The Eyelash Predicament

I know that sounds weird, but I have been having this little predicament within the tiny strands above my eyes.  For a couple of months now, when it turns dark out my eyelashes begin to itch.

mel It doesn’t happen every single night, but more often than not.  What could it be?  Is it my makeup?  It still itches even after I wash my face at night.  Could it be a sign that I am tired?  I took a nap today and they still itch.  Perhaps it is my contacts?  I have been wearing the same type for many years and this just began recently.  Has this ever happened to you or should I be worried? :/

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Today was a lazy day at a math workshop, which left me completely sluggish.  I thought starting with breakfast would be a good thing, but it did not keep me full for long.  My stomach was growling at 9:00.  My unfilling breakfast consisted of:

A Cereal mix of 1/4 c Bear Naked Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola, a few raisins, a small handful of Kashi Vanilla Squares, 4 sliced strawberries, and 1/2 c 1% lowfat milk.  I also had hot chai.

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Since away from school today, my work friend was very nice and offered to treat me to lunch at Boudreaux’s Road House.  I ordered the soup and side salad combo.  Spicy chicken and sausage gumbo was ordered for warmth since the meeting room was so cold with a lettuce, tomato, cucumber, purple onion, and honey mustard simple salad.  Thanks again to Vickie for treating me to lunch!

When I got home I was feeling hungry/snacky so I started with a Satsuma picked from my sister’s tree…

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Followed by a peanut butter on whole wheat tortilla wrap.

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As for dinner, Mom cooked Monday Red Beans on Tuesday, so I ran drove over to her house [with containers in tow].  For some reason, Chris thought Mom omitted sausage from her beans and he picked some up at the store to grill.  So we had lots of sausage, red beans and rice, and cornbread.

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The real deal…

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I could have done without all of the extra sausage, but it was scrumptious nonetheless.

Late Night Planning

Although I am exhausted as it nears 9:00 p.m. each night, my morning goes so much smoother when I plan ahead.  Last night I took some time to prepare for today.

Overnight oats were prepared…breakfast check.

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Of what remains of an empty peanut butter jar, I made my Overnight Oats in a Jar.  The mixture included:

~1/3 c plain 0% greek yogurt

~1/3 c old fashioned oats

~1/3 c lowfat milk

~cinnamon

~1 ripe banana

~less than a tsp of honey

~less than tsp of peanut butter remnants (it looks like more, but it really isn’t much)

~small handful of granola added in the a.m.

All ingredients were mixed up in the jar and set in the fridge til morning.  This may very well be my favorite breakfast.  I had some hot  chai on the side.

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Spring mix, grape tomatoes, celery, strawberries, reduced fat feta cheese with…

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Workout gear was packed…exercise check.

On my way home from work, I stopped at the gym for some cardio.  I started with 18 minutes on the bicycle until one of the ellipticals were available.  I then did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.  To end today’s session, I did ten minutes of stretching and abdominal floor work including basic crunches, planks, leg lifts, and torso twists using the medicine ball.

Red beans simmered on the stovetop for three hours…dinner check.

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Thanks to hubby, the beans were reheated and the brown rice was cooked when I got home from the gym.  I measured out 2/3 cup of brown rice and topped it with a cup of the beans. 

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I did end up going back for a couple more spoonfuls of beans and rice.  They were delish!!

I’m in the mood for some sweetness so hot chocolate is in the making and a perfect accompaniment to this frigid winter night.  Good night!

Queensland Blue

Can you picture it?  An elaborate vacation spot with blue waters and blue skies fit for a queen.  It would be nice ; however, I am actually referring to one of the hundreds of varieties of squash or gourds.  Seriously, who knew they all existed?  Butternut, spaghetti, acorn okay; but little gem, sweet meat, and big max are quite the surprise. 

As I stated last night, I planned on making a squash soup using the vegetable stock I cooked up last night. 

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After an hour of simmering on the stove, I had about 1.5 quarts of sienna colored vegetable stock.  Using my stock and simply yellow summer squash  along with carrots I made some savory soup.  The whole time it was cooking I was not feeling like soup at all due to standing around in the heated kitchen from having the oven on, but once it was finished it turned out nicely and I enjoyed the flavor.

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Squash and Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

5 yellow squash, peeled if desired

2 carrots, peeled

1 tbsp. olive oil

3 slices bacon

1 small onion, diced

1.5 quarts vegetable stock

1 tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Salt and white pepper to taste

3 tbsp. butter, divided

1 tbsp. flour

Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400*.  Chop squash and carrots into large chunks.  Pour olive oil over vegetables to coat and place on baking sheet.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes tossing half way through.  Meanwhile, cook 3 slices of bacon and drain on paper towel.  Crumble once cooled for soup topping if desired.  Using bacon grease sauté onion.  Once onion is tender, remove from grease and add to soup pot.  Add roasted vegetables and stock with honey and all seasonings through salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.    In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp. of softened butter and flour to form paste.  Add 1 cup of vegetable stock to paste and mix.  Return mixture to pot and stir to combine.  Remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes.  In batches, puree soup in blender or food processor making sure to leave liquid cover off to allow steam to escape.  Cover opening partially with a towel to prevent splatter.  Return to soup pot once pureed.  Add 2 tbsp. of butter and stir.  Simmer on the stovetop for 30 minutes.  To serve, top with crumbled bacon and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

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This was my first cup, but I did get about 3/4 cup more.  I have never had any other squash or carrot soup to compare it to, but it turned out tasty for my first try.  There isn’t anything I would say for sure I would change if I made this again.  Perhaps I might use Brummel & Brown instead of real butter to save some calories, but I do not think it is necessary depending on what it is being served with.  I just had the soup for dinner, but I might have a cold treat before the nights over with.

As for the rest of my eats, my morning started off with overnight oats for me and hub.  He wanted to try it, but he normally bypasses breakfast altogether.

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His and Hers

I doubled my mix to make his.  In my bowl:

  • 1/4 c old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 c low fat milk
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain yogurt
  • half banana
  • maple syrup
  • small handful of granola
  • peanut butter and grape jelly (added in the a.m.)

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  Cold Oats + Hot Chai

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Lunch included a leftover stuffed bell and the other half of my nanner from breakfast with some berries.

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I also stole some chocolate from a coworker—chocolate peanut butter shaped pumpkin.  After work I headed to the gym for a cardio session.  It included 15/15/15 of elliptical, arc trainer, and treadmill.  The treadmill was killer today because my legs are sore from Sunday’s strength training.

When I arrived home, I found some goodies on my kitchen counter.

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There is no Trader’s Joe’s here in LA, but Mom went out of town this weekend to Chicago.  I watched her dog, Prissy, and in return I got some neat eats (plus some money).  I got Mom reading some blogs as well, so we talk about the different things we see and Trader Joe’s topped our list.  It was right across the street from the condo she stayed in.  No fair!  Just kidding I got all this without even being there.

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Sesame Honey Almonds (ate 10  and they are GOOD possibly of an addictive quality good), trail mix, green bean chips (tried a few and thumbs up), apple clusters, pumpernickel pretzel sticks +

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Snapea Crisps, mini peanut butter cups, dried figs (had 3 and well, it’s figs).

THANK YOU MOM!  I will enjoy!! 🙂

Question of the Night:  What is the most outlandish squash you have consumed?

My grandpa used to grow cucuzza, which is an Italian squash.  It can grow up to 3 feet long.  Wowza, that’s a lot of squash.

Smile! It’s Contagious

Do you ever smile at a baby soon to find them smiling right back?  Smiling is an innate trait that can certainly brighten up another person’s day.  Through observation, I have noticed that people who do not smile have much more miserable attitudes about life in general.  The benefits of smiling far outweigh having a sour face.  According to Dr. Mark Stibich, smiling not only makes us more attractive and approachable; it also signifies confidence, lowers blood pressure, and relieves stress.

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Today my eats definitely put a smile on my face! 🙂 Preparation for breakfast began last night for Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats.

The following mixture sat overnight in the fridge:

1/4 cup of Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt

1/4 cup rolled oats

Splash of 1% milk

Drizzle of honey

Sliced Banana

4 sliced strawberries (added this morning before eating)

1 strawberry for garnish (and consumption)

Creamy & Cold

Make sure you use a large enough bowl if you make this.  The oats expand and I have learned my lesson of avoiding spillage.

Hot Chai Tea + Oats Bowl

Lunch was just as cheerful.

Salad + Crackers

Sorry for the blurry shot.  I made a salad using italian lettuce blend, chopped cucumber, chopped red pepper, 2 sliced strawberries, and 1 ounce of feta cheese.  Dressing of choice was Light Raspberry Vinaigrette.  On side I had 15 Triscuit Wheat Thins.  And the chocolate square went unconsumed and is still in my lunch bag currently in the freezer because it melted in my car while I was at the gym.

Green and Red Make for Beautiful Food Art

Feta Makes Everything Betta 🙂

After work I nibbled on a handful of these on my way to get my “swole” on.

Today’s work out included 15 minutes on the arc trainer, 30 minutes of my usual weight training with the addition of the low row machine.  I finished with 15 minutes on the true strider elliptical and a couple of minutes of stretching.

Keeping with my mood for enlightening food, I made a greek pasta dish that is sure to make you and your belly happy!


These ingredients were included in the dish:

Greek Pasta

1 lb. whole wheat pasta (boiled as directed)

1 cup reserved pasta water

3 tbsp. of olive oil separated

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 pack of sliced mushrooms

1 medium  chopped squash (pre-roasted in oven)

1 cup grape tomatoes (pre-roasted in oven)

6 oz. feta cheese, cubed

1 small can sliced black olives, drained

10 dashes dry oregano

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:  Add 1 tbsp olive oil to saute pan.  Saute onion for 4 minutes or until tender.  Stir in garlic and saute for an additional minute.  Add mushrooms and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water and cook until softened.  Next add pasta, feta, olives, oregano, red pepper flakes, and feta cheese.  Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil and remaining 3/4 cup of pasta water.  Toss well.  Gently add roasted tomatoes and squash.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir to distribute vegetables evenly and heat through for ten minutes on low.

Food That Makes You Smile

Grand Finale

My Dish

I added three sliced spinach leaves for some color on my plate, but certainly could have added spinach to the entire dish.

Greek Goodness

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While we are talking about smiling, some of my students made me smile today.  One girl said, “That’s why I like this class; because we can laugh!”  That made me smile.  🙂  I want my students to enjoy my class; so at times I smile and crack jokes.  Someone once told me, “NEVER smile until after Christmas” in front of the kids.  Who wants to live like that?  I do not want to be miserable and I do not want my students to be miserable because that only leads to more difficulties on both ends.

And another student gave me one of these,

Fleur De Lis Silly Band

AKA Fad Rubber Band Bracelet

….which also made me smile.  🙂

Question of the Night: What is one thing that you do to turn your frown 😦 upside down :)?  What puts you in a happy mood?

Exercising definitely puts me in a better mood.  Also, listening to music helps me cheer up.

No Phone Zone

Late this afternoon as she does on every show, Oprah coerced Lisa Ling, a celebrity reporter, to sign the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  On this day I would need no coercing.  At quarter to five this a.m., Herbie woke me up to let him out.  So as I got out of bed I heard my phone fall off the windowsill (as it does often) due to my tripping on the charger cord.  When I returned from letting the dogs out, I picked up my phone to make sure the phone card didn’t come out of its slot, and check that the alarm was still set on it.  The card did not come out, but sure enough my entire iphone screen was shattered!  Baaaah, I wined a bit and hoped that I would be able to get up without any alarm.  I fell back asleep and panicked an hour later when I awoke and thought I overslept until I quickly ran to the kitchen to find that I was up on time.

I was eager to have breakfast this morning because I did in fact purchase some rolled oats to again make some overnight oats.  I really enjoy the thickness, coldness, and creaminess of the overnight oats.  Late last night before going to bed, I added 1 6 oz. container of non-fat plain Fage, the same amount of plain almond milk. 1/2 cup of rolled oats, a tbsp. of honey, 1 small banana, and a small handful of blueberries.  That sat in the fridge all night and this morning my bowl was overflowing (literally, but I cleaned it up for pics) with the rich, dessert-like breakfast.

Along side I had a cup of hot tea, but actually waited ’til after eating to drink it.  My palate couldn’t get used to the mixing of the unsweetened, hot tea and the sweetened, cold oats.

I was quite full after eating this and felt like it was too much for breakfast.  Next time I may cut the recipe in half.

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Onto lunch at work– a salad and some crackers.

The mix contained baby spinach, carrots, celery, red and yellow cherry tomatoes (yellow cause I had three left in the fridge and wanted to use those up before opening new pack of red), roasted chinese eggplant from the hubby’s garden, strawberries, ounce of feta, and 2 tbsp. light raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

13 Wheat Thin Fiber Selects on the side.

I also had a small piece of honey bun cake (picture not captured) made by the Parent Coop Club for the faculty to enjoy.  They brought some fancy cupcakes that looked like the ones on Cupcake Wars too.  But I thought a small piece of cake might be less calories than one of the cupcakes, which were only chocolate with heaping mounds of icing by the time I got to them so I didn’t want one anyway.  I prefer yellow or white cakes over chocolate.

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When I got home from work was feeling pretty hungry so I ate a couple of snacks.

Carrots and hummus.  Wasa fibercrisp with the new Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle.

I was actually a little disappointed in the new L.C.  It tasted very much like the swiss with a small hint of bacon!?!  No heat came out s one would think with the name being “Chipotle.”

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After a short walk with the dogs, I came home to roast three split chicken breasts.  Two would be used in chicken salad.

As suggested by Ina Garten,  drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted at 350* for 40 minutes.  Cooled and skin discarded from two breasts for chicken salad.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts(roasted and meat removed from bone and shredded)

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup light mayo

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 roasted almonds and pecans

1/8 cup of dried cranberries

salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in food processor.  Pulse until mixed completely and desired consistency reached.

Chicken Salad Sammie and Side Salad

Spring mix salad with roasted eggplant, 3 grape tomatoes, < 1/2 oz. feta, light balsamic vinaigrette

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Unfortunately, I was forced to join in on the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  It has only been one day and I feel out of touch with people.  I normally talk to my mom and hubby all evening through texting/phone calls.  I haven’t spoken to either of them.  Well, perhaps, I am not at a complete loss of connecting with people.  I did conjure up a way to connect with Ina Garten, Food Network star.  I channeled  her via Internet to ask her how to roast the chicken breasts. Just kidding.  But I did write a post that hopefully people will look at.  Now,  if only I could come up with a question that readers may want to answer.

Question of the Day: If you could ask one Food Network Star anything, who would it be and what would you ask?

I feel like my students right now with the higher order thinking question.  I’m having trouble answering my own question.  Sheesh!  I have to think about it and I’m getting sleepy.  Good Night!