What Do You Eat?

26 Jan

As a vegetarian, I get asked all the time “What do you eat?”. I got asked this question today, in fact, which is what inspired this post. So here’s what I made for dinner tonight:

It’s part of my “Make It Up As I Go Along” series. πŸ˜‰ It’s tempeh, red onion, garlic, cumin and greens sautΓ©ed in olive oil. My CSA box has encouraged many creations from the “Make It Up As I Go Along” series, since I always have to find creative ways to use up my veggies.

Other things I eat for dinner that are delicious and meat free:

Garbanzo beans in Trader Joe’s curry simmer sauce over brown rice (if I have greens to use up, I will add them in with the beans and sauce. It’s yummy!)
Black Bean Soup (click here for recipe)
Lentil Stew (click here for recipe)
Breakfast for dinner with a veggie scramble (whatever veggies I want to use up combined with eggs)

Speaking of food, I’ve been doing my diet for about two weeks now and I’m down five pounds! The best part though is that after avoiding sugar for two weeks and eating every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar even, I feel great! I have so much more energy and I don’t get “that 2:30 feeling” in the afternoons anymore. And when I come home from work, I still have energy to do stuff, rather than just planting my ass on the couch. πŸ˜€ Now I just have to make myself remember this feeling forever whenever I see a dessert that calls my name. Avoiding sugar makes it easier to avoid sugar though. πŸ˜‰ Meaning if you don’t eat sugar, you don’t crave it.

Next up on my health “to do” list is taking my exercise to the next level. Up until this point, I’ve just been doing walking and easy hikes, but I finally feel like my body is adequately recovered from my broken leg and I can start to push myself more.

Hooray for feeling fine and healthy!

Gettin’ My Organization On

22 Jan

Today we went to one of my favorite stores – The Container Store. I love this place! Every time I enter this store, it gives me hope that my life can actually be organized. Case in point, I found this handy dandy little thing to organize kitchen wraps (like aluminum foil and such).

Check out my handy work:

Before - what a mess!

After!

In a matter of two minutes, I organized these things that drive me crazy every time I open the pantry! πŸ˜€

My main reason for going to The Container Store was that I wanted to get something to organize my nail polish. My dream nail polish organization strategy would be to use a spice rack like the one below to display the nail polish, just like they do when you go to the salon to get a manicure. Genius idea, I know, but somehow I have yet to be able to convince the hubby to allow me to hang a spice rack in our closet. πŸ˜‰

After looking at many options, I ended up with the container below, which I was happy with because of the little compartments within the box.

Before this, my nail polish was in serious need of some help. It was all shoved into a bag where I couldn’t see what I had. There were also nail polishes in there that I probably had in high school. That would mean they are like 12-15 years old. 😯

Yikes!

I’m talking Caboodles nail polish old! I’m not sure if this is even still a brand!

Old School!

I’ve still got a long way to go before I am completely in organization heaven (don’t even think about looking in my garage), but today was a good start.

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Do you have any organization tips?

A Classic Fail

19 Jan

It was a rough night in the Cabs and Dogs household last night. The younger furry kid woke up several times during the night with barfing and, umm, you know, that other thing that often comes with barfing. 😯

Just like a kid daycare, doggie daycare doesn’t take sick kids, so luckily I was able to work from home today so I could be here with him in case there were any more “incidents.” There were, in fact, a few “incidents” and there was also a lot of this:

For dinner tonight, I made Iowa Girl Eats’ Superfood Salad and, as luck would have it, someone suddenly felt a lot better when I was trying to make dinner. Just like a kid, he wanted to play, he wanted to eat and he wanted to go to the bathroom. πŸ™„

This salad was really good. It was also a lot of work. In fact, it totally violated my rule of chopping no more than three veggies per recipe. πŸ˜‰ I doubled the recipe too because I wanted to have leftovers for lunches, so that meant double the work. I also made a classic cooking fail – I totally underestimated the size of bowl I would need.

I got about half way through the recipe and my bowl was totally heaping full and I couldn’t really stir it. D’oh! 😳 So then I had to bring out the big guns:

A bowl normally reserved for making stuffing on Thanksgiving had to be busted out on a random Thursday night.

It fits!

That’s much better!

Then it was time to get my eat on because I was seriously tired after making this.

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What’s more important to you when cooking – convenience or deliciousness? I would say I fall somewhere in the middle on this one. I’m definitely not willing to work too hard for a weeknight meal, but if it’s a special meal or on a weekend, then I’m willing to get down and dirty for yummy food.

*Note: I did make a few modifications the original recipe: I did not use corn and I used maple syrup in the dressing instead of sugar.

Santa Claus and Baby Carrots

17 Jan

Here’s a fun riddle for you: what do Santa Claus and baby carrots have in common? The answer: neither one is real. πŸ™‚ This is something I learned when I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a couple of years ago. (A book I highly recommend, by the way.) So, yes, apparently baby carrots are made from normal sized carrots that are whittled into “baby” size. Then they dip them in some kind of preservative to keep them fresh, since they don’t have the protective outer layer like normal carrots. YUCK! No wonder I never liked baby carrots. Why am I giving you a lesson in baby carrots, you ask? Well, because I got some real carrots in my CSA box this week, so I decided to cut them up and eat them with hummus for a snack, just like some people would do with baby carrots.

These were so good! Like something you would actually want to eat! Because let’s face it, baby carrots are pretty much just a tasteless vehicle to get the dip in your mouth, right?

Speaking of my CSA box, I made a yummy salad for dinner tonight that used three different items from the box. I’m so proud of myself. πŸ˜€ I found the idea on the For the Love of Food blog. The salad consists of arugula, squash, pomegranate seeds and lentils, plus a delicious dressing. The original recipe called for delicata squash, but I used butternut squash because that’s what I had on hand. I also used the pre-cooked steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s instead of dried ones because I’m lazy and impatient.

I was especially happy to find a use for a pomegranate because I’ve been getting a ton of them in my CSA box. Having farm fresh fruits and veggies has definitely been a learning experience, particularly with these pomegranates. Before this, I never knew how to remove the seeds from a pomegranate. The first time I tried to do it, it was a bloody juicy mess! It seriously looked like an episode of Dexter in my kitchen. Then I thought there must be a better way, so I found this video online from everyone’s favorite domestic diva, Martha Stewart.


Essentially, you just beat the shit out of the pomegranate until all the seeds fall out. πŸ˜‰ This method was easier (notice I said easier, not easy), but it was still kind of messy.

The best tip I’ve come up with so far is to use a deep bowl, so that the juice doesn’t fly three feet across your kitchen and onto your freshly painted wall. Not that this happened to me or anything. πŸ˜‰

Then you get to use your pom seeds in a yummy salad, like so:

In other news, it’s a jungle out there, or a forest, or… something. πŸ˜‰ So here’s the deal, our house backs up to an avocado grove and behind that are the foothills of the Saddleback Mountains. That means wildlife! It’s pretty common for coyote sightings in our neighborhood, but last night was ridiculous! We have had a freaking owl hooting at night around here for the last couple of weeks, so last night it starts in around 10 PM and it seriously went on like all night. Then the coyotes started in with their howling too! Hubby and I both had to wear earplugs to get any sleep! Now I’m not a wildlife expert (shocking, I now), but I don’t think owls usually hoot for hours at a time. So this is either an owl on speed or there is no owl at all and one of our neighbors is screwing around.

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So anyone else ever had an “owl problem”? How did you handle it?

No Mom Jeans Required

15 Jan

Today, I took a big step towards accomplishing these crafty goals by taking a crochet 101 class at Joann’s. I’m not gonna lie, there were a few pairs of “mom jeans” in the crowd at the class, but I’m here to tell you that no mom jeans are required to crochet. πŸ˜‰

Here’s what I made in the class:

We practiced both single and double crochet, so hence the different look in the middle of my piece. There was a bit of an opps when I was switching back to single crochet after doing the double, as evidenced by the uneven edge. πŸ˜•

Since I got home from the class, I’ve made this:

My goal is to make a cowl, but I’m not working with a pattern. Since I’m just learning, I’m going to just do it and see what happens, cause that’s how I roll.

Now I’m off to watch movie stars with horrendous spray tans on the Golden Globes. πŸ˜‰ Seriously though, is it just me or are people looking especially orange this year?

My Life Is A Commercial

10 Jan

So I mentioned in my last post that I maybe, sorta, kinda want to try for a baby this year. Well last night, when hubby and I were watching the BCS National Championship Bowl Game, we saw this commercial:

Then hubby says, “That commercial spoke to me.”

“Oh really, so you want to build a fighting robot?” I say.

“Actually I do,” he says. πŸ˜›

Yeah, I don’t know what happened to me, but suddenly when I look at a baby, I no longer see a screaming poop machine. Instead, I think aww, I want one! After nearly seven years of marriage, I think some, including me, may have thought that this feeling would never strike me, but somehow, someway it has. πŸ˜€

Speaking of kids, one of my furry kids did the craziest thing tonight. I’ve always known that my Cy guy is a seriously strong chewer, as in he can’t have any stuffed toys because he tears them apart in 2.2 seconds. Well tonight he proved just what a strong jaw he has. I was making dinner and he was laying on his bed chewing on a bone… or so I thought. I turned around to see this:

HE SPLIT THE BONE IN HALF!!! This is a real bone and he split it in half! I immediately checked for missing teeth, but luckily they were all there. This kid never ceases to amaze me with his antics! πŸ˜‰

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Alright, so is anyone else on the baby bandwagon with me? Did it hit you all of a sudden?

I’m On The Wagon

8 Jan

The diet wagon, that is. πŸ˜‰

Since it’s that time of year and since I have big plans for 2012 (like maybe, kinda, sorta trying for a baby :shock:), I decided it’s time to focus on my health. The program I’m doing is called First Line Therapy and it’s something I had started doing last summer, before I broke my leg. But then I totally got off track, since I wasn’t even able to cook my own meals. So now, I’m back!

Now let’s be real for a minute, this plan is a diet it is not a “lifestyle change” or any of that BS. It is simply too restrictive to be a lifestyle – no booze or caffeine allowed (two of my favorite things. :(). It is, however, a good way to lose weight and you do learn things on it that can and should be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. For example, on this plan, you must eat small meals throughout the day, every 2-3 hours. This was HUGE for me when I did it before. I had always thought of myself as being good about having healthy snacks between meals, but what I learned was that I would let myself get too hungry before I eat the snacks and my blood sugar would drop. Keeping your blood sugar even throughout the day will make a huge difference in your mood and energy!

Another thing I like about this plan is that it’s focused on eating whole foods – no Jenny-Craig-style frozen miniature pizzas here. πŸ™‚ Here’s a sample of a typical day:

Breakfast (eat within 1 hour of waking up):
Smoothie made with vanilla meal replacement. (this specific plan includes a meal replacement powder that you drink once a day to help ensure you are getting all the vitamins you need, but you could add in a vanilla protein powder, if you prefer). In my smoothie, I put 2 scoops meal replacement, 1 cup water, ice, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1 Tbs peanut butter, 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese, and several handfuls of spinach. I know what you are thinking, the ricotta cheese sounds disgusting, but trust me, you can’t even taste it. I like to add it as a way to get more protein. It’s better than adding yogurt, since most yogurt has added sugar and sugar is a no-no on this plan.

Morning Snack (eat 2-3 hours after breakfast):
3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 pear diced. Cottage cheese and pear is a yummy combo!

Lunch (eat 2-3 hours after snack):
Black Bean Soup. Keep reading for a delicious and easy recipe below.

Afternoon (eat 2-3 hours after lunch):
1/4 cup hummus with veggies. My two favorite veggie dippers are broccoli and cauliflower

Dinner (eat 2-3 hours after snack):
Veggie Fried Rice. Made using 1 cup brown rice, 2 eggs and whatever veggies you like. Be sure you watch how much oil you use when cooking this. The plan allows for 4 Tsp of oil per day, so use wisely and spread throughout the day.

For lunch, I like to have black bean soup, so I make a big pot of it on Sunday, so that I can eat it throughout the week. Here is a delicious and very easy recipe that I found on the Cooking with Trader Joe’s blog.

Black Bean Soup
Note: I doubled the recipe below because I wanted to have a week’s worth of lunches.

Ingredients

β€’ 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped (or use 1 1/2 cups TJ’s Freshly Diced Onion)
β€’ 1 clove crushed garlic, or 1 cube frozen Crushed Garlic
β€’ 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
β€’ 1 tsp ground cumin
β€’ 2 (15-oz) cans black beans (do not drain)
β€’ 1 jar of your favorite salsa, such as TJ’s Chunky Salsa
β€’ 2 Tbsp lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

Instructions
1. In a medium pot, add the olive oil and sautΓ© the onions until they are soft and translucent.

2. Add cumin and garlic, sautΓ©ing for an additional minute.
3. Pour in black beans (including juices), salsa, and lime juice. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for 20 minutes.

It’s that easy! And then you have a delicious bowl of black bean soup to enjoy. You can also top it with sour cream, if you like, but I don’t think it needs it, plus that’s not allowed on my diet. πŸ˜‰

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I know different things work for different people. Do you have a “go to” method for losing weight?