Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I had great day today! I think any day that is infused with music is a special one, so I really enjoyed our second session of taiko lessons today. The children are having a great time! i'll share this photo with you as it only shows the back of a child's head or an arm on the other side. It gives the feeling of the class without including the identity of the children.
A couple of SP friends have asked for the muffin recipe I made up a couple of days ago. Warning - they are not very sweet. Mike is diabetic and I have stepped away from sugar addiction, so most of the sweet is from fruit.
Chris's Sunny Muffins (makes 12)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and either oil the muffin pan or line with cupcake liners.
2 T. dark brown sugar
1/4 C olive oil
1 C milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C oatmeal plus 2 T golden flax seeds
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
1/4 C died cranberries
1/4 C roasted sunflower seeds
2 T. walnut pieces
Grind the oatmeal and flax seeds into a flour in a food processor or blender
Add to flour, oil, egg, milk, spices, and baking powder. Stir enough to moisten ingredients, then add the fruit, seeds, and nuts. Blend in, then drop by spoonfuls into muffin tins. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes. Cool for 5 or more minutes before serving.
If you like them sweeter, either add sweetener of your choice before baking, or spread with a sugar free jam when done.
Tonight I made a vegetable curry:
Put brown rice on to cook.
Chop 1 small onion and saute in olive oil with 1 T. mustard seeds
When onions are tender, add 1 C Thai yellow curry sauce, 1 C water, and 1 C coconut milk.
Add sweet potato chopped into 1 inch pieces, add to sauce and bring to a low boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
When they begin to soften, add cauliflower flowerettes. I used the golden cauliflower for color. Cook covered for 5 - 7 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
Drain and rinse 1 can of garbanzos. Add to the vegetable mixture and cook uncovered for several minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. Add fresh spinach and cook only long enough to wilt.
Serve with brown rice, and top with fresh cilantro and basil.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I am gradually slipping into my work routine, which means I am generally too busy. On the other hand, I am doing a pretty good job this year of NOT overloading myself and of finding the 'me' time I need.
A major adjustment has been waking up at 5:30. I used to do that so naturally, but somehow after staying up late and sleeping until 8 this summer, it was harder to fall into my early morning routine. I am one of those people who really like the early morning, so it isn't a sacrifice... but it has been an adjustment.
Getting a gym membership and beginning my routine at the gym before school started was a good plan. It has been easy and motivating to keep up my workout routine. Now my days look generally like this:
5:30 up, coffee, eat breakfast
go for a hike with Stella
let the chickens out and feed them
feed the cat and parrot
grab lunch and leave for work
6:30 arrive at work
get the materials and classroom ready for the day
7:30 go for a bike ride
8:00 check in with my colleagues, and finish my preps
8:30 - 3:30 I am 'ON' all of the time with my students
tidy up before heading home
4:00 visit with the chickens and collect the eggs
play frisbee or stick with Stella
prepare dinner and the next day's lunch
5:30 dinner with DH
6:30 go to water aerobics or work out at home
9:00 prepare for bed
Some place in there I find time to check in on SP friends and maybe get to blog. But, honestly, I feel like I use up all of my insightful creativity at work. I wish I could get back to some of my more thoughtful blogs. Maybe on a weekend....
I made some good muffins this evening to go with the vegetable soup I cooked up. I made up the recipe using whole wheat flour, a flour blend I made in my food processor of oatmeal and flaxseeds, fresh apples, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, walnuts, milk, oil, egg (thank you chickens), baking powder, and a tiny bit of sugar since the fruit would sweeten them. I thought they were yummy and Mike loved them.
I am trying to work on some nice fingerpicking for the new songs I am working on. It is still a challenge for me to fingerpick and sing at the same time. I can strum away on the guitar and sing, but when I fingerpick, my fingers don't want to cooperate when I sing. It's coming, though. Right now I am working on 'Forever Young' and 'There But For Fortune.'
My main goal when I started SP in Dec. was to regain health and energy, and looking at where I am today compared to last fall, I have made amazing progress. Last fall, I was in intense pain from sciatica, felt sluggish and depressed, and had absolutely no energy left for anything when I got home from work. This fall I feel like I turned the clock back about a decade.
One of my students brought in this awesome walking stick to show the class before she let it go again. Isn't it beautiful?
Have a lovely evening under this radiant full moon!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I had been doing very well losing weight since I started SP in December. It was slow, but steady progress. I reached my weight goal in July, but still had my 'spare tire'. I resigned myself to it thinking that between hitting 60 and genetics, it was probably just how I am supposed to be shaped. That was okay, because my real goal was to regain strength and energy, losing the extra pounds I had gained over the last 5 years along the way.
My breakthrough was weight training. I have always done some strength training at home, but haven't used the strength training machines for at least a decade. For the last several weeks, I have been meeting with my personal trainer, reacquainting myself with the gym equipment, and learning my new routine. Once I got started with the weight training, I can really see the difference in my body. The spare tire has been dwindling and I am looking much more toned. Along with this has been a boost in my energy and stamina.
My continued goal is: maintain my weight, and build strength and stamina though weight training and cardio workouts.
Today, one of Mike's friends from when they were in the Seabees together, came into town. We haven't seen him for about 4 years. Joe greeted me with, "Wow! Have you lost weight? The last time I saw you, you looked, well...rounder!" Joe is the first person who has commented on my weight loss, I think because everyone else I am around has seen a gradual change, not a dramatic one.
Today when I went out to see if there were any eggs, there were three hens in the nest box. I have never seen that before; usually they take turns. They all looked content and sisterly. No competition - just enjoying each other's company.
At four eggs a day, we have a bit of a surplus. I give some eggs to my colleagues but they really accumulate on the weekend.
Today, I decided to make a quiche. It was a little high in fat, but it was delicious! I started with a whole wheat crust, and covered the bottom of the shell with fresh baby organic spinach. I cooked 1 strip of pepper bacon, and sauteed some red onion. Those were the next layer. While the bacon was cooking, I blended together 6 eggs, Amish lacy swiss, and gruyere cheese, 1 % milk, and a pinch of salt. I poured this over the spinach, bacon, and onions, and put some little chunks of gruyere around the top, then popped it in the oven for 25 minutes.
I served the quiche up with steamed brussels sprouts and a salad of romaine lettuce, cukes, and fresh snap peas. One of the changes I have made in my diet is serving dinner on lunch plates. It is a great way to manage portion control: there is some psychological benefit to having the plate full when the serving sizes are reduced.
Another adaptation I have made was the purchase of small, personal size casserole dishes. They are perfect for desserts because they make just enough for two. No going back for seconds. We don't have dessert every night, but tonight, after reading the Spark article about apples, I felt inspired to make an apple crisp. This one was made with organic gala apples, some dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. I made the crisp with oatmeal, sunflower seeds, a tablespoon of dark brown sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of butter.
Stella was a little miffed that I would post about how warmly cooperative the hens were sharing their nesting box. She routinely shares her meal with our geriatric cat, Tex. Stella likes to pester Tex mercilessly when she is feeling playful, but very generous with him at meal time.
Have a wonderful week, my friends, and remember to share your time and kindness with family, friends, and colleagues.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Each year we bring an artist-in-residence to our school. This year, we brought in a taiko musician to teach children the art of taiko (Japanese drums). Eric is a fabulous teacher and everyone had a great time. My first group to have taiko lessons came back to the room from their lessons saying, "That was sooooo AWESOME!" And it was! I got video of the children learning taiko, but I don't really feel comfortable posting videos of them unless their parents already have on You Tube. So this little clip is of Eric during one of his performances at opening assembly.
This will be a really fun residency. The children will perform on Oct. 1 at the end of Eric's time with us.
I wish there were taiko lessons available for adults around here. Wouldn't that be a great way to keep fit?
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