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!

I Haven’t Told You Lately

First let’s look at today’s eating habits.

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Half Bagel with Peanut Butter, Banana, and some specs of coconut butter from a sample pack.

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Lunch was a leftover salad from Whole Foods with additional spring mix and Gorgonzola and an apple.  The salad had a couple different bean salads underneath the lettuce and veggie mixture.

I had a Cashew Cookie Larabar for my after-school tutoring snack, but no picture was taken.

For dinner, I attempted to defrost red beans from the freezer, but upon opening the container I realized, well Chris realized it was gumbo.  I was in the mood for some traditional Monday Red Beans so I ordered take-out from Come Back Inn instead.

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I gave Chris one of the sausage links and ate most of the beans and rice plus one piece of bread and a small serving of potato salad.  These hit the spot after a liberal dash or two or three of Crystal hot sauce was added.

Lately, I’ve been uninspired. I am uninspired to do my day job—teach with just one nine weeks left, but I’m doing it. I am uninspired to cook—lots more eating out has been happening with SOME cooking. I am uninspired to work out—I gained a few pounds and have been working out only 3 days a week. I am uninspired with blog writing—posts have been few and far between.

I am not quite sure where this lull has come from, but I am trying to get back on track. So, I figured I’d start by sharing a few things I haven’t told you lately.

1. Remember when I stopped biting my nails back in September, well I started biting them again. 

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I am trying to cut the habit again and may need to go get that gel polish put back on since it lasted for about three weeks.  Please pardon the dry skin shown above. 😉

2. I eat my apples like my dad eats his rib bones.  Oh wait, I eat my ribs like that too when I eat ‘em!

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I really gnaw on it ‘til all the flesh is gone. Now I don’t do that at work, but in the privacy of my own home that’s how I roll.

3. I have a serious addiction to chips (pita or tortilla) and hummus.DSC00797

This container is just after two days.  Whoops!  Maybe the husband helped a tad, but not by much.  I have always had a much larger love affair with salty foods than the sweet stuff.  Give me fries; give me chips.  Well, you can have the fries just don’t eat my chips!  Seriously, I need to work on self control with the chips and dips. 

4. I bought this book back in January and began to read it.  But…

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I have yet to get past Chapter 1.  I have picked it up about 5 times and just can’t get into it.  It references many German words and places and it just doesn’t capture my attention—so far.  I may still try to read it, but I picked up Water for Elephants at Target on Sunday and it looks a little more my speed.

5. The past several Fridays I have attempted to eat “Meat-Free on Friday.”  I do well with breakfast and lunch, but then dinner time comes and I eat meat.  Since I am Catholic and the Lenten season has arrived, I will be sure to make that sacrifice on Fridays up until Easter Sunday.  So, here is my eats of the first “Meat-Free Friday” in Lent.

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That’s a Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burger in case you were questioning my Meat-Free Friday.

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Gotta get going now because The Bachelor Finale is on.  My guess is for Chantell, but ya never know.

Little Miss Muffet Sat on Her Tuffet

Eating Her Curds…

Bean Curds That Is.

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Okay, okay, when my husband read the menu to Little Chinese Kitchen over the phone as I was sitting in 5:00 traffic trying to get home this evening, I honestly had no clue what I was ordering when I said I would take the Vegetable Bean Curd Soup.  So once I got home with our take-out, I popped open my quart of soup expecting to find some sort of bean soup and to my surprise there were no beans per se, but I found vegetables and tofu floating about the brothy liquid.  I proceeded to google bean curd on my iphone to ensure I had the right soup and found that bean curds are nothing more than tofu—curds separated and pressed from the whey in soy milk.  Subsequently, I realized I had in fact eaten bean curds before just never knowing it by any other name.  I ate half of the quart and plan on having the rest for lunch tomorrow.

Additionally, I wanted moo shu chicken, but when I picked up the food the lady said moo shu pork was ordered, not chicken.  Chris said he ordered the chicken, but the woman sounded busy while ordering so maybe she misunderstood.  Luckily, it was mainly stir fried cabbage with small amounts of pork.  I topped two of the thin pancake sheets with the stir fry mixture and a drizzle of hoisin sauce.

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Wrapped up like a burrito.

I have way too much moo shu pork leftover; hopefully Chris will eat it later in the week.

As for breakfast, I have yet to get a new jar of peanut butter, so have been using almond butter (which is about gone also) and Peanut Butter & Company Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter. 

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Really, this Dark Chocolate PB is not my favorite and I could do without, but it served the purpose topped with half a plum and cinnamon.  The other half of the plum was consumed on the spot.

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Lunch was thoroughly enjoyable today.  I ate a turkey wrap with reduced fat vegetable cream cheese and sliced celery pieces.  On the side, I enjoyed my fave Fage Greek Yogurt with Honey.

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Let’s see, I also snacked on a Trader Joe’s Nutty Chocolate Granola Bar after school and just finished up a mug of hot chocolate.  I shared my snack bars at the meeting I hosted after school today and they were a hit.  The Kind Bar seemed to be the one everyone preferred.

bars Until next time, good night!

Don’t Choke on the Artichoke

It’s getting late so I am going to try and make this snappy. 

This A.M. I started with a quick breakfast because I woke up a few minutes late since my husband failed to wake me up before he left for work.  Normally he tells me bye and I wake up. (He claims he said goodbye and I responded, but I have no recollection of it.)  Anyway, I had a slice of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter, sliced banana, and a handful of blueberries.

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Lunch consisted of a delicious salad composed of tender greens, grape tomatoes, yellow and red bell pepper, sliced scallions, reduced fat colby stick, rotisserie chicken pieces, and peach salsa for dressing.  I had a Fage Honey on side and I added a couple of spoons of the plain greek yogurt to my salad before digging in.

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On my way home after my meeting, I munched on this pecan pie Larabar all thanks to my sister for snagging me one when we stopped at the grocery on Sunday afternoon.

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For dinner I ran over to Fisherman’s Cove Seafood Market to get some fresh fish to prepare at home.  I knew I wanted to have roasted asparagus as a side, but I also picked up  a stuffed artichoke to share with Chris. 

I cooked the mahi filets loosely following a recipe for a topping involving miracle whip, Worcestershire, dijon, bell pepper, scallions, and cayene.  However, I wasn’t at all happy with the dressing so I won’t be sharing that recipe.

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As for the star of the show, the stuffed artichoke made an appearance.

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Just in case you want to stuff your own artichokes, here are the ingredients.

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And for those who have never eaten a stuffed artichoke which is actually a type of flower…

How to Eat a Stuffed Artichoke:

1. Pull a petal from the flower.

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2. Put the entire petal in your mouth crumb side up and scrape the entire thing with your top teeth pulling the petal out of your mouth.  (Don’t eat the petal.  Just scrape the soft top layer from the top with the crumb mixture.)

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3. Discard the scraped petal.

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4. Once all of the petals are removed you get to the choke or hairy covering over the heart of the artichoke.

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5. Peel off the entire choke layer to reveal the edible heart.

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6. Now that does not look all that appetizing, but it can be eaten in its entirety.  It contains the most flavor of the artichoke.  Many people only scrape the petals and stuffing and bypass the nutritious artichoke heart altogether.

In this area, I only see stuffed whole artichokes at seafood restaurants, po-boy shops, etc.  However, no stuffing is necessary.  Artichokes can be steamed and the petals can be dipped in lemon butter or vinaigrette prior to scraping the leaves.  Hungry Girl sent out a recipe last year for the steamed artichoke which can be seen here.  I made it and preferred the lemon butter dip over the salsa- yogurt dip she suggests.

Have you eaten artichoke before that did not come from a jar or can? 

Cows in a Pot

There is a small joke between me, my mom, and my sister that I think they will never let me live down.  It revolves around coming up with a title.  Many moons ago when I was in middle school, Mom, Sis, and I were sitting around our kitchen table trying to come up with a winning title for our annual elementary school fair/fundraiser.  The fair is a “Cochon de Lait” where whole pigs are roasted hanging above a fire pit.  Each year students were given the opportunity to come up with a theme  that would be put on t-shirts, signs, etc.  Mom and Sis were spewing out titles left and right.  Past titles included “The Times Pigayune,” which is a play off of the local newspaper, The Times Picayune and “Squeal of Fortune” to name a couple.  My very intelligent self got really excited and shouted out “Pigs in a Pot.”  Needless to say, they and I still laugh about my dry, uncreative title revolving around pigs being cooked in a pot although the pigs are actually roasted.

On another note, I actually did cook my cow err beef roast in a pot on Sunday night for the first time.  I never knew pot roast on the stovetop was so simple.  I have always opted for the slow cooker or oven when cooking roasts in the past.  Atop the roast was the directions for browning the roast and simmering it in a small amount of liquid until tender.  Below is what I did.

Pot Roast

2.5 pounds beef chuck roast

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste

1 can beef broth (reduced sodium)

1 can of french onion soup (reduced sodium)

Directions:  Heat oil over medium heat.  Meanwhile, season roast with salt, pepper, etc.  Place roast in pot to brown on all sides about 4-5 minutes per side.  Drain any oil from pot before continuing.  Next pour in broth and soup.  Cover, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 2.5-3 hours until tender.  Baste with liquid periodically during cooking.

The super simple pot roast turned out fantastic served over brown rice and peas.  Chris and I ate the roast for dinner Sunday and I just had some for dinner tonight.

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For my other meals today I enjoyed a whole wheat english muffin with banana, peanut butter and cinnamon + chai.

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Lunch included some Sante Fe Ravioletti Soup defrosted from frozen.  I also had a satsuma from Sis’s tree.

On my way to the gym I tried out a new Larabar I purchased at Academy Sports and Outdoors this past Saturday.  I found the chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar and it tasted much like cookie dough.  And I love the short, natural ingredient list.

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My cardio workout included 30 minutes on the hard Precor elliptical, 5 minutes on the bike, and 5 minutes on the stairmaster.  I concluded with some stretching and abdominal floor work.  Now I am going to chill and perhaps read some of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that I just picked up at Wal-Mart along with some prizes for our 100th student through the halls on the 100th Day of School.  Phew!! I made it through another hundred school days.  Only 80 more to go!

Do you have any funny anecdotes to share?

Indecisiveness

I was indecisive about breakfast…

I couldn’t decide between an egg sandwich or peanut butter.

So I ate exceptionally late (more like lunch) and went with both.

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I was indecisive about gift buying…

So I went to three stores for one person and in the end made some purchases.  But I’m still unsure about the gifts.

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I was indecisive about eating lunch since I ate such a late breakfast…

So I ate a Cherry Pie Larabar and a banana instead.

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I was indecisive about what toppings to put on my pizza…

So I put them all.

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Spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, mozzarella—which resulted in tasty but soggy pizza. 😦

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I went back for a second slice.

I was indecisive about going to the gym…

So I wore my work out clothes all day and ultimately decided not to go.  Instead I rented a movie.

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While snacking on a treat from a coworker called White Trash

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You might know it as Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies.  Basically it is Chex cereal coated in a mixture of peanut butter, butter, and melted chocolate; then dusted with powdered sugar.  It is very sweet for those with a sweet tooth.

Have you been indecisive about anything lately?