Monthly Archives: August 2010

Secrets, secrets are no fun

Okay, I’ll accept that secrets do serve a role. I mean, it’s in the general best interest to withhold information about military’s next move in Afghanistan.

However, for all intents and purposes, secrets and I just don’t get along… I blame my nosiness natural curiosity.

In the interest of not being hypocritical, I think I have a few things to disclose.

Secret #1: Overnight oats are delicious, but one of my main incentives in eating them is that I get to squeeze in an extra half-hour of sleep.

Consumed: Oats, peach yogurt, chia seeds and frozen blueberries, prepared the night before. Topped in the morning with strawberry granola and a scoop of PB.

I knew this morning’s alarm blare was going to be especially loud, so I thought ahead to make overnight oats.

I’m sure my 30 extra minutes of shut-eye didn’t do much for my sleep deprivation, but the combination of oats and yogurt did give me an extra pep in my step.

Hey, it’s the little things, right?

Another “little thing” leads me to…

Secret #2: I think lunch is an ideal way to use up leftovers. Consequent to that, my mid-day meal is usually a little random.

Consumed: Red Romaine lettuce with kidney beans, carrots, roasted red peppers and sautéed potatoes. Dressed with honey Dijon balsamic vinaigrette.

As will be the trend for the semester, today’s lunch was consumed in the newsroom. Computer #3 isn’t exactly the best lunch-buddy, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

My salad wasn’t about to hold me over, though. However, I have a particularly short break window on Monday’s, so I had to carry over part two of my lunch to class time.

Secret #3: When I need to eat, I need to eat. Sometimes that means an extra crunchy snack in class. Whoops.

Consumed: Wasa Crackers and Laughing Cow Swiss cheese.

After rendering my professor practically mute with my cracker munching, I had to swing back by the newsroom for a bit. Then, I was released for four hours of freedom.

First on the to-do list: Working out.

Secret #4: Sometimes I need extra incentive to work out. Whether that be running with Dan, catching up on magazines or watching a little TV, I’m always more inspired to lace up if I have secondary motivation.

Today, my inducement to work out was a little quality time with Rachel Ray, courtesy the gym’s TV.

My training schedule only mandated two miles, so running on the treadmill wasn’t too unbearable.

Mystery of all mysteries, I got even more sweaty on my air-conditioned run than I usually do. Therefore a shower was immediately necessary.

Post-destinking, I was ready for a snack, but couldn’t pin-point what I was craving.

Secret #5: My philosophy is, “When in doubt, go for it all.” In the case of my mid-day munchies, that meant an especially strange mix.

Consumed: Peanut butter M&Ms, salsa-flavored Somersaults, raw almonds and bunny grahams. All x 10.

After getting my snack fix, I was able to spend a few wonderful hours simply relaxing with Dan.

We channel surfed, landing on MTV’s “True Life.” The episode du jour was, “True Life: I’m addicted to video games.”

Sixty melodramatic minutes later, I was so gosh-darn thankful that Dan and I aren’t consumed by gaming. Apparently it’s a “real problem.” (Please note sarcasm. I have no pity for these people… Put the controller aside and go to school.)

Unfortunately, I was jolted back to reality by the realization that I had to go back to the newsroom for editing. My stomach was still full from my snack, so I packed my dinner to go.

Secret #6: Blogging makes me much more inventive with my food.

Consumed: Whole-grain PB & J with some banana chips for crunch.

To tell the truth, I was just craving some good ol’ fashioned PB & J. However, that just isn’t fun to post about (and a girl’s got to get her kicks where she can). Therefore, I scavenged my cabinets to find a way to kick it up.

As soon as I spied the banana chips, I knew it was going to be a winner.

PB & J? Good.

PB & Banana? Good.

PB, J & B? Best.

Also for dinner was peachy cottage cheese and a random trail mix.

On the way to the newsroom, I made a necessary detour.

Secret #7: Fountain drinks are primarily a means to getting crushed ice.

Ninety percent of the time, I eat pure, clean food. Fortunately, I love water, tea and coffee, so that isn’t too hard.

Sometimes, however, I just crave some Diet Coke. I’m sorry… (But not really.)

As mentioned, for as much as I like Diet Coke, my main incentive is really getting crushed ice. I’m unabashedly addicted to that stuff.

With that, I spent the remainder of my night visiting with my good friend computer #3.

One last note…

Secret #8: During the course of any given day, I eat more than is documented here.

Sometimes it is a case of camera shyness. Sometimes I know my food is too boring. Sometimes I just steal and unmentioned handful of cereal straight from the box.

My secrets, just as is this blog, are little glimpses into my life.

They don’t tell the whole story. And, they shouldn’t be taken as a guide for anyone else’s life.

Just do what feels right for you, your body and your lifestyle. Then, even with a few goofy “secrets,” you’ll have nothing to feel embarrassed about.

Questions: What food “secrets” do you have?

Another random one for me, whenever I eat M&Ms, I have to eat an orange one last. It’s my favorite color. Better explanation: I am superstitious.

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Eat dessert first

Some days, I find comfort in the standard “breakfast/lunch/dinner” rotation.

Other days, my eating is a little more sporadic. A little more random. And, often, a little more enjoyable.

Today was one of the days where I just had to let loose, pull my fork out and eat dessert. Life is too short, after all.

The day began with oatmeal, aka “chocolate-covered strawberries.”

Consumed: Oats, PB, fresh strawberries, sprinkle of granola and dark chocolate chips.

Dan and I had been testing out a few new churches in town, trying to find a good fit. This morning we ventured to a non-denominational church on the outskirts of town. Dan had directions to get there, and I trusted his navigation. But, when we hit gravel roads, I began to wonder what I was in for…

As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted with a friendly handshake and “Hi, how are’ya?”

The service only got better from there. With a good mix of college students and community members, the sermon was fun, but with vivid message.

Coincidentally, there was a post-service pizza lunch for college students. Although I’m not much of a pizza fan, I still wanted to go socialize a bit…

Plus #16 for the church, there was salad. Plus #17, there were also M&Ms and chocolate-covered pretzels.

Consumed: Caesar salad with a side of M&Ms and chocolate-covered pretzels.

When Dan and I walked out to the truck, I think we both knew our search for a church was complete. It was just such a welcoming, inspiring and uplifting morning…

A while after I got home, I felt as though I needed a more well-rounded lunch.

I picked up a new (to me) yogurt at the store the other day. The flavor was pretty good, and there were even real blueberries mixed in. However, since I’ve become accustomed to Greek yogurt, I was a little disappointed by the watery texture.

It wasn’t much of a problem, though. I just bulked it up with a little PB2 mixed right in and some granola on top.

Consumed: 1 yogurt, PB2 and granola.

I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on the homework I had been avoiding unable to do during the week.

In anticipation of a busy week, I decided to move the 4-mile run I have scheduled for tomorrow to today. (Even with the bike ride yesterday, my legs were still feeling pretty good.)

After a run through the shower, I went up to the newsroom for a quick meeting. When I drove home, the bright of the day was right in my eyes.

Rather than do the logical thing of put on some sunglasses, I went with the “squint-and-shield” method.

Disclaimer: This is a reenactment. Do not attempt to take picture while actually driving.

When I got home, some apples sitting on my counter were giving me a mean stare down, so I decided to do come baking. Not sure of what I wanted to make, I just threw together a few things in my pantry.

Apple and Bran Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C bran cereal
  • 1 1/2 T margarine
  • 1/2 t cinnamon (divided)
  • 1/2 t vanilla (divided)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
  • 4 dates
  • 5 T brown sugar
  • Sprinkle white sugar

Directions:

  • In food processor, mix up cereal, butter, 1/4 t vanilla and 1/4 t cinnamon until crumbly.
  • Press mixture into the bottom of 8-inch casserole pan. Bake in 375 degree oven for seven minutes, or until firmed up. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Combine apples, dates, brown sugar, 1/4 t vanilla and 1/4 t cinnamon in food processor. Mix until well-mixed. Spoon into another casserole dish. Sprinkle with white sugar. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until all apples are tender.
  • Spoon apple mixture onto cooled crust. Refrigerate for at least and hour before cutting into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Naturally, I tested out three one of my bars. For a little this ‘n’ that, these turned out delicious! They had a good granola bar element, but with an apple pie-esque sweetness.

Once again, I didn’t feel that it was a well-rounded meal. So, I topped off my dessert with a little dinner.

Consumed: Green Monster with small vanilla yogurt, 1/2 banana, handful of spinach, spoonful PB. Topped with a bit of granola and bunny grahams.

I don’t eat this way everyday. When it comes down to it, I don’t even want to eat this way everyday. But, sometimes it’s just nice to eat what comes my way… Even if that is dessert before dinner.

Questions: Do you eat sweets throughout the day or save them for special occasions? Do you wear sunglasses?

I don’t make a habit of eating sweets throughout the day, but if something really special comes along, I don’t deny myself. As for the sunglasses, I will wear them, but they always seem to give me an even bigger headache than just squinting.


Biker gang

School. Seven days down. An infinite number to go.

Although I really enjoy my classes, I was definitely ready for a break from most things “intellectual” by the time the weekend hit. Knowing that I couldn’t run away from my problems, I decided to bike away from them…

It almost seems pointless for me to say that the morning started off with breakfast. Doesn’t it always?

Regardless, this morning was especially delicious.

Consumed: Oats, strawberries, a few dark chocolate chips (yay, weekend!), PB and sprinkle of granola.

The goodness of oats, peanut butter and a little sugar was just the fuel I needed for what Dan and I had in store: A 35-mile out-and-back bike ride to a local lake.

We had been planning the ride all week-long. But, with the curveballs of allergies and anemia-diagnoses, we began to doubt…

Fortunately, God blessed us with low-humidity, comfortably warm weather.

We took the ride at a pleasant pace, focusing more on the company than the speed. Still, we did move along at a pretty good clip, completing the first 15 miles at six-minute mile pace.

Just as our stomachs began to growl for lunch, we made it to the lake.

First things first, we took a breather. However, I didn’t have to waste time with “rehydrating.” I’d been doing it all along!(Don’t worry, Dad, I wore my helmet!)

It was the first time I tested out the CamelBak, and I have to say that I really loved it. During the first mile, I worried that the straps would be too irritating. But, after loosening it a bit, I was perfectly fine.

The CamelBak was especially ideal for a bike ride, since I didn’t have to stop to get a drink of water. I think it would also work well for a run, but I would have to wear sleeves to avoid chafing with the straps.

After catching our breaths, we dove into our pre-packed lunch.

Consumed: Flat Out Wrap with brown rice, steamed veggies and honey mustard. Also had some fresh strawberries.

One of the potential issues of me being a vegetarian is that I don’t always have food to offer Dan. We even talked about home bringing some luncheon meat to store at my house.

Fortunately, for now, he really likes my black bean burgers.

Since it isn’t a meal unless it ends with something sweet, we topped it off with a few of Effie’s Homemade Oatcakes.

I really like that the cookies are sweet, but also have a subtle saltiness to them. They really hit all the bases. Now can I just chocolate cover them? (Oh, no, I just planted an idea in my own head…)

It wouldn’t a visit to the lake without dipping our toes in the water.

For dignity’s sake, I’d rather not admit it, but I took an embarrassingly slow-motion fall from my bike as I was turning onto the sand.

My pride was much more hurt than my body. Dan didn’t even make too much fun of me. (Reason #47 why I like him so much.)

After that, Dan jumped in the water for a bit, but I stuck to knee-high wading. No one likes a soggy-shorts bike ride.

Thanks to a good breeze, we made even better time getting home than getting to the lake.

I was a bit of a sweaty mess upon getting home. But, keeping my priorities in line, I first snacked on some trail mix.

A shower and longer-than-intended nap later, I headed over to Dan’s for a pleasant surprise: He was making dinner!

Consumed: Omelette with cheddar, feta, tomatoes and mushrooms. Served with a side of wheat berry toast.

I’m not bragging about my boy or anything, but he makes a real mean omelette. Julia Child and her 13-page omelette guide might just want to take note…

And, just to set the record straight, the only thing I was in charge of was the toast. Yes, it was burned. Yes, it still tasted good.

I had the foresight to save a bit of room for our post-dinner double date with Rebecca and Cameron.

Cameron and Rebecca... Our guests for frozen yogurt!

Even though we dreamed about it all summer, Rebecca hadn’t yet been to 3 Spoons. I was more than happy to join her to change that.

It’s just two weeks old, but 3 Spoons has really caught on fast. I think that half of Lawrence was there! No problem, though. The reward was worth the wait.

Consumed: Cappuccino frozen and cake batter frozen yogurt. Topped with raspberries, Oreos, pretzels and a few M&Ms.

When Dan and I got back to his place, “Forrest Gump” was on TV. Naturally, I had no choice but to stop and watch it. The rest of the night was on a similar low-key note, which was just fine by me.

Questions: If you have a significant other, what do you enjoy doing together? Do you have any movies that you just have to stop and watch?

Dan and I enjoy working out, cooking and going to church. However, it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing. I just always have fun with him.

As for movies, I also have to watch “Titanic” every time it’s one… Even though I own the DVD!


Purple (non)people eater

Sometimes I have to dig deep and come up with a theme or topic for my blog posts. Other times, a trend just presents itself.

Today was one of the days that, as I was looking through my pictures, I couldn’t help but notice a motif: Purple, purple and more purple (with a side of a lot of food)…

It all started off with a purple bowl of goodness.

Consumed: Oats, spoonful of PB, dark chocolate chips, granola and drizzle of Agave nectar.

Keeping with the purple trend was my outfit of the day.

It featured a purple cardigan, purple necklace and…

Purple shoes!

With only two classes, my Friday morning (fortunately) went by pretty quickly.  Then, (unfortunately) I had to stake out the newsroom for a while working on scripts and doing newsbriefs.

A little bit after noon, I took a break to snack on some purple-spotted trail mix.

Consumed: Whole wheat cereal, almonds, (purple) dried dates, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips and PB M&Ms.

For the main course, I had a wrap with a purple placemat (aka, my journalism folder).

Consumed: Flat Out tortilla, thin smear cream cheese, roasted red peppers, salsa and (purple) kidney beans.

My pantry was in desperate need of restocking, so the wrap was a little random. Still, it was super delicious.

Even more importantly, it gave me a good amount of energy for my heat-of-the-day run with Dan.

By the time we got back from our run, I was ready for snack.

Consumed: Blueberry oatmeal bread with a bit of margarine and a bit of PB.

That got me to thinking: Have you ever noticed that blueberries are actually more purple? “Purpleberries” would be so much more accurate…

With my most random musing of the day aside, I showered, got ready and then drove down to Kansas City with Dan.

This semester, Dan is making dinner for his scholarship hall on Friday nights. So, to celebrate our last Friday of freedom, we decided to go to the Plaza.

Although there was a wide variety of amazing restaurants, we were both in the mood for Chinese. That meant just one thing: P.F. Chang’s.

It’s been years since I’ve been to a P.F.’s, so I was excited to try it again.

We called ahead, so we didn’t have too long of a wait. In fact, it was just long enough for me to snap a few pictures of a really cute boy…

Then there was something in the sky…

Well I saw the thing comin’ out of the sky
It had the one long horn, one big eye
I commenced to shakin’ and I said “ooh-eee”
It looks like a purple eater to me

Before I knew it, we we seated! I wasn’t a vegetarian the last time I was at P.F.’s (which really shows how long ago it was), so I didn’t know what to expect from the menu.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a very vegetarian-friendly selection. There was even a special symbol beside off the non-meat dishes.

I was craving something pretty light. The Buddha’s Delight fit the bill.

Consumed: Perfectly steamed veggies, five-spice tofu and brown rice (wohoo!). All was doused with the “special sauce” that our waitress prepared.

The dinner ended with a fortune cookie. Just the way that any good Chinese meal should…

Taking advantage of the wonderfully cool weather, Dan and I walked around the Plaza for a while.

For those of your keeping track, I was wearing a purple dress…

And… The end.

Questions: Do you find that you wear the same color a lot? What do you do to celebrate special occasions?


Banish blueberry blues

I was never the type of girl to squeal and run in fear at the sight of a spider.

I can handle heights.

I’ve even chosen some nature of public speaking as my career.

So what does manage to give me the heebie-jeebies?

[source]

As a child, I was downright terrified of the scene in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” when Violet Beauregarde swells into a human-blueberry.

Somehow, this translated into an extreme dislike for the actual fruit. While my fear of flying monkeys faded with time, I held onto my irrational aversion to blueberries.

It wasn’t until I was faced with a dilemma of “blueberry-pancakes or bust,” that I was finally forced to face my phobia.

One bite in and I was sold.

Why had I deprived myself of such a delicious treat for all of my life?

Since that time, I’ve made every attempt to make up for lost time. A few days ago it was blueberry cinnamon rolls. This morning it was…

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 C oats
  • 1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk (could use skim milk)
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/8 C sugar
  • 1/2 C blueberries (frozen, fresh or even dried)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt

Directions:

  • Combine oats and milk in large mixing bowl. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add the flax egg, applesauce and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine flours, sugar, blueberries, baking powder and salt.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix. Then add the second half of flour mixture and mix until combined, but do not over-stir.
  • Bake in greased loaf pan in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.

I actually threw this bread together while getting ready for school this morning. By the time I was groomed, clothed and caffeinated, the bread was ready for consumption.

Best of all, unlike some other breakfast pastries, this didn’t leave me in a sugar-coma all day. (I should mention that, although it’s delicious, this isn’t really a sweet-bread. I added an extra smear of PB and jelly to kick it up a bit. I also had a big ol’ green monster for breakfast.)

In other news, I have this fun little habit of getting hit with allergies at the exact same time (to the date) every year.

And that time is… Now.

Representing my feelings toward allergies.

Rather than suffer it out, I killed two birds with one stone by visiting the doctor for my already-needed blood work.

I’ve been around the allergy-block a few times, so I wasn’t too surprised by the doctor’s advice to take some antihistamines.

The icing on the cake was getting a needle stuck in my arm. Wohoo!

At least I got a cute little Jayhawk drawn on my band-aid.

Later in the night, I got a call back from the doctor, who said that my preliminary blood work indicates that my iron is very low.

This wasn’t particularly surprising.

As a vegetarian, I make a very intentional effort to get adequate iron in my diet. Also, thanks to heredity, I am predisposed to anemia. This means that I have to be extra diligent about my iron.

Generally, I can tell that my iron levels are slipping if I feel unusually tired, have low energy or have strong urges to chew on ice.

In time, I’ve learned that it helps to eat fortified cereals, dark greens, beans and a lot of veggies.

However, my doctor suggested that I start taking an iron supplement to ensure my levels remain balanced.

Whew, wasn’t that just thrilling? At least I started with the blueberry bread…

Questions: What were you afraid of as child? Did you grow out of this fear?


The skinny on “skinny”

I love almost everything about newspapers: The fast-pace. The excitement. The urgency.

However, I could do without the late nights.

Last night, I was in the editing room for more than nine hours… On top of my already full day of school.

Oh well, it is the fate I choose. Plus, there is a silver-lining to my mandated newsroom stake out: In between checking punctuation, ensuring accuracy and verifying sources, I do get a little free-time.

During my few precious moments, I took a mental vacation from the newsroom hustle by checking out the Web. Naturally, this meant checking out my blogroll.

One of my favorite blogs is “Carrots ‘N’ Cake.” I can generally rely on Tina to reinforce the importance of fitness, health and balance.

However, something unusually negative caught my attention: Tina referred to a recent article she wrote by the name “4 Skinny Tricks for Enjoying a Diet Splurge Guilt-free.”

Not to mention the problem I have with the phrase “diet,” the word that really caught my attention was “skinny.”

My experiences have taught me that skinny isn’t only unhealthy, but it is often unhappy. So, why should people be encouraged to pursue this?

Still, I wondered if it was just me. Does “skinny” really have a negative connotation?

I decided to do some investigation…

According to my handy-dandy dictionary, there is a difference between “skinny” and other adjectives. For example…

(click to enlarge)

I know that I’m nitpicking. After all, “skinny” is just one little word.  Still, that one word carries a lot of weight. No pun intended.

Here’s my challenge to you: Stop pursing skinniness. Rather than focus on shedding pounds, work on building muscle, endurance and energy. Pursue healthfulness.

Cutting “skinny” out of the common nomenclature may be a little thing, but I believe it can make a big difference.

Questions: Do you believe society reinforces the need to be “skinny?” How do you respond to this?


Operation Beautiful: Hindsight is 20/20

As I’m back to walking the familiar hills of my campus, I can’t help but think about how much my life has changed in the past year.

Rewinding to fall 2009, I thought I was doing everything right. I ate as few of calories as possible, ran as far as possible and said “yes” as much as possible.

On my birthday last year, I ate a side of vegetables for the meal. When choosing a dessert, I remember looking for the "healthiest" option.

I was pursuing an image of perfection, but I was falling short of happiness.

Now, the image of my life is much different.

I know I’m not perfect. I accept I’m not perfect. I even revel in the fact that I’m not perfect.

This is because, despite all my imperfections, I have the one thing that eluded me last year: Happiness.

Eating a fully white-flour pretzel at 11 o'clock at night, just because I wanted to.

If I could go back and avoid all the difficulties I faced, I’d be seriously tempted. Battling my ED undoubtedly one of the most emotionally, physically and mentally straining battles of my life.

Why shouldn’t I just erase it all?

Because, for better or worse, hindsight is 20/20.

My experiences come with the consequence of sensitivity. I notice subtle signals of girls who are dealing with similar torments.

While sitting in the food court, I see girls order salads, only to push their naked lettuce around and feign fullness.

As I fit in a whole workout of running, weight lifting and stretching, I see girls pounding away on treadmills.

When I get to class, filled up with breakfast and looking forward to lunch, I overhear girls talking about having “no time to eat.”

I see all these things through a magnified lens. I understand the logic (or lack thereof). I’ve been there…

Unlike most forms of sympathy, I don’t feel the urge to “forgive” or “overlook.”

Instead, every time I see someone exhibiting signs of disordered eating or low self-esteem, I want to shake them and say, “You deserve better!”

I resist, lest I get kicked out of the university with allegations of abuse.

Still, I can’t let it slide. I just have a little voice inside of me, which nags me to no end.

“If I can help one girl feel a little better about herself…”

“If I can let one girl know that beauty isn’t based on waist circumference of jean size…”

“If I can demonstrate to one girl that she is her most disapproving critic…”

Then, I have succeeded.

Just as recovery, I take this mission one day at a time. One blog at a time. One conversation at a time. One connection at a time.

I didn't have a post-it, but I had a voice. That's what matters.

Questions: What have you learned from struggles in life?

To learn about how you can pass it forward, check out the Operation Beautiful website or buy the recently released book by Caitlin Boyle.