Thursday, July 28, 2011
I haven't had as much time on SparkPeople as I would have liked this week. I feel helplessly behind on reading your blogs, blogging myself and just saying hi! It's been very busy, but very awesome times. On top of the usual busy workload we have a second honeymoon planned for our first anniversary this weekend. A nice weekend at a resort about two hours away. They have a package that includes your room, breakfasts and an outdoor adventure pass that gives you a mountain bike rental, frisbee golf, kayaking, scenic ski lift ride, roller coaster ride, and if we are feeling crazy, PAINTBALL. My husband and I used to be regular paintball players many years ago, but we are definitely not a spry as we once were - chuckle. I am so excited to have a fun and healthy weekend planned! We were not sure if we should take the trip since things are tight financially (who doesn't have that problem these days) and both of our vehicles may give up the ghost at any time, but we decided it was important to celebrate our first wonderful year together of many.
We did have money set aside specifically for an anniversary trip since last year. DHs coworkers pulled together and gave us a rather generous honeymoon fund which we saved for this weekend. It should be a great time! And the icing on the cake is that I have a swedish massage scheduled at the resort spa. I am super excited for that. I wanted to make getting a massage one of my rewards for reaching a healthy BMI goal, but thought that may be too much money right now. (Sheesh, I don't like worrying about finances so much) But I had the crafty idea to turn in some of the Discover Card bonus dollars that we earn for a SpaFinder gift certificate. DH thought that was a good idea too, so now I am getting $100 in spa services for FREE!! Well, I will end up pay tax/tip, but it's a huge savings! So we've managed to pull off some last-minute plans for an action-packed weekend for very little out-of-pocket expense. We are inventive fugal folks!
And then to make this week even better, DH texted me on Monday with a photo of concert tickets on his desk. I guess they had some U2 tickets at his work to raffle off and he won! When I looked up where our seats were, I was shocked to see that we were in the THIRD row back and other tickets at that level were selling for $300!! He had three tickets and after having trouble finding one of our friends that could go on such short notice, gave one to another coworker who wanted to go. The seats were sort of behind the round stage, slightly awkward vantage point, but totally awesome seats! The set was amazing, the show was incredible, the weather was great, we got free parking since DHs work was a block away, we had a great dinner with my SIL and BIL beforehand... it was a perfect evening.
So much to look forward to. Happy dance!!! I guess I have another anniversary surprise too. DH planned something else when we were unsure about taking a trip... then we decided to take the trip after he had made alternate plans. Oops! Now we have to celebrate TWICE!
I have to get my butt off the computer for a late-night workout before bed. I've been burning my candle at both ends this week and am hoping to not be too tired to enjoy all of our planned outdoor adventures this weekend!
Friday, July 22, 2011
Today's late night adventure was making my first batch of korean kim chi!
"Of the countless varieties of kim chi that are made in Korea, by far the most common and celebrated version is made with Napa cabbage.
Kim chi that's made with cabbage is loaded with indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a compound that is well recognized as a powerful cancer-fighting compound. Numerous studies indicate that I3C can offer protection against many different types of cancer and may even stop the growth of existing tumors.
You could hop on over to a local Korean market to buy a bottle of kim chi, but it may not be as healthy as you'd like, since most commercially prepared varieties are made with white sugar and shrimp."
My brother spent his final year (of six) serving in the Army in Korea until March this year. While he was in Korea, he learned to love the local foods and especially kim chi. It sounds like something that is eaten daily there. The fermented cabbage concoction sounded really gross to me, but I promised my brother that I would make it for him when he got home. He has bought some at a Korean market here, but it didn't meet his expectations.
So I got everything this week to make a batch. It ended up being pretty darn expensive! My brother is worth it though. I had found a recipe online that uses the natural sweetness of apple, pear and onion instead of a ton of granulated sugar like commercial kinds have. It was not difficult to make. The oddest thing was needing to wear gloves to mix it to keep the red pepper flakes from burning my hands. And after going through the whole process, I have one jar of kim chi sitting on my kitchen counter to ferment for a day.
I couldn't resist trying on piece of cabbage pre-fermentation. I must admit, I really like the flavor so far! It is a bit salty from soaking the cabbage in a sea salt brine bath. It has garlic, red peppers SPICY, ginger. It made my mouth sing. I'm hoping it meets my brother's approval after the 24 hours are up and it is ready to start eating. I guess after a day you can start eating it and keep eating it for a month. It just ferments more the longer you keep it in the fridge. Does not sound appetizing as I am typing this. I will be excited to hand the jar over.
On to my next cooking adventure!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Today I was reflecting back on what my staple for lunch daily was in the past: Lean Cuisine frozen dinners. Sometimes I would also pack a banana, yogurt or a small salad to go along with it if I remembered and had time. I am proud to say that I have been Lean Cuisine free for a couple years now. I have nothing against them, there were quite a few yummy types and are much healtier than most foods out there. I am simply happy to be rid of the less-than-filling portions, sodium laden, over processed options and questionable meat chunks. I would eat a lean cuisine AT MY DESK in front of the computer and catch up on e-mail replies while I mindlessly shoveled food into my mouth. After finishing, I was always still hungry! They never seemed to be enough to fill my stomach and satisfy my hunger. By mid-afternoon I was running to the vending machines to buy a 24 oz bottle of soda and whatever unhealthy snack that caught my eye. This was a more regular occurrence than I'd like to admit...
And later I had to have:
or something along those lines,
washed down with:
I sat back while eating lunch today to think about what a blessing my switch to working from home as a freelance designer has been. It's very challenging and there are days that I get frustrated and think about starting up a job hunt, but so much good has come from it. Instead of spending 5+ hours sitting in traffic (in a car with no AC) every week, I have now channeled that 5+ hours a week into ME TIME to workout and get healthier. I am able to plan healthy meals and cook fresh foods the majority of the time. Today I looked down at my plate of grilled tilapia and asparagus with a small bowl of pasta tossed with pesto and fresh diced tomato. (It was a bit of a mishmosh for lunch since I was using up some leftover stuff we had in the fridge.) Lunch was absolutely delicious and healthy. My stomach was pleasantly satiated when I finished. I just made me laugh thinking about those old Lean Cuisines... I don't miss them at all. They tasted OK, but good riddance to putting rubbish in my belly!! I'm still amazed daily at how much better I feel after eating 'real' food and not the processed foods that filled the majority my plates. I understand occasionally grabbing something convenient from the freezer and tossing it into the oven - we all get busy sometimes - but there is no excuse for eating it daily (except laziness!)
a former daily Lean Cuisine customer
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I woke up somewhat early (for me) as I had a morning meeting downtown. I made my usual breakfast smoothie, but decided to try Silk almond milk instead of regular 2% today. I've been wanting to try it for a while, but $4 for a half gallon is a bit steep. I was happy to find the almond milk on sale and had a $1.25 off coupon. I grabbed the sweetened kind since it seemed like it would be a good fit in smoothies, which was what I planned to use it in. I was wrong. I could barely get a couple sips down and ended up pouring it down the sink and making myself a quick everything bagel. I really hated wasting it, but it was impossible for me to drink. I expected to like the almond flavor. Yuck-o! I prefer SO Delicious coconut milk or just plain milk a hundred times over the almond milk. Glad it was only $2 and I will try to find someone who likes it and can use it.
Having to make two breakfasts shaved into my time to get ready so I left a little later than I had hoped for my meeting. I wanted to leave extra time to park about twice as far away than usual to get a good walk in. I knew I was cutting it close, but I parked almost a mile away and just made it in time - not a minute to spare. It was a good meeting with two clients I've worked with for many years. At one point the woman left the room to get something and the man leaned forward to say in a hushed voice, "You look like you've lost a LOT of weight!" It made me laugh. I have a really hard time containing my excitement when someone notices. I just want to GUSH all about it and stumble over my words and ramble... It was hard to stay composed in the business setting. I rambled something out to the effect of: Thank you for noticing. I have lost a lot of weight. Almost 25 pounds now. So many years of desk jobs had taken their toll and after becoming self-employed I was able to devote more time to getting back in shape.... blah blah blah. I totally rambled in my excitement. (But he was asking questions, seemed interested, etc.) Anyone else out there have a hard time not gushing with joy when someone asks about their weightloss?
After the meeting I ran over to say hi to DH and some of his coworkers. A midday hug and kiss is always nice before heading back to work.
I ended up not getting home until after two. I hadn't even had lunch yet. Today's planned lunch was eggplant pizzas on the grill. I never tried it before but it turned out awesome. In fact, I've never really had much eggplant before in my life. Sliced eggplant 1/2 inch thick drizzled with olive oil, garlic seasoning and Italian herbs grilled alongside thick slices of fresh tomatoes. Grilled both sides, then I put a grilled tomato slice on top of an eggplant slice, sprinkled on some mozzarella and grilled a minute or two longer to melt... soooo good! I ate the whole eggplant (minus the two rounds that slipped between the grill grates into the yucky stuff below. bummer!) I was planning to use fresh garlic and basil, but I was really hungry and using dried garlic and herbs sped things along. Definitely will try that one again!
Now it's time for my late night workout! The extra walking today was just a bonus.
Hope everyone is having a great week! Is it me, or is this week dragging?!?
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