through Moravian College and some of the historic district again. (These are old photos from when we raced the Lehigh Valley Half a few years ago.)

I also passed by Runner's World Editor at Large Amby Burfoot, who was looking to beat his 1:48 previous PR. He must have! Everyone was saying hi and thanking him for all his hard work. That was one super cool thing about this race. All the RW writers, editors, staff. They have helped me so much with my running, I felt honored to be racing alongside them.

I got to the final mile and my legs were burning. It reminded me much of my marathon days, so I could tell that this course was leagues above what my training prepared me for. I decided (having no idea where I would finish time-wise, Zen-runner that I am), my goal was just to bring it in without stopping. Even if that meant slowing a bit. Which I did because there's a slight, slight incline for part of that final mile.

As we approached the end, I heard drums, cheering, and saw this awesome flame above the finish line. The whole steel mill structure where the race made its home base was asolutely incredible. I wrote more about it on Writing Chapter Three. Anyway, I saw the clock. 1. 4. 6 -- OK I was CLOSE!

Then 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 . . .  ever-ticking along.

I sprinted because I DID NOT want to go over into the 1:47s. And I did it. I think the clock time was 1:46:42 or something like that. But my official time was 1:46:27. A whole 4 seconds off my pre-baby PR at Lake Placid in 2010.

It might not be 1:45, but on that course, I'll take it.

The best part? I r.a.c.e.d the entire half marathon, hills and all. I may have slowed down a couple times, but not by much. My average pace was 8:07, only 7 seconds over goal. At the end, I wanted to collapse, not take cute photos or Tweet my good news. My biggest accomplishment is that I feel competitive again. I'm giving it everything I have, perhaps more than I ever have . . . and only one year after Ada was born.

I didn't think it would be possible. Then I saw Stephen, who first congratulated me and then quickly told me that he had crossed the line 3rd OVERALL. But his story is one for another day.

Recovery has been rough. That day, I took two very long showers because I felt so out of it. I took Monday off from activity, but returned to some easy jogging Tuesday and there was yesterday's pretty jaunt. I was thinking of doing another half in two weeks, but I think I may allow my body more time to heal.

Whatever I do, I know I'll be back for next year's race. The event was super organized, featured stunning scenery, allowed me to run with some amazing people, and -- despite the difficulty -- was fun. Thanks, Runner's World. What a great race!

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Rave Run

>> Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's been rainy the last two days. I don't love running in the rain, but I don't hate it either. I deal. My recovery from the half marathon (recap tomorrow) has been slow. I've run an easy 3 and now 4, but don't plan on pushing daily mileage higher than that until next week.

Our neighborhood is residential with a mix of some smaller city-ish streets toward downtown. The city is trying to finish final repairs before the weather gets chilly, so a lot of the scenery looks like this right now.

Sometimes, though, I like to pretend that I live where there are tons of parks and trails. I head to this cemetery about a mile from our house. The loop is around a mile with a mix of pavement, dirt, and cinders. I sometimes do the loop a few times if I need a break from traffic and ugly buildings.

I'm not one to take photos during races or workouts, but today, I just had to. The leaves are falling like crazy, and I know they'll be gone before I have time to fully appreciate them. I did my first loop and then jogged home to get my phone.

I guess this is my rave run.

For dinner, we had stuffed peppers and brown ale. These four are just my portion -- and we still have leftover filling! I always make way too much. Hopefully Ada will enjoy it for lunch tomorrow.

Also, I need to start using my DSLR again. The iPhone is appealing, but these photos are awful. Sorry!

In accordance with my new less-is-better internet goal, I'm going to sign off and spend some quality time with Stephen. And maybe eat some more leftover Spelt Cornbread!

'Night, all!

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Spelt Cornbread

Guess who got a walk in yet again this morning!

We went a bit farther than yesterday, too. It feels so amazing to start in the day this way. We recently stopped Ada's 11 PM feed, and I'll write more about it on Writing Chapter Three later today. I'm just hoping her good sleep habits keep on going despite the change. This productivity kick has my mood way improved.

We ate dinosaur kale chips, chipotle tofu "steaks", and spelt cornbread for dinner last night. I'm having my usual eggs and some cornbread again for breakfast, and I'll have another green smoothie for a morning snack.

I vary my diet for obvious reasons, but if there are leftovers I like -- and there are few leftovers I actually enjoy -- I tend to gobble them up. This is the first cornbread recipe I've developed that doesn't have sugar or maple syrup in it. The flavor of the coconut oil and water gives it a light sweetness. However, you may also replace these ingredients with olive oil and plain water.


What you'll need . . .

  • 2 cups polenta/corn grits
  • 1-1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 can corn kernels, drained and rinsed well (optional)

Method . . . 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spritz a 9 x 13 pan (I used a glass dish) with olive oil.
  2. Whisk together the corn grits, spelt flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave. Then add it to the warm water and coconut water. You need to make sure the water mixture is warm -- I learned the hard way that the coconut oil hardens on contact with cold.
  4. Then pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until well combined. 
  5. Fold in the corn kernels and then spread into your baking pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then check the center. It will likely still be gooey. Bake for another 5 minutes and possibly another couple after that, depending on your oven. Bread is done when center is set, but still moist.

GOAL #3: To spin off last night's topic of negative versus positive, I'm trying now to stay positive in all areas, even those I didn't previously expect were getting me down. This includes focusing on the people, places, and things in my life that most matter and letting go of negative connections and influences.

It's a big goal, and something I'll probably write more about eventually.

Strangely enough, many of these mood suckers are related to the time I spend online. Whether it's rolling my eyes at random Facebook status updates, Googling medical issues (remember when the doctor said Ada's head is too big? Yeah. No good.), or stressing because I've let my inbox overflow beyond manageable. Computers are great, but they sure do complicate life.

I'm hoping to cull the loop of websites I visit on a daily basis and limit time online in general. Sitting in a dark corner at 9 PM and mindlessly surfing isn't benefiting me any -- even if I am reading news or useful information. We have an entire bookshelf teeming with books. I have a sewing machine that gets little use. I have a birthday party to plan.

I'd rather be productive with my time. You know, actually MAKE things instead of just pinning them on Pinterest. (Though I can't see cutting out Pinterest!) We'll see how it goes!

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Plus Sign: What I'm Adding

>> Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When I'm examining my diet (and life, in general), it isn't always so much about what I need to stop eating or doing. Instead, what I need to add is more of a focus for me. Anyway, I already eat lots of fruit, healthy whole grains, and dairy products.

I've been eating many other things -- mostly from the fats and sugars category -- too.

Cough. Cough.

So, even if I continue eating all the sugar, which I haven't so far -- yay!, greens (and protein, but I'll write about that another day) is what I've needed to add. Sure, I'm trying to tackle my sugar addiction, but rather than dwell on my countless failures, I'd rather think on the positive side.

The easiest way to add greens? Smoothies, of course!

Green smoothies are nothing new. I first learned about the whole concept on Angela's site years and years ago. Since then, I've had many for breakfast and snacks I've even come up with some of my own favorite recipes.

To make this one, blend together the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup (or giant fistful) spinach 
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple 
  • 1 small, ripe banana 
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 4 oz plain low-fat yogurt (I used peach because that's all we had -- baby yogurt!) 
* Feel free to play around with the amounts to make the smoothie consistency to your specific liking. I prefer it a bit thinner than I take pure fruit smoothies.

I'm resisting writing another goal for myself today. I think one is enough to try and incorporate into my life. To recap: I'm trying my best to eat breakfast earlier each day and focus on protein versus carbs. In addition, I'm reexamining my schedule to alleviate some of the work/home multitasking that comes with working from my living room and being a SAHM.

Basic. Simple. And I'm hoping that means sustainable.

Here's to another good day! I'd love to hear how your own adventures are going. Have you set any goals for yourself? How do you plan to stick with them in the long run?

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It's a Good Morning

I woke up at 7 AM today, which is earlier than normal (I try to sleep as long as Ada will allow me to!), but I used that time wisely and got a good chunk of my work done -- uninterrupted. I also got in a bit of early breakfast (I guess you could call it part 1), some eggs and detox tea.

Yes. Detox tea. Though this plan isn't a detox, I imagine tea can't hurt anything.

When Ada woke up, it was immediately clear that she's teething. She's being very clingy and unhappy. Drooling like crazy. So, despite my attempts to play with her, I decided the best thing to do was swoop her up and take a walk around the neighborhood.

It's chilly and rainy, but a short mile was just what she and I needed.

I'll round out breakfast after I post with oatmeal or a grain of some sort mixed with unsweetened applesauce and some strawberries. I'm also planning to "snack" on a green smoothie before lunch to get in greens.

Speaking of mid-day meals, I'll be eating this hefty bowl of leftover miso stew from last night's dinner. And definitely a few more Chocolate-PB Energy Balls.

I loosely followed this recipe, but made the following modifications.

  • Low sodium vegetable stock in place of water
  • Peas in place of broccoli
  • Juice of half a lemon versus ginger (I didn't have any)
  • Added 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper for heat
  • Omitted cilantro
  • Omitted rice vinegar
  • Increased the volume of everything a bit to yield more stew

GOAL #2: I'd like to experiment with new structure(s) for my day. Getting some work done before Ada woke up was a huge help. (I didn't think I could because much of what I do is posted in a time frame that works better for the west coast.) I don't feel as rushed or split with my attention for any of my responsibilities today.

This meant time for taking a short morning walk outdoors. I take lots of walks, but starting the morning off this way is the best. Fresh air is going to become increasingly more important as we head into the winter months. Also, I think one reason I've been eating poorly and feeling stressed has to do with feeling overstretched. I need to reevaluate the way I'm spending my time.

Right now, Ada's napping and I'm not furiously trying to finish up anything with a deadline. I get a breather or some time to actually cook, clean, pay bills, etc. That sounds rather old-fashioned, but part of staying home is keeping the house running smoothly. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed of that. After years of chaos, it's a nice change.

In short: I've always prided myself on my ability to multitask, but there's a calm in being able to focus on single things, even if it's only from time to time.

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Chocolate-PB Energy Balls

>> Monday, October 22, 2012

After a good morning, my day got even better. My parents offered to watch Ada this afternoon so I could go grocery shopping alone. It was glorious. I'm sorry to say I didn't exactly stick to our usual budget. We've been running low of staples for a while now, so I decided to get them all in one big shop.

Our refrigerator is stuffed to the gills with what I'm hoping is enough food for two weeks.

Since I had a late breakfast, I also had a late-ish lunch, which wasn't anything remarkable: A large sweet potato stuffed with a black bean-veggie mix and a bit of cheese broiled on top. I'll post a recipe later in the week because I plan to have it again.

I like to eat snacks throughout the day, too.  I'll admit, though, that lately that snack has either been Goldfish or Reese's peanut butter pumpkins. Plural. I don't mind indulging, but my habit was getting ridiculous.

So, I wanted to try and get my fix in a slightly healthier way. I'm a huge fan of homemade energy chunks. Done!


Toss the following ingredients into your food processor:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup natural no-stir peanut butter
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Method . . . 

  1. Pulse all ingredients until they form into a thick batter/ball. 
  2. You may adjust the consistency by adding more maple syrup, but start with just 1/4 cup and go from there. 
  3. Then scoop out balls using a tablespoon measure. 
  4. Roll in the palm of your hand. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
These may just be a cookie in disguise. Something I made to seem healthy, but really isn't. I don't know. At least the ingredients are simple and the sugars can be more easily digested/processed by my body. Now I just need to stay away from the candy aisles until after Halloween.

I'm so glad that some of you have decided to join me in making your own strides toward health and happiness in a new way. I find that the first two days are usually pretty easy for me. It's sticking with it that's the hard part.

A miso stew is on tap for dinner. I'm also hoping to get in a solo walk of 3 miles or so later this afternoon. Maybe even a few sun salutations if I'm feeling particularly inspired. My legs are definitely feeling the race, so whatever I do will be easy. And beyond all things food and exercise, I'd like to organize our mail tonight. It's been hanging over my head for a few weeks now.

Have a lovely evening. And if you'd like to read a bit about our weekend, check out Writing Chapter Three.

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New Leaf: First Morning

In the spirit of my New Leaf plan, I thought I'd do less formal blog posting this week. Sort of an up-to-the minute report of what I'm eating or doing, etc. We'll see if that works out with my schedule, but it's what I'd like to do. I think it might help me stay on track.

For example, all I have to say right now is that Monday is going well. I woke up and drank a large mug of White Tea.

I am super sore from yesterday's half marathon (recap soon -- Stephen came in 3rd overall!), which included over 800 feet of climbing. I've often read that white tea is anti-inflammatory. Hoping it helps me both inside and out.

Then I got in a late breakfast. Starting with eggs.

Two of them from our lovely farm (you may remember that we visited and even met these chickens not terribly long ago). Over easy and slathered in hot sauce.

Served with quinoa and broccoli.

GOAL #1: Find time to make breakfast each day. OK. I already DO that, but I want to make it earlier so it isn't after 10 AM. Between getting my work done and taking care of Ada, I usually don't eat until at least 10 AM when she goes down for a nap. If I make it the night before or do something simple like frying eggs, it should be easier.

This point has been a major downfall with my eating. Like if I had to name one thing that was my biggest problem, breakfast would be it. I'm still learning the at-home mom with a part-time job balance. I'd grab some bread or even a cookie, and it would start my day off on a bad note. Already I've noticed my head feels clearer having put emphasis on protein so early in the day.

And I'd like to elaborate more on why this plan isn't a detox. You'll see that I am eating very detox-y foods. However, I don't want to cut out all bread, sugar, dairy, etc. I am hoping instead to incorporate more plant-based meals to refocus my attention on veggies, protein, and a wider variety of carbs. You know. Stuff besides delicious, crusty breads.

It's trial and error.

I find when I go all or nothing with anything in my life -- especially diet -- I set myself up for failure, both mentally/emotionally and physically. I am considering racing running another half marathon in two weeks, so I need to eat a good mix of proteins, carbs, fats, fruits, and veggies. But hopefully less carbs and fats than I have been, since I've been relying on them almost entirely.

What healthy decisions have you made already this morning?

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A New Leaf

>> Friday, October 19, 2012

I could write a lot of things tonight. I am feeling sluggish, tired, and unhealthy. Running is going fine. I'm ready to run Sunday's race, but there's little passion there. I've been eating grilled cheese for most every meal since Ada's solids strike made me into her personal chef.

Yeah. I always use the baby card when I'm in a funk. I feel like now that Ada's almost a year old, I need to start taking some responsibility of my own for how I'm treating myself, my body, my mind.

The truth is:

So, starting next Monday, I am turning a new leaf. For me, I always have to start fresh. Set a date. Make a plan. Get organized and keep track. And usually I have to make radical modifications to snap out of bad habits. Why Monday? I need to get through this race weekend. Don't want to change anything just yet.

Nothing I'll be doing is revolutionary or new, really. But I am hoping some of you will enjoy and even consider joining me. Not necessarily to do exactly what I'm doing, but, instead, to find your own path to transformation. Whatever that word means to you in this moment.

I'll be outlining some of my goals next week (nothing terribly specific, mind you). I worked on a rough menu plan earlier today and thought I'd share it, as I'll be blogging many of these meals -- short recipes -- throughout the week. If you have any suggestions for healing foods, I'd love to incorporate some into my plan.


  • Green Smoothies
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs

  • Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli w/ Brown Rice
  • Miso Stew
  • Homemade Black Bean Burgers


I've put myself on detoxes in the past. This "New Leaf" plan, as I'm calling it, isn't a detox. It's just me, trying to figure out what feels wrong in my diet, exercise, and life in general. Obviously it's going to be some trial and error. I have no specific expectations at this point.

As I already wrote, I'll be blogging recipes and other things during the process. I am thinking a kickoff of clean eating might do the trick. I am also planning to add yoga back into my routine, as I am in need of the mental health benefits I used to enjoy when I was deep in practice.

I don't know about you, but whenever the seasons change, I tend to feel restless. I think part of this whole thing is a product of that stirring. I may come out of it doing nothing different in the long term. As I see it, at least by taking this time, I'm responding to whatever is inside me, telling me to examine my life.

Whether or not anything "productive" happens, sometimes engaging in that internal dialogue is all I need to do to feel back on track.

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