Blogger Envy

Reading numerous blogs each day can cause one to be envious of others. I’m sure it happens to many of us.  Kailey over at Snack-Face wrote a post regarding this same topic just the other day.  I am not going to go into great depth as to whose lives I find to be close to perfect  because I know their “perfect worlds” are a mere fallacy  made up in my mind and the grass is not always greener on the other side.  However, I will tell you that I do envy the foods and the activities that other bloggers eat and do in their day to day lives.

Some of those include, but are not limited to:

~Adding chia seeds to my yogurt or oatmeal.  I have yet to do that because I can’t find those things anywhere.  Maybe I should just go buy a ch-ch-chia (pet).

~Taking an exercise class like zumba or yoga or body pump.  I am just too darn intimidated and I’ve never been a dancer or coordinated in that manner.  Any advice for a novice who is interested in adding some variety to her workout routine?

On the other hand, there are some things I have mimicked  or tried after seeing it on other blogs like…

this morning I made my breakfast smile. 

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I’m telling you I literally smiled back at my plate.  I felt like Tom Hanks with Wilson, the volleyball, there for a minute.

And I had some hot Nutcracker Sweet Tea Holiday Edition with a splash of milk.

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For lunch I added some broccoli slaw to my wrap for some crunch; it was such a nice addition.

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So yeah, I saw the slaw and the muenster cheese on a blog and had to have them.  I added them to my whole wheat wrap along with turkey, mustard, spinach, and sliced roma.  I added a wacked looking nectarine for some sweetness.

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And dinner included another item I saw on a blog, Vodka sauce.  I browned some lean ground beef and added the sauce to heat through.  Spaghetti and fresh baby spinach was topped with the meat sauce.

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Tonight was a first time having Vodka sauce and it was a nice twist on the usual tomato basil sauce.

Finally, I ended the night with another blogger-induced craving–apple crisp.  The crisp was made from sliced apples and granola along with some flavorings and sweeteners, but I didn’t love it so won’t be sharing a recipe.

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Do you find yourself envious of other bloggers?

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Toilet Talk

Hello there! I hope you do not mind my veering away from food for a second, but I really need to get this off my chest while it’s in my head.  It does have something to do with health.  I’m talking about restroom habits, and not particularly about how regular or irregular one may be.  That is not my business, but I will say eating whole grains, fruits, and veggies can help with that sort of problem.  I’m talking more so in the sense of sanitary habits.

 

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I always use those toilet covers when they are available and they are so much more user friendly than covering the seat with strips of toilet paper as Mom taught me to do at a young age, but I never hear other people pulling them from the box in stalls next to me.  What’s up with that?  Do the majority of people squat or do they just not give a darn?  With squatting there is always the risk of missing which someone might have to sit on later.  No thanks!  Or, as in my case, I freeze up if I squat and I end up not being able to go.  Thank goodness, we don’t have these here in the U.S.—squat toilets.

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Second–really people, wash your nasty hands!  That grosses me out to no end when I see people walk out of the bathroom after using the restroom without washing their hands.  This happens all.the.time. at the gym nonetheless (where people are concerned with health).  I do not want to touch the cardio or weight machines after you just took a p*** or s*** for that matter and failed to wash.  It takes all of 20 seconds or the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.  I learned that a while back in a medication training for when I have to administer medication to students at work.  Well, I guess everyone was not as fortunate to have a dad to fuss them if they didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.  That guy raised me right!

Done with that!  Let’s talk food now.

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I wasn’t feeling like cooking this a.m. so I had a quick cereal bowl-mixture of Kashi Heart to Heart, Kashi Vanilla Island Squares, Ground Flaxseed, handful of praline pecan granola, banana, and cup of low fat milk.

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Cup A Mango Green Tea

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Lunch was a homemade lunchable with sliced turkey, laughing cow wedges, Triscuits, on the verge to being bad celery stalks, and a nectarine that was traded out for the apple pictured below.

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After work I headed straight to the gym munching on this Almond Joy of a Bar below in the car.

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This honestly felt like I was eating a candy bar—sweet, coconutty texture, almonds, mmmm.  I didn’t miss the chocolate either.

After 45 sweaty minutes on the elliptical and stair climber I stretched, did some abdominals, and headed home with intentions to cook dinner.  To my surprise, I arrived home to a meal cooked by my husband.  Oh, how thankful am I!  I didn’t have to cook.

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Chris baked a maple and brown sugar pre-seasoned pork tenderloin.  These Hormel tenderloins are easy, lean, and delish plus they were buy one get one free so I have another in the freezer!  Sides included boxed mac~n~cheese and steamed peas.  Dinner is always better when I am not the one cooking it!  Thanks again to my hubby—much appreciated!

I’m off to rest!  This time change has got me feeling off the past three mornings, but I do like those lighting effects hitting my dinner plate above.  Night!

Happy Groundhog’s Day

I’m so thankful that Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow today because it was a freezing cold winter day and it was hard to bear, so I am ready for the early spring weather.  Do you ever feel like you are living much like the movie Groundhog’s Day?

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I often feel like my days are consumed with the same old stuff!  Wake up, eat, get ready for work, drive the long drive to work, teach, tutor, drive home, cook, eat, sleep, repeat.  Thank goodness for the weekend to break up the monotonous work days.

Actually breakfast was slightly out of the ordinary—grits topped with a fried egg.

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Today’s lunch involved comfort in a bowl—lentil, sweet potato, bacon soup minus the crumbled bacon or yogurt dollop.  I had a banana for some sweetness and since I missed it in the form of my usual breakfast oatmeal or pb and banana sammie.

After work and tutoring I headed home to snack on some pita chips and hummus with the husband.  And then began on dinner—smothered green beans and baked pork chops.

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Smothered Green Beans

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 chopped onion

1 lb. fresh green beans (stems removed)

1 can diced tomatoes with celery, green pepper, and onion

Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion and sauté over medium low until tender.

2. Add green beans, canned tomatoes, and seasonings.

3. Add 1/2 can water to pot.  Stir well.

4. Simmer on low for 30 minutes stirring occasionally until beans are tender.

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The pork chops were seasoned with salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and baked at 350* for 40 minutes.

Exercise has been MIA since Saturday.  (Sidenote:  I guess no one is interested in playing Mr. Tim’s Scolf game since no one commented.  By the way, if you search Scolf on Facebook, there is a page dedicated to it.)  Monday and today were late days at work for tutoring and yesterday the weather was stormy and I just wanted to get home and not end up in flooded waters stuck somewhere.  Tomorrow it shall resume; work out clothes will be brought to work.  After all, they are already packed in my gym bag.

How do you overcome that Groundhog’s Day feeling?  Do you do extra-curricular activities during the middle of the week or take it easy and stick with basic everyday activities?

When Words Don’t Come Out…

…They’re probably best unsaid.  So I’ll leave this post short.

One of my favorite breakfasts—toast with peanut butter, cottage cheese, banana slices, and sweet potato pumpkin butter

DSC00885 DSC00888 DSC00883 Lunch (unpictured) was a Subway 6 inch turkey sandwich dressed on wheat with all the veggies offered except cucumber and onions with honey mustard.  I saved the salty cardboard Baked Lay’s for a pre-cardio snack.

After work I headed to the gym where I started on the exhausting stair stepper for 22 minutes.  I then hopped on the elliptical for a 30 minutes session.  The workout concluded with 2 minutes on the bicycle until the stretching unit was available so I could stretch (my achy hip in particular).

On the way home from the gym I picked up Come Back Inn for Chris and me.  I decided on the spinach and artichoke soup and a small chef salad with drizzled creamy Italian dressing.

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I did have a couple bites of the husband’s meatball po’boy as well.

Shortly after dinner my sweet tooth was prevalent, so I satisfied it with a date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin heated with a spoon of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter smeared on top.  Looks like a cupcake with chocolate icing and tastes like one too!

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Bananas Cause Cellulite

Truth or Myth—Revealed!

Someone recently told my mother “bananas cause cellulite” as she sat at work eating her banana.  In my quest to find any truth in this statement, I found the opposite to be true.  In fact, bananas can help in detoxifying the body by increasing blood circulation and ridding the body of unwanted toxins.  Perhaps the woman got bananas confused with something else, but it has not been found to to cause cellulite.  Myth–revealed!

I know bananas are a staple in my diet; I eat them on a daily basis unless I run out, but I certainly do not plan on giving them up any time soon.  They provide the body with ample amounts of potassium, which aids the body in regulating blood circulation.  Additionally, the fiber content in bananas can help with normalizing digestion.  There are so many more advantages including preventing stomach ulcers, reducing kidney cancer in women, boosting moods, and promoting bone health.  

Although bananas get some criticism  about containing too much sugar, the benefits far outweigh the bad.  So eat your bananas, people! 😉

Unfortunately, I was all out of bananas this morning, so I ate a sliced peach in a parfait of sorts.

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I layered greek yogurt, cinnamon and oats granola, peach, raspberry preserves, a drizzle of honey, and a few cinnamon almonds.  Sweet, cold, satisfying!

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With Hot Chai Tea

Today’s lunch included sister’s white beans with sausage, pita chips for dipping, and an apple.

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After work, I headed to the grocery to pick up some staples + ingredients for tonight’s dinner.  Bananas and milk were needed desperately.  Okay, maybe the Talenti Coconut Gelato was not needed, but it looked so good.

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I immediately had to try out this new yogurt.

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It had cherry chunk pieces in it; I wished it had cake chunks instead, but it was tasty.

For dinner tonight, I made pasta with roasted vegetables, feta, and Italian Turkey Sausage.

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Feta Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Sausage

Ingredients:

12 oz. vegetable radiatore (tri-colored pasta)

5 links of Italian Turkey Sausage

Handful of Fresh Spinach

5 Basil Leaves, fresh

Approx. 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1 zucchini, sliced

20 grape tomatoes

4 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup reserved pasta water

salt and pepper

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400*.  Drizzle tomatoes and zucchini slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat and put in single layer on baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes in oven.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is boiling, add a teaspoon of oil to sauté pan.  Heat to medium high.  Cook sausage links for five minutes on medium turning periodically.  Cover and reduce heat; cook 5-6 minutes longer or until 170* inner temperature is reached and sausage is cooked through.  Let sit 5 minutes longer and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.  Before draining pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for later.  Place spinach and basil in colander; drain pasta in colander to allow spinach and basil to wilt from steamed pasta and water.   Return pasta to pot and add spinach, basil, sausage to pot.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 cup of reserve water to sauté pan used for cooking sausage; scrape any brown bits from pan and stir.  Pour water mixture over the pasta.  Add feta cheese and mix until combined.  Carefully stir in roasted vegetables.  Heat on low fire until warmed through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

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Collecting spinach and basil from garden

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My final opinion—I did not like the bites of whole leaves of basil.  I should have chopped that up into smaller pieces, but the dish was still yummy and not too complicated to cook.

Do you fear any foods that are thought to be healthy by most?

Backtrack Tuesday + Pork Loin Chop with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

Yesterday was quite eventful on my day off from work.  I had off due to Election Day.  Mid-morning my sister invited me to work out with her husband, Duke, whom is the personal trainer of The Duke Academy.  After a quick breakfast I met my sister at the training facility.

DSC00158 Peanut Butter and Banana on Slice of Whole Wheat Bread

Duke’s training program is hard core (similar to the work outs done on Biggest Loser) as his normal clientele includes college and professional athletes in addition to local children and adults.  After about twenty minutes into our workout, which felt like death from the start, as my sister and I together flipped this gargantuan tire I felt a muscle pull in my back.  I knew I could not continue on with moving the monstrosity of a tire which I stated to my sister and the trainers.  They did not believe me until I was brought to nearly tears.  I was then assisted with doing some not so lady-like stretches by Duke’s assistant trainer, Nat.   Needless to say, I am injured and out of commission as far as working out for the rest of this week for sure.

The rest of my day was spent with my sister and her family.  We ran a few errands, and headed to Michelle’s house for lunch.

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Turkey, Mustard, Onion, Tomato on Toasted Wheat Sammie + Celery and Salsa for Dipping

Then I spent an hour or so lounging on her couch with Baby Breelyn to rest my back.

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Shortly thereafter I arose to eat a snack just before dinner was ready.

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A Sliver of Pound Cake

And finally dinner was ready.  Michelle cooked some pulled BBQ Chicken in the Slow Cooker to have on wheat buns. 

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To make this she put six boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot with chopped onion, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  After cooking on high for 5 hours, she shredded the tender chicken and added a bottle of BBQ sauce.  It cooked for about an hour more and then it was time for devouring.

On side she served a cucumber salad with Italian dressing and red onion and corn on the cob.

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Seriously, I could get used to having someone else cook for me every night!  Two nights in a row dinner was eaten at my sister’s house and it was tasty.  Thanks Meesh!

Once home I had a craving for some snackage, so I ate a small bowl of granola with a bit of low fat milk which hit the spot and killed my craving.

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Onto today…..it was tough getting out of bed this a.m. with the soreness in my lower back.  Moving slowly, I opted to eat instant oatmeal for breakfast.

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Kashi Instant Oatmeal with Half of Banana and Teaspoon of Peanut Butter Mixed In + Hot Chai

For lunch I actually enjoyed the other half of my leftover, soggy Chicken Caesar salad from Monday’s lunch, which I had left in the fridge in my classroom on Monday.

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I brought a honeycrisp apple from home to add some sweetness.

Knowing I would be unable to hit the gym, I stayed a late at work to get some work done.  Once home I ate the other half of my banana from breakfast and a handful of pita chips with some of my sister’s leftover white beans as a dip.  They are so good and I can’t wait to eat some more for lunch tomorrow.

Finally, I began on dinner after defrosting a pack of pork chops from the freezer.  The chops I used were purchased on sale, bone-in center cut pork loin chops, but I would have preferred boneless.

Tonight’s menu included Pork Loin Chops with a Balsamic Raspberry Reduction, Cauliflower Potato Mash, and Peas.

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Pork Loin Chop with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

4 center cut pork loin chops

Garlic Powder

Dried Rosemary

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of seedless black raspberry preserves

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Season both sides of chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary.  Spray oven proof pan with cooking spray and heat to medium high.  Brown chops on both sides for 3-4 minutes per side.  Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring vinegar, preserves and pinch of salt to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally until reduced by half or desired thickness is reached.  Once chops are browned, put oven-proof pan in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes more until pork reaches 165* or cooked through to desired doneness.  Plate chop and drizzle with the balsamic raspberry reduction before serving.

Cauliflower Potato Mash

1 package frozen cauliflower

1 baking potato

1/4 cup low fat milk

1/3 cup less fat chive and onion cream cheese

Salt and Pepper

Directions:  Cook cauliflower according to package directions.  Peel and chop potato.  Put into boiling water and cook until fork tender.  Drain.  Combine all ingredients plus salt and pepper to taste.  Using a potato masher or electric mixer, mash/whip mixture to desired consistency.

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  The flavor combination of the rosemary and balsamic raspberry worked exceptionally well together.  Also, the one potato mixed into the cauliflower gives all the flavor and texture of mashed potatoes with some added flavor, nutrients, and texture from the cauliflower.  Overall, I was pleased with this meal.  Again, I worry about meats being undercooked so probably tend to overcook it.  Just alter cooking times above to suit your preference or better yet use a meat thermometer.

I’m currently icing my back watching some Criminal Minds.  Cross your fingers my back heals quickly.  If you have any advice on a speedy recovery it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

Personality Symbol Test

On Saturday I talked about the personality symbol test.  Out of square, circle, rectangle, triangle, and zig zag; I’ve always considered myself the triangle.  Here are the descriptions of each:

Square:
Organized and a hard worker, you like structure and rules and dislike situations in which you don’t know what’s expected of you. "Tell me the deadlines and I’ll get the job done," you say — and you deliver. You prefer working alone to teamwork. Logical, you think sequentially — A, B, C, D. You collect loads of data and file it so information is easy to locate. But you have trouble saying, "I’ve got enough information," and making a decision.

Rectangle:
You are a seeker and an explorer, searching for ways in which you want to grow and change. You ask: who am I? what is the world about? You are the most receptive of the five shapes to new learning. You are the only shape that’s not frozen, and you cause your co-workers confusion when you change from day to day. All people go through rectangular periods when they’re in a state of change.

Triangle: A leader, you are decisive and able to focus on the goal. You have confidence in yourself and in your opinions, and you don’t hesitate to tell everyone else the way the world is. You can be dogmatic and shoot from the hip. You like recognition and are delighted to tell people about your accomplishments. You can be self-centered and egotistical. You put stock in status symbols. American business has been run by triangles, and this shape is most characteristic of men.

Circle: You are a people person, the shape with the most empathy, perception and consideration for the feelings of others. You listen and communicate well. You read people and can spot a phony right off. You like harmony and have your greatest difficulties in dealing with conflict and making unpopular decisions. You are easily swayed by other people’s feelings and opinions. You can be an effective manager in an egalitarian workplace, but have difficulty in political environments with a strong hierarchy. If you’re a woman, even if you’re not a circle, some circle traits have been conditioned into you.

Zig-Zag: You are creative, a "what if" person who’s always thinking of new ways to do something. Your mind never stops and you do cognitive leaps — from A straight to F. You see the forest and miss the trees. You don’t like highly structured environments. You don’t tolerate the mundane well and have a short attention span. If you don’t get excitement at work, you’ll cause it elsewhere in your life.

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I agree with the fact that I am a leader, not a follower and am confident in my ability to teach my students, but egotistical and self-centered do not suit my personality in my opinion. 

As for my daily meals, I did not do a very good job of capturing eats today.  Breakfast began with PB and Banana Sammie with some hot chai.

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Quickly Made Sandwich

Snack included half of a KIND Bar and some coffee.

Lunch was at a local po’boy sandwich shop near my work.  Today was staff development day, so we were given an hour lunch and able to get out for a short time.  I ordered the grilled chicken Caesar salad and only ate half. I may have the rest on Wednesday when I return from my day off tomorrow.

Some teachers also threw a third grader teacher a bridal shower.  She was showered with gifts.  We also had cake and ice cream sundaes with chocolate, whip cream, nuts, and strawberry sauce. 

After work I went to my sister’s house to visit and eat dinner—white beans and rice!

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Dinner was so delicious.  My two year old nephew kept coming back to me for more; they were that good!

I may or may not have had more cake and ice cream at some point in this day along with too much Halloween candy. ;)  My sweet tooth was raging today.  I’ve heard the more sugars one eats, the more he or she craves it.  I definitely got a taste of that today. 

Tomorrow should be a healthier day.  I have off for election day so I have plenty of time for cooking and exercising.

After reading the descriptors above, which shape do you think best describes you?  I think everyone is a combination of sorts.