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FRENCHIFAL's Recent Blog Entries

Vacation Day 2: Walking, Walking, Everywhere!

Friday, May 03, 2013

This morning, I had to take my car into the shop to get some work done. So I decided that I would walk while I waited!

The mechanic's shop is only about a mile away from my parents' house, and then it is only a couple of blocks to one of the pedestrian entrances to Happy Hollow during the time when my car was being fixed, I hiked out to my parents for a bottle of water, hiked the entire length of the park, and was almost back to the parents house when I got a call from the mechanic that my car was ready. Perfect timing - and I made it almost 5.75 miles in the slightly-less-than-two-hour wait!!

Plus, the park is beautiful!

Then I went home and finished up the the raw walnut and mushroom stuffing for today's potluck at the food cooperative. It's pretty simple, but there are specific instructions on how to mix in the food processor - so lots of pics!

Once I finished, I refrigerated the stuffing for a couple of hours while I took a nap! Then I stuffed the stuffing into romaine leaves and headed to the potluck! It was a vegan-themed potluck - there was bread, a garlic mustard and lentil stew, beans, and an entire buffet of different sprouted beans and grains...YUM!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STODD251 5/10/2013 8:22AM

    That sounds like a great way to use the time waiting for the mechanic! I wish my mechanic was near a place like that, but alas they're in the middle of a city with nothing pretty around.

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EASTENDCLAM 5/7/2013 4:02AM

    Beautiful park and the pot-luck offering looks delish.

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CHERRYTOMATO 5/5/2013 12:21AM

    Wow, that stuffing looks YUM! Love that idea. ANd I have a huge bag of walnuts from the neighbour.... I should try it! I think all I would need is mushrooms.

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IGSBETH 5/4/2013 4:22PM


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SPARKLINGHOPE 5/4/2013 11:44AM

    Very nice!

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SHARJOPAUL 5/4/2013 9:27AM

    Looks like you had a great day!!!!!

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    The walk looks lovely, and the food looks so delicious!

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LOOKINGUP2012 5/4/2013 8:01AM

    Lovely walk! the stuffing looks so yummy. This was a fantastic day!

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MLH148 5/4/2013 7:14AM

    You are my idol! How many peoplw would just sit and read or go for coffee during that 2 hour wait?
Stuffing looks awesome! I am sure it will be a hit at the potluck-- so much more impressive than a bag of chips or a cream cheesy dip!

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Vacation Day 1: All About Food!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Today was EXACTLY what I needed to start recharging myself!

Standard recipes are so hard - especially the way I cook! Which is add a dash of this and mix until it looks right, then cook it until it smells right....well, I'm not quite that bad, but you get my drift! So instead of just the recipes, here is a mini-photo-journal chronicling my food experiments (cooking AND gardening)!

I started off by soaking beans and marinading mushrooms! One of my recipes - a favorite for tomorrow's potluck at the cooperative - is a raw walnut and mushroom stuffing:

The mushrooms need to marinade overnight, so I turned my attention to a mock chicken salad, made with tempeh:

Pictured here, 1 serving served in a pita pocket - aka my lunch!

Then I cooked the beans. I had rehydrated/sprouted black beans and garbanzo beans today. I started with the garbanzo beans, and made a roasted red pepper hummus:

Then I made black bean burgers - this is an adaptation of the recipe I created for the community garden party last summer, and is still a summertime favorite for me! For more of a "meaty" taste, substitute peppers with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme - also a delicious version, I just didn't use it this time!

After I finished cooking and stocking the fridge with healthy, homemade food, I headed to my community garden plot. I hadn't been in more than 3 weeks, thanks to my crazy schedule - and in that time, it has frozen, hailed, stormed, flooded - so my hopes weren't high for any of my first plantings to still be alive. But I needed to till the rest of the plot (I had only tilled one row), get in my tomato and pepper seedlings, and plant more lettuce, swiss chard, radishes, and arugula.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find several greens had actually sprouted - they're still tiny, but they lived! Check out what I accomplished in the two hours I spent at the garden today!



My new seedlings!

The greens that sprouted despite the crazy IN weather!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STODD251 5/10/2013 8:20AM

    Sounds like you have been very productive! Almost makes me want to go prepare some foods for myself this weekend!

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IGSBETH 5/3/2013 1:09PM


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BUTTERFLY-1976 5/3/2013 12:53PM


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TWNOMWE 5/3/2013 12:45PM

    emoticon Great job on food preparation and gardening.
I need to start a garden.

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SPARKLINGHOPE 5/3/2013 12:39PM


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KALISWALKER 5/3/2013 10:27AM

    Thanks for showing your meal preparation! Great exercise gardening!

Let's get our 5%

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EASTENDCLAM 5/3/2013 3:49AM

    Yum, I'll be right over! You got a lot done in the garden, don't forget to Spark the minutes.

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MLH148 5/2/2013 9:59PM

    So fun to visit your kitchen

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Wrapping up April - and thanks for sticking by me!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


April is the worst month of the year for me - and the best, all at the same time!

I work for an environmental non-profit, so I attend a lot of river clean-ups, water monitoring trainings and outings, Earth Day events - etc. So it's great, in that I'm active and outdoors, I'm seeing a lot of familiar faces and meeting a lot of new people, visiting a lot of different state parks and other venues...

But it's bad in that my routine goes wrong every time! I'll work until 8 or 9 at night, then have to be on the road at 4 the next morning. And I usually work Saturdays and Sundays all through the month, so I don't have a lot of time for grocery shopping and food prep.

Over the years, I've gotten better about freezing foods in advance, so that I have home-made "TV dinners" ready to go. But every year, I have to fight to avoid the drive-thrus, make myself work out...and towards the end of the month, I really petered out!

I haven't worked out (aside from carrying supplies and walking) in almost two weeks. I've eaten a lot more sodium and sugar than usual, since I've been supplementing my homemade food with convenience food and (despite my best efforts) takeout and delivery.

I'm worn out, and so happy that I have a 4 1/2 day weekend coming up! I never like how I feel at the end of a busy month. I feel bloated, and tired, and grouchy, and it's a fight to get myself back on track and start washing all of that gunk out of my system!

And I always feel bad because I've neglected my friends. My friends here at home, and my Sparkfriends! I barely kept up with the 5% challenge this year - and there were a lot of days when I didn't post any points for my team. Towards the end of the challenge, I regained a couple of pounds, and that probably also reflected badly. And I haven't been good about staying in touch - and I've missed the community and the interaction!

I'm scaling back my goals in light of April set-backs.

First and foremost, I am going to find balance. I'm going to balance my personal and professional lives. I'm going to balance healthy goals with an active lifestyle (active as in physically fit, and as in actually seeing my friends and engaging in the community again!)

I'm going to focus on home cooking everything, and only allowing myself one meal out with friends a week. Everything else needs to be healthy and homemade!

I'm going to focus on (finally!) starting P90X, and working back up to a 5K - seeing as how I haven't run in a month, I want to ease back in! Start off slow - build up the P90X strength training exercises until I can do the whole workout with good form. Supplement with Zumba and running and bootcamps until I'm back in shape and can safely do the harder P90X cardio routines. I remember plyometrics - and I'm not ready for it now!

We all do the best we can with what we've got. I could have done better in April. I could have done more to stay active, or to stay away from unhealthy foods. But life happens - it's done and over with now - and I'm ready to take a deep breath, put aside everything that happened last month, and move forward with my goals!

Happy May, everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMLADYONE 5/1/2013 9:22PM

    It sounds like you need a bit of a break. As you say, no point in regretting it, just decide what you want to do differently and you'll get headed in the right direction.

I'm having a bit of a "break" between 5% challenges too. I've just started a new workout called Iron Strength that has a lot of plyometrics in it and I'm giving myself a month to work up to be able to do the whole thing in good form. Boy, did I need this workout, so I know where you are coming from. To start, I'm doing the isometric forms.

Good luck in the Summer 5%!

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BUTTERFLY-1976 5/1/2013 11:17AM

    emoticon emoticon

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WALTERSLOSA 5/1/2013 9:10AM

    Keep up the motivation! Maybe you could invite your friends over for a healthy potluck or grill. It'll be practice for Memorial Day weekend.

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TANYA602 4/30/2013 5:53PM

    Stick with the positives, and you are doing great in the midst of your crazy schedule! P09X sounds intriguing. Probably something that would kill me! ha! I hope May smooths out and that you find a peaceful groove!

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STODD251 4/30/2013 2:46PM

    You've got a good attitude heading into May and it seems like you've got some fun stuff planned. I think at some point down the road, I might need to look into P90X or something similar to do at home. Sometimes, I get lazy when I have to physically go somewhere to work out...

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IGSBETH 4/30/2013 1:08PM

    Here's to a better month in May!

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BLUEROSE73 4/30/2013 12:41PM

    Sounds like you had a very busy month in your professional life, and have a good plan to get your personal fitness/nutrition back on path. I'm glad to hear you love what you do also. It helps when you have months like this. I can't wait to hear how well you did in May

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Today I did the unthinkable - and I'm bleeding for it!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I have to preface this blog: I've only ever had dogs!

Dogs are easy. They're eager to please, and having had labs and lab mixes my whole life, they always liked water.

So I don't always know what to do with Miss Kitty, because cats are harder to understand. Which is why, when I mentioned that Miss Kitty was shedding and a little stinky, and a very sadistic friend told me I should just give her a bath, I didn't realize that I was being played!

And when De-Trash the Wabash was canceled, I figured that this was my chance to get Miss Kitty all clean and smelling sweet, steam clean the carpets, and mop the floor. You know, all part of spring cleaning...

That's right, Sparkfriends. Today I gave Miss Kitty a bath.

The horror....

She was upset when I first got her fur a little wet, but she didn't mind the shampoo. I think she liked the attention at first. But then it was time to rinse the soap out of her fur. And that was when the carnage began.

I tried to get her back in the kitchen sink, and she yowled. She scratched at me, and when I didn't let go she grabbed the ceramic jar of cooking utensils - which, kudos to Miss Kitty for her innovation - and dragged it into the sink with her.

It created a huge mess, broke the ceramic jar, but it was FUNNY! And while I was laughing my A$$ off, she escaped and ran under my bed.

Side note: last night, as in LITERALLY last night, I bought a new bedspread and bed skirt.

While I was laughing, the soap-covered, shedding, wet cat climbed under my bed, leaving clumps of soapy wet cat fur on my BRAND NEW bed skirt, and refused to come out. I had to take the mattress and box spring off the frame to get her out.


I managed to get her out and locked us both in the bathroom, and the second I turned on the shower - figuring it would be the fastest way to get the soap off her - she started flipping out. She yowled, and scratched and clawed, and attacked my feet and bit me when I picked her up and put her in the shower...and when she jumped out, and I had to pick her up and put her back in the shower, it started all over again.

Five times in a row before I finally got in the shower with her.

And then she scratched up my neck trying to get away while I stood there, fully clothed, and tried to rinse the soap out of her fur.

Once I wrapped her in a towel, she was happy-ish again - still didn't want to get near the sinks and shower, but glad to be getting dry. And now she's laying near me and grooming herself, so I don't think it did any lasting damage to her kitty ego or anything.

I'm not quite so unscathed. For those with dogs - NEVER give the cat a bath!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FISHINGLADY66 5/2/2013 3:55PM

    Oh My. I just read your blog and ROFL. I have never had a cat. We have always had dogs. Now I know why. LOL I enjoyed reading you blog. Thanks.

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TWNOMWE 4/29/2013 4:18PM

    We have never washed our cats as they are indoor so they groom themselves.
Glad you made up. emoticon

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OUBACHE 4/24/2013 8:22AM

    Oh my! We used to have to give our cats baths before cat shows. There is a method to it and it can be done, but I guess I'm telling you all this too late!!! Anyway, it sounds like you have a great sense of humor about your big adventure!!

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ALIHIKES 4/24/2013 12:20AM

    Enjoyed reading your blog, it brought back fond memories of my cat!

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JEWELMAKER1 4/23/2013 8:40AM

    I have 7 cats, a couple that enjoy water and the rest that really don't. Anyone with a cat has been through the same war...glad the two of you arent' holding a grudge. :-)

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EASTENDCLAM 4/23/2013 4:45AM

    Great story!

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STODD251 4/22/2013 8:11AM

    Oh, I'm so glad I don't have a cat! My dog actually enjoys taking showers, so bathing her is pretty easy...

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TANYA602 4/21/2013 8:17PM

    Oh my gosh! I'm sitting here holding my breath while I'm reading this to see how it all turns out and you did pretty well, actually. Especially if Ms Kitty is still your friend! This sounds like what I did a few years back - I'm sure that the neighbors thought that someone in the neighborhood was being attacked with all the yowling! And then my cat ran outside after all was said and done and we didn't see her for two days. 'Bet you don't try that again! oh my

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FRENCHIFAL 4/21/2013 1:24PM

    Haha, thanks so much! I'm wishing I had gotten some video, it really was a funny experience! And luckily Miss Kitty loves me, so I've only got a couple of real scratches, no bite marks, now that I've showered and gotten some sleep the damage is pretty minimal!

Of course, she's completely over it now, but for the first hour or so after her bath she was shedding a lot more than usual - is that part of the bath or was it stress? Maybe both?

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SPARKLINGHOPE 4/21/2013 11:02AM


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SHARJOPAUL 4/21/2013 9:52AM

    Sounds about like my adventure when I had to bathe a cat I had after he knocked over an oil lamp and got the oil all over him.

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FORMYDARLINGS 4/21/2013 5:16AM

I LMAO reading this. It brought tearsa to my eyes. I also have had the adventure of bathing a cat. Usually it ends with a soaking wet everything and me covered, as are you, in scratches. I now have a dog, thankyou very much. I suggest the groomers is the place for her next bath. It is worth the $30.



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LOWFATFOODIE 4/20/2013 11:16PM

    hahaha! oh my gosh- thank goodness I don't have cats. You'd think someone would invent a cat-enclosure for baths...

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MLH148 4/20/2013 10:04PM

    I came home one night after a long day to be told our cat had fleas. 2 years later I can still see the scar where he bit my hand and would not let go. It's a cat thing.
Glad you both survived!

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Ahhh, the relief...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The food cooperative scheduled a planning meeting, for new and old board members, and a lot of issues came up in the discussion.

Chief among them - the fact that this one problem board member has been attacking other board members, undermining the work of the committees, etc.

And our celebrity keynote had made a lot of recommendations. Most which went against the things our problem board member has been saying and doing.

The bottom line: he resigned. He threw a huge temper tantrum, blamed all of us for his decision (and me in particular) - but he resigned.


Definitely feeling a lot of relief right now!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYLDS 4/14/2013 8:13PM

    so who's throwing the party emoticon

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BUTTERFLY-1976 4/14/2013 9:59AM

    That's good news. What a huge relief for you & the other members

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SHARJOPAUL 4/14/2013 9:12AM

    WOO HOOO!!!!!!!
He may have been involved in a lot of things with the coop, but I bet, that things will run so much smoother that you won't miss what he did at all!

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ADARKARA 4/14/2013 7:45AM

    emoticon Isn't it great when those types get rid of themselves for you?!

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EASTENDCLAM 4/14/2013 6:17AM

    Whew, what a relief. Now back to the business at hand.

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