Quote of the Day: * Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened. *

Good evening!

I was out walking Ezra twenty minutes ago and thinking about how happy I am. The sun was shining, Ezra was being cute, the hubs was waiting for me at home, and life is just feeling pretty sweet right now.

Then, a cloud of stress rolled in as I thought about all of the blog posts I haven’t written and all of the pictures I need to go through and all of the things I would like to improve about the blog. And, just like that, it dawned on me: I need a break from the blog.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I really, really like blogging, as a hobby. But, at this point in my life, there are simply other things that I am enjoying, like these two:

And Adam’s new toy:

And reading novels and scrapbooking and taking Ezra to the dog park and spending time with friends and Bikram and, oh yeah, reading other people’s blogs! Basically, now that I’m working full-time again, there just aren’t enough hours in the week for me to do everything that I want to do. And, at this point, I think the blog is going to need to be moved to the back burner. Of course, that’s not to say there still won’t be plenty of this in my life:

There just won’t be any pictures of it ;-)

Unfortunately, for me, blogging has become a mad dash to the “Publish” button rather than an enjoyable writing experience. What started as a hobby is now taking on the feeling of a chore. And that’s no fun! I have written often about the importance of balance, both in eating and life in general, and I am also a firm believer in living the life you want to live, so now it’s time for to practice what I preach. I need to just be for a while. Now, that’s not to say that this is it for Veggie Booty; I just need a break. For an indefinite amount of time. I’ll let you know when I return ;-)

Until then, thank you very, very much to everyone who reads. I must admit I’m especially sad to do this now that I have some loyal viewers (besides Mama D and Rooms)! You all rock 8-)

I’m off to the dog park with Mr. Caughron and Ms. Ezra! I hope everyone has a great night! And, remember, healthy living *always* feels good! ;-)

Emma

Quote of the Day: * A lot of people never use their initiative because no one told them to. * ~ Banksy

Good afternoon!

Five years of Spanish in middle/high school got me that fragment of a sentence. Go me. ;-) I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday – I certainly am! Even though I only worked four days this week, I could not wait for it to be over! I think the week after a vacay, even a mini one, is always tough – I just want to be chillaxin’ again 8-) (Though, I can’t say I wish I was on the east coast right now – holy hell are they getting a lot of snow!)

I’ve decided to save the pics from early last week of the Play With Your Food experiment until after I finish the East Coast updates, so that I can do them all at once AND give my thoughts on how it’s going. So, today, we get to take a look at our first day home at my parentsplace.

We were greeted by several feet of snow and this view from my window:

RIDIC!! This looks much more like Wisconsin than New Jersey!

Luckily, my mom had some vegetarian chili in the fridge for me to warm up with at breakfast. :-)

She submitted this recipe in the Ledvina Family Cookbook, and I’ve been meaning to make it all winter, but have yet to do it! I have no idea why, as I am SO in love with it. It’s the first “soup” I ever liked!

Before I dug in, Mama D informed me that she had substituted a chayote squash for the zucchini, and handed me what looked like a pear from the side:

But not from the bottom:

Apparently, the *real* people who Play With [Their] Food are more familiar with this veggie than I:

I was intrigued and immediately served myself a bowl with a little bit of cheese sprinkled on top.

With a side of two hard-boiled eggs:

Perfection! As I remembered, the chili was phenom, absolutely phenom. I enjoyed every single bite and really had to stop myself from eating myself sick! I just love it – maybe this is the motivation I needed to make it before winter ends!

Mama D and I chatted that morning away and, before I knew it, it was time for lunch! I already knew I wanted oats – making them at my parents’ house is always a treat, as they have every time of dried fruit, nut, and spread known to man. In fact, the only thing they don’t have is bananas! (Mama D doesn’t like ’em, and I don’t think Pops can eat them quickly enough to justify buying them!) But, no matter, I subbed in a nice big red pear for my fruit ;-)

The necessary ingredients: 1/4 cup each of rolled oats and multigrain cereal, a red pear, apple butter, almond butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup each of soy milk and water.

And, some cottage cheese on top:

It was quite the heaping bowl and I loved every bite! Oats make me so happy :-)

The Grateful Living: Yeah, I’m grateful that it’s Friday. The end. ;-)

Have a great night!

Emma

Quote of the Day: * I doubt the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream. * ~ Heywood Campbell Broun

Good afternoon!

Last night, I went through hundreds of pictures. Seriously, hundreds. I edited, uploaded, organized, and now I’m finally ready to share. I couldn’t decide where to start – it was overwhelming!- at first, but decided that it was probably best to just go in order, oldest to newest. So, without further ado, I have a little recap of the weekend before we went on vacay, which was a weekend of important firsts.

Ezra’s First Ride in the Car:

And, she did pretty well! We took her in the BLUQT2, which is my 2000 Blue Subaru Impreza. Adam sat in back while I drove. Where were we going? To another important first: Her first playdate with another dog. My friend/coworker, Alyson, invited Ezra and us over to hang out at her new apartment and meet Hank, her boarder collie. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this because, within the first five minutes, Ezra attacked Alyson’s cat, thus causing any thoughts about taking pictures to fly out the window as Adam and I nearly fainted with fear and embarrassment at Ezra’s display. She did well with Hank, but, apparently, small animals are not her thing!

After all that stress, Adam and I decided on another first: Our first trip to Mahalo Yogurt. Mahalo is a self-serve frozen yogurt joint that opened recently within walking distance of our apartment – score! I’ve been asking Adam to take me for weeks, and he didn’t seem particularly interested – silly boy!

This little cup of heaven had Peanut Butter and Cake Batter froyos, topped with strawberries, rainbow sprinkles, yogurt chips, mochi, and a few cheesecake bites. It was everything I dreamed it would be, and more! Adam enjoyed it as well. In fact, we liked it so much, we returned on Sunday for more:
Hers and His.
Mine had some PB and some Original Tart froyos. The PB side was topped with some almonds, yogurt chips, and mochi – I had never had mochi before and now I’m obsessed. I still don’t quite know how to describe the flavor, but I love the gummy texture! The Original Tart side had some strawberries and blueberries, and some coconut topped off the cup!
Adam totally shamed me, as his just looks like a party! I’m not sure of everything that’s in there, but I can definitely spot some Oreo crumbles, chocolate and yogurt chips, and rainbow sprinkles on top of some Chocolate and Cake Batter froyos. Holy yum!
Dinner provided another important first: The first time I fell in love with Laughing Cow cheese wedges. How in the world did I live so long without these in my life? So creamy, rich, delicious, and perfectly-sized!
It fit in perfectly with my salad. Since then, I’ve discovered that they also fit in perfectly with eggs, pasta, sandwiches, oats, and any other meal you might enjoy with cheese (which, for me, is allll meals).
Dessert was the first time I combined a pear with some pumpkin pie yogurt (yogurt, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice).
Complete with extra cinnamon on the pear.  Served alongside a home-made Black Russian a la Adam.
Apparently, the apple was not enough and I was still craving something sweet. But, I wasn’t hungry! The solution? A sweet night cap :-)
Sunday morning, Adam and I ventured out with Ezra on our normal walk to Gib’s. However, rather than getting my usual egg-and-cheese combo, I decided on another first:
A spinach-parmesan bagel with (lite) veggie cream cheese, tomato, red onion, green pepper, lettuce, lox, and black pepper. I rarely get bagels with lox outside of the house because they serve it as a bagel sandwich, which is simply the wrong way to serve lox and bagels. SO, I got to work reassembling:
This was not my first time ;-) What can I say? Bagels with lox are served open-faced, it’s just the way it’s done.
Sunday night’s dinner did not fit in with the “firsts” theme, but it’s certainly still worth mentioning:
Spinach topped with edamame, cucumber, red pepper, white onion, tomatoes, black beans, salsa, and another Laughing Cow (I told you I’m obsessed).
What can I say? I’m a tried-and-true save-the-best-for-last pleasure-delayer. And I like it that way!
 
The Grateful Living: Another important “first”: Yesterday, one of my very best friends from high school, Meghan Murphy,  and I reconnected. Basically, over the last year, I had neglected our friendship and not made it the priority that it needed to be – in short, I was not a good friend. But, Megh has graciously decided to give me another chance, and I could not be more thankful – and happy! – to have her back in my life. :-) I will certainly not be taking our friendship for granted any longer.
Ahhhhhh, it feels so good to be back! Oh, and in my absence, I have been reading up on my favorite blogs, and I need to call attention to this post from Gena. It is an extremely eloquent and interesting post (as per usual!) on a topic that is near-and-dear to many of us: A love of eating. I can certainly count myself among those who love to eat. Quite a bit, in fact. When I was heavier, I remember feeling insecure about my love for food, not wanting to admit it; now, I openly admit my love for healthy food everyday – in the blog, in the office, at home, etc. Sometimes, I still feel slightly insecure about the fact that my plate is often more full than Adam’s, but I’ve learned to embrace my love for food, especially now that it’s all “the good stuff” – healthy, whole foods. Can’t get enough of that! ;-)
Have a great day/night! Happy Thursday!
Emma

No, not that… It’s Go for the Goal! Wednesday! :-)

Quote of the Day: * Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got. * ~ Janis Joplin

Good afternoon!

I’m almost ashamed to be writing this post, as I am SO behind of posting food pics and recaps of all the fun stuff I’ve done in the last week and a half! It’s terrible. For now, I will tell you that Adam and I had a fantabulous time on the east coast – the reason I wasn’t blogging? Because I was too busy soaking up every minute of visiting time with my family and friends. :-) Readjusting to life in the FC always takes me a day or two, but the mountain of work I had waiting for me helped! (Ezra and the Bimmer helped Adam cope ;-)) I promise that I will be back into the swing of things soon and get some good posts up! For now, we’ll stick with the simple…

Go for the Goal! Wednesday

Review:

  • Fitness: Run four miles continuously. Mission: Not Accomplished. With all the traveling, I came down to the wire on when I would have time to do this. So, Monday, I attempted to run four miles. I made it about .6 miles in when my right shin started hurting. I stopped, stretched, and kept going, but by 1.25 miles, I was hurtin’! I don’t know what that’s about, but I *was* wearing old sneakers instead of my newer running ones, so maybe that did it? I’m not sure. But, I tried, so I’m not beating myself up too much over this!
  • Diet: Sip Slowly. I’ve made some definite improvements in this, and I want to keep at it – I’m moving this to ongoing!
  • Blogging: Re-Post 10 Pictures. This did not get done. This will remain next week’s goal.
  • Personal: Be kind. I have to be honest – I didn’t make a conscious effort to do this. That’s not to say that I was un-kind, but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to do so. I would leave this as my personal goal for next time, but I have something else in mind, so I’m going to move this one to ongoing for now, and make it an official goal again sometime in the future!

New Goals!

  • Fitness: Be present. Last week, I was talking to Landry about Bikram and told her I was nervous to go with her because she has mad yoga skills and I do not. Landry responded by telling me that it’s not about being “good” or “bad,” it’s about being present in the moment and doing what you can. This was very cool advice, both for yoga and life in general. I often use my workout time as a chance to plan my day, think over other things in my life, etc – it just seems like a good time to do this! But, Landry’s advice resonated with me, and made me realize that I might enjoy shutting my brain off from the rest of the world while I’m working out, and I may even get more out of my workout. So, for at least 5 days in the next two weeks, I’m going to make a conscious effort to tune out other things and just concentrate on my workout. We’ll see how it goes…
  • Diet: Play With Your Food. As I mentioned, I’ve been doing a little experiment with my food, which involves upping my protein and fat intake and lowering my carbs at breakfast. To be clear, this is NOT in an effort to lose weight, but simply to gain better control over my blood sugars (I’m a Type 1 Diabetic). Plus, playing with my food is fun! I like seeing how my body responds! So, I’m going to keep this going for two more weeks and see what comes up!
  • Blogging: Re-Post 10 Pictures. It’s necessary to repeat this one (see above).
  • Personal: Research careers. This morning, Susan and I had our weekly coffee date (LOVE these!) and were talking about our futures. I’m currently in a job that I like, but have no real direction in my career – I know I want to be in this field, but I don’t know where I want to go! Susan, on the other hand, has a great job that she’s very good at, but she knows she doesn’t want to do it forever – she just (also)doesn’t know what she wants to do! So, I’m going to make it my mission over the next two weeks to find some sort of career guide or career aptitude test or something that will get the wheels turning in a productive direction and keep us from having the same “What should we do with our lives?” convo over and over. (I told you I’d get on it, Susan! ;-)) (Note: This ties in nicely to one of my New Year’s Resolutions – how convenient!)

On-going: This is a list of ongoing goals – it grows when I move new goals down to this section… I wonder how long it will get! I will also remove some if I think they no longer need to be on here, but will make sure that I note when I do.

  • Fitness: Mix up my workouts at the gym. Write things down at the gym.Bring water to the gym.
  • Diet: Listen to my body. Try one new recipe a week. Prepare a plate instead of mindlessly snacking. Eat more calcium from food. Stop counting calories. Don’t eat it unless you want it. Eat when I’m hungry. Sip Slowly.
  • Blogging: Remember that it’s about creative writing. Use blog to check-in on progress with my goals. Take good pictures of food! Keep it positive. Take more pictures with people!
  • Personal: Taking time-outs when I’m angry. Get enough sleep. Keep it positive and focus on the BIG picture. Give thanks every day. Be kind.

The Grateful Living: So many things. Right now, I’m grateful to Susan for waking up at the crack of dawn every Wednesday to meet me for coffee at 7. I know she’s not really a morning person, and though she claims she’d have to get up anyway to move her car, I would be willing to wager that she goes back to bed after doing so on all other mornings. ;-) Our coffee dates are the highlights of my weekday mornings and I look forward to it every week! She always brings a smile to my face.

Have a great day!

Emma

Hello, blog world!

I returned to the FC, safe and sound, around 11 last night. Thank goodness we decided to take today off! After a trip to the gym, some grocery shopping, and picking up Ms. Ezra, I shall be making a full return to the blog world with lots and lots o’ pictures to come, including the results of the Play with Your Food Experiment and some of our east coast exploits :-)

Have a great day!

Emma

Quote of the Day: * We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once. * ~ Calvin Coolidge

Good evening!

I saw this quote earlier and it absolutely applied to my feelings this evening. I just uploaded a boatload of photos from my camera and I have SO many fun things to blog about! Which is fabulous, except for the fact that I don’t have boatloads of time with which to post – lots to do before we leave for the east! We’re both getting pretty excited 8-) Anyway, I decided that even though I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do, I could do something – it’ll all get posted eventually!

So, I’m starting with the rest of Fridays in Food, which got a little messed up because my blood sugar plummeted unexpectedly, causing several glucose tablets and dried banana to be consumed, away from the watchful eye of the camera. This is what I did capture on camera:

x2. What can I say? I love my edamame!

I didn't eat all of this by myself. Adam and I shared. 60/40. ;-)

An apple smothered in AB and cinnamon.

Sweet potato, yogurt, agave, vanilla, cinnamon. Yum.

Dinner never exactly happened – it was more an evening of continuous eating. And it was scrumptious! We also watched Monster, which I’d seen before. I forgot how bad I felt at the end of that movie! I mean, it’s incredibly well done and the acting is superb, but OUCH! But, it did lead to a fun discussion about personal responsibility and the circumstances into which one is born – my boyfriend is so interesting <3 Then, we recovered with an episode of The Office. Then, we crashed out. It was glorious!

I wish I had more time, but this lady needs to eat! More to come, PLUS dinners at Sagami, The Pelican Restaurant, Matt’s Red Rooster Grill, Lemon Basil Vodka Gimlets a la Jebby, eats a la Mama D and Pops, a TJ’s trip, AND the wedding!! Wow, I’m WAY too excited. And, dude, it’s going to take me forever to get all these up – so much good food, so little time! ;-)

The Grateful Living: I’m grateful to Adam, for putting up with me while I determine if I’m a dog person. He’s a trooper ;-)

Have a great night!

Emma

Good evening!

I meant to publish this with pictures of food, but I’ve had a hectic – and very enjoyable – weekend and haven’t had a chance! But, I needed to publish it now because it’s related to tomorrow, so…

Just a(nother) Random Thought: Play With Your Food

For those who aren’t familiar with these books/calendars, they’re pretty freakin’ cool. My mom gets one every year and it’s always so fun to look at! But, the point of this is not to promote these products, regardless of how neat they are. The point is to discuss the benefits of playing with your food. As in, trying new things, taking risks, mixing things up, etc.

This week, I read a post from Leah, a post from Heather, and a post from Gena that all got me thinking about switching things up a little bit. In Gena’s post, she talks about eating a lighter, less carb-heavy breakfast. In Heather’s, she talks about eating full-fat foods and how, when she doesn’t start the day with carbs, she has fewer carb-alicious cravings all day. And, in Leah’s, she talks about Heather’s post, and agrees with her that eating full fats keeps her full longer.

These posts all resonated with me because my doctor recommended that I start trying to do a higher-protein, lower-carb breakfast to help with my AM blood sugars. Basically, our blood sugar naturally spikes in the morning and chowing down on a big bowl of carbs does not help to control blood sugar levels. While this is not exactly life-threatening and can be controlled in other ways, this would help. (I want to be really clear here, for both my readers and my mother, that not following this recommendation would not have any serious health implications – I have excellent control in terms of my diabetes and my numbers are pretty fabulous – this would just be the proverbial icing on the cake.)

My doctor has actually recommended this in the past and I’ve promptly ignored it, as life without my oats is not a life I wish to live. However, this time, with the coincidental timing of these posts, I started to give it some thought. What if I started eating a higher-protein, higher-full-fat breakfast and then having oats for lunch when my blood sugar is more stable? I began picturing eggs with black beans, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, hummus, etc. Big bowls of cottage cheese, fruit, and almond butter. Chia seed pudding. Salads with beans, eggs, avocado. Maybe I’d even hop on the juicing train. Hmmm, those breakfast don’t sound so bad, huh? Then, I thought about bringing oats for lunch – it’d be a little bit tricky, as we all know I enjoy bottomless bowls of oats stuffed with banana, dried fruit, coconut, cottage cheese, chia seeds, almond butter, and anything else I can find. But, I think it would be doable. And we have a kitchen at the office, complete with a stove and a pot (I may need to bring my own wooden spoon!). And, eating oats for lunch might have another benefit – generally, I eat breakfast around 6:30, which normally holds me over until at least 11, if not 11:30 or 12. So, if I was to eat them for lunch around 12, if they have the same staying power, that could get me through the rest of the day, thus eliminating the need to pack lots of snacks (which, incidentally, would be a nice balance, given that packing oats may be slightly labor-intensive!).

Hmmm. This all sounded surprisingly doable AND sensible. Monday is President’s Day, but I am working because I’d rather take the following Monday off when we come back from the east coast. SO, I’ve decided that Monday will be the Play With Your Food Experiment. Nobody else will be at the office, so it makes for the perfect opportunity to make oats at the office without the scrutiny of my coworkers and questions about what the hell I’m doing. It also just dawned on me that if making oats is a pain in the butt, I could always switch it up some days to include breakfast cookies, overnight oats, and breakfast bowls. As for needing a speedy breakfast in the morning – eggs won’t take much longer than oats to make, especially if I use the microwave method, bowls of cottage cheese and fruit are easy, and a salad can be mostly prepared the night before. I think the biggest barrier to this challenge is that I just want my oats in the morning – it’s half the reason I wake up! But, I’ve learned many times before that my mind does not always know more than my body. So, I’m going to push past that mental block and give it a try. We’ll see how it goes ;-)

Have a great night – I’m hanging with my hubby! :-)

Emma

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.