Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green Diet Challenge

I was thinking about what I was going to say about this Green Diet challenge that I took this past week. I have some Pros and Cons about the whole concept. My biggest Con is the protein. I just felt like I over indulged in carbs. They were good carbs, as I ate allot of fruits, veggies, but all the whole grains. The rice, barley, wheat, pasta. It just felt like the diet was too full of that stuff. So then I modified from the diet a bit in the end and found tofu and vegetable protein to help me out. In the end I will say that I had more energy, my cravings for junk food went away or at bay for a while. I found that I became very regular.

OK TMI I am sure.

In the end I found that my body is now craving for more and more raw foods. So I am going to continue on this eating of raw food and more whole foods. But I am not completely giving up my meat. Have I mentioned how much I love meat?

I have always liked my morning smoothie and kind of wavered from that old tradition. Well I am back to making them with fresh veggies in there. This morning I added some cucumbers and spinach to my blueberries, plum and mango. I used my almond milk and some protein powder. My old time favorite is by Syntrax called Fuzzy Navel. YUM! When I am not lazy I will grind some flax seeds and put that in there. It taste good and keeps me going for the mornings.

I am researching the whole food dehydrators and some other things. I like the idea of not cooking my food at a high temp, but then the whole idea of something that needs to cook for 6-8 hours. Well that sounds like planing. I plan my meals but that sounds like too much planing to me. Come to think of it I do cook with my Crockpot for 6-10 hours for our meals. But this dehydrator thing sounds complicating.

That may not be the best raw idea for me.

I like incorporating more raw foods in my diet so with that I will find where it takes us. As I said before Adam is not committed to go 100% meatless and I do love my meat.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day trip to Williamsburg

I was so sad that my girls trip to New York was canceled but I am so glad that the three of us were able to go down to Williamsburg for the day. I love how everything is so close to us. We are only 2.5 hours from this fantastic place. We made it out of the city by 10am. We set the time to meet at 9am, but you know how that goes so 10am was our actual time to get on the road. We packed some yummy sandwiches and had the cooler filled with diet coke and off were went. Oh Lani introduced me to Mint Oreo Cookie. I wish she hadn't as I could not stop munching on them through out the day. We arrived at the Visitor Center where we found free parking. We decided that we didn't want to spend the money for a day pass and thought we would just walk about without going into the live museums. The walk from the VC is only about 8 minuets to the village so for us who want to save a few bucks it was worth it to not have to pay parking. As we are crossing over the bridge we saw this and loved it so much that I had to take a picture.

It reads "you are now leaving the 21st century. Walk back in time".

Here is Lani and her sister Moana in one of the free churches you can go in and sit and enjoy yourself out of the 100 degree heat. We sat in there for quite a while, in the process was able to hear 2 different groups of tours. They told about the history of the Church and stories about the area back in the day.

Here is a picture of the church from outside. This was a beautiful vegetable garden that we were able to walk through. We also saw some children who were taking buckets to the well to fill and walk these heavy wooden buckets back to water the garden.

I had to take a picture because I just feel in love with these and want to find them for my own garden.

It was a really hot day. But we found this spot to stop and sit under the benches of this tree. We had a nice breeze hit us while we were shading by this giant tree.

We found this darling sandwich shop and since I was going meatless this week I ordered the portabella mushroom wrap which turned out to be divine. So going meatless for the week was a good thing because I don't think I would have ordered this under my normal eating plan.

I have never seen S'mores on a menu before so mostly I ordered it out of curiosity and boy am I glad I did as this was a wonderful treat for the night as well as a idea for future desserts in our home. Who doesn't like a campfire marshmallow?
I guess you can just call it Heaven on a stick. It was fantastic!

We walked, walked and walked, we hit every shop we could go into and we bought some really fun things. You know there are just some people you hang out with that have this shopping energy and in the end you come home with bags of fun stuff. Well these are the girls to go with. I came home with some fun rings a belt that is like no other. Lani found a belt and put it on in front of the mirror. Then the next 1hour we were trying to decide which one she should get. Next thing I know I am trying on the belt. WOW this belt completely transforms whatever you are wearing. So before you know it I am trying on this belt and trying to figure out which one I want and which one Lani wants and if I get this one she can borrow it and if she gets that one I can borrow it. It was so fun and in the end we both walked away with our fantastic over-priced belt. But oh it is so cute!

I saw this in the clearance section in one of the Williamsburg stores. I thought it was darling and I loved how the bowls fit in and how low it is to the ground for my girls. I am always looking to spoil them and get them fun things. So after much debate we went back and I picked up these cute dog food bowls for my little girls. I cleaned them and filled them up and put it on the ground. Lizzy walked right over and started to munch while I was taking a picture. They are both very happy with the bowls.

I was telling a friend of mine how cute these bowls were and what they read.
"The Best Is Not Too Good For You"
She smiled and said yes it is like your dogs can read while they eat. I thought for a moment and then realized I got these dog bowels our of my own vanity.

You know the more I thought about it, the more I am OK with it. I really like these bowels and the saying, it looks great in my kitchen and even though I bought them out of my own vanity I know my girls feel special eating from their new bowls.

At the end of the day we found out that we never really hit the main village we spent the day on the opposite side. So this is a place that I will be making many trips back to. I might even have to buy a season pass so I can get into the living museums.
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12 Surprises From a Cucumber

I had to share these 12 Surprises from a cucumber. I get a weekly email that is set up from my church group and was completely blown away with some of this stuff.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day—including Vitamin B1, Vita-
min B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magne-
sium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Cucumbers provide a quick pick-me-up that can last for hours (thanks to the B vitamins
and carbohydrates).

3. Rub a cucumber on a foggy bathroom mirror and the fog will disappear—and make your
bathroom smell yummy!

4. Placing a few slices in a pie tin in your garden will keep grubs and slugs from ruining your

5. Cucumbers reduce the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles! Just rub on the problem area
and the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten.

6. Cucumbers can help eliminate headaches.

7. Rub a freshly cut cucumber over your shoes, and its chemicals will provide a quick and
durable shine that looks great and repels water!

8. Rub a cucumber slice along a squeaky hinge and the squeak will disappear!

9. Cut up an entire cucumber and place in a pot of boiling water. The chemicals and nutrients react with the water and are released
in the steam, creating a soothing and relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress.

10. Press a slice of cucumber to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to reduce bad breath.

11. Rub a slice of cucumber on your faucets, sinks or stainless steel, and it will remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine—and
it won’t harm your fingers or fingernails!

12. The outside of a cucumber can be used to erase pen writing and remove crayon and marker from the wall.
This information was taken from the New York Times’ “Spotlight on the Home” series.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fantastic Recipes To Try Out

I am thrilled with the smoothie recipe that I tried this morning. It was so tasty that I have to share.

Did you know that Papaya is known for its soothing effects on upset digestive systems?

Stomach Soothing Papaya Smoothi
1 cup cubed ripe papaya
6 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1 TBS lime juice
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth

(If you don't like ginger leave it out.)

For my smoothie I substituted the soy-milk for the fage yogurt (Greek) I wanted a little more protein in my breakfast. I used agave nectar and the juice of a whole lime didn't measure it.

WOW it was one of the best smoothies ever.

Definitely a keeper recipe and regular one around my house. I then had a few handfuls of the Healthy Granola that I made last night. What I liked about this breakfast is the sugar was just right and I didn't get a high from it. I am very sensitive to sugar and so smoothies are a tough thing for me with all that fruit. I found that I had my breakfast at 8am and it lasted me all the way through to 1230pm. Which was pretty cool that I didn't feel like I needed a snack mid morning and it lasted me that long.

As for my lunch - YUM!
Bagel with Hummus and Veggies - I added sliced avocado to it. There is something that I love is sprout and avocado on a bagel. I had this awesome spinach and artichoke humus dip I picked up from Costco and it made the sandwich very tasty. Hubby came home for lunch today and I made him the same sandwich except he wanted wheat bread. I put cheese and turkey on his sandwich. He is not going completely meatless with me. But he did eat the same with a few simple modifications.

I was searching the Internet this morning as I usually do looking for recipes and articles to read. I found this very healthy cookie recipe that is the BOMB!

Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe - OK it is not me, just so you are aware. This is the name of the recipe, it is just ironic that the recipe has my name in it. What intrigued me about the recipe is that it is made with no eggs, sugar or flour. Oh I love that. Healthy to the core and so I had to make it for snacks in the car for tomorrow. I am heading on a girls day trip and wanted something yummy to eat to keep me on track. Here is the recipe, try it you may just get addicted to them.

Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop up 2/3 of a bar of Scharffen berger 70%. I sort-of shaved half the bar with a knife and then cut the rest into bigger chip-sized chunks. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out GF oats.

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Green Diet

This weekend we went away for a mini vacation. I will talk about that later. While on our travels we hit a book store. I always wander over to the cook books and see if there is anything interesting. I usually don't buy them especially at full price. There was something different about this book. Maybe it was the thick pages and the colorful pictures that made the food look appealing to me. The book is called "The Green Diet" by Mary Jolley.

For some reason it has inspired me to look towards other food for a source of protein. I have been trying to go more natural with my food. I try to buy the hormone free dairy and meat. I buy organic when I can and I have tried to stay away from Corn Syrup and read my labels. This weekend at the Hotel we stayed at the jam they had for the toast was apple. I looked at the first few ingredient and it read Corn Syrup and High Fructose Syrup. Are you kidding me that was the first few ingredients in some apple jam? It kind of made me mad, and then it kind of scared me as to what is going into our foods.

I did more research about this author and found out that she has a website. On the site she has a one week challenge. So I have decided to take the challenge and see if I can go without meat for a week. As I know my husband is not so much on board with the meatless life. He will eat what I make and I will have a piece of chicken breast on the side for him with my meatless meals. The diet I found is basically doing what I am already doing. There is not much of a lifestyle change other than eating more whole grains, beans and legumes. I like the idea of no sugar and keeping the dairy low to none.

As earlier this year I did an very extreme diet to help me loose some weight. I lost 20lbs and then have gained back 5lbs. The diet was very restrictive with calories and I had to completely cut out all grains, bread and starches from my diet. Sugar was something else that was not permitted. It was lean meat, veggies and fruit. No fats. With it being so restrictive my craving were insane. It got easier as time went on, but when the 6 weeks was over I could not keep up with the maintenance as I went back to eating whatever, whenever. I think diets are just what it spells. "Die with a T" I am looking for something more as a way of living. Something that gives me the health benefits and energy to live life.

I love my meat don't get me wrong, I am not sure I can give it up but I can add more variety to my diet. I noticed that when I went off the eggs, milk, cheese I felt better. So I think that will not be too hard. It is the meat that I love.

It is for one week, I am taking the challenge and I will come back in a week and let you know how I did.

I officially start tomorrow, but for dinner we had the Rice and Bean Bowl. Of course Adam had chicken with his bowl. It was very tasty and filling. I went ahead and made the Basic Healthy Granola tonight so it will be ready for my breakfast tomorrow. YUM.

The challenge is here. http://mygreendiet.com/category/green-diet-plan/

Let me know if you try it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where's Roxie?

Roxie is usually following me around the house through out the day. She walks with me to the basement to do the laundry, she hangs out in the kitchen when I am cooking, she watches all my tv shows with me or is sitting at my feet while I am on the computer. She is a constant companion to me while I am at home. But the other day I noticed she was no where to be found. I called for her and she never came. Then I went on the hunt to find Roxie and this is where I found her.
BTW - that pillow she is sleeping on was upright when I made the bed that morning. Knowing my Roxie she pushed it down for her own comfort.

Roxie is a girl after my own heart.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th Of July 2010

We had a great 4th of July. We started the day out by going to church in the morning. After church we headed back to the house to have a BBQ. With everyone pitching in we got the lunch on the table fast. With burgers, fruit, veggie and chips. For dessert we had homemade ice cream. YUM!

After lunch a few of us went to take a nap. What a perfect afternoon. Sunday nap!

About 6pm we loaded our cars and heading towards the Pentagon. I love how we only live 12 miles from there. We found our parking just next to the Air Force Memorial and there we made camp for our fireworks watching. We were right across the river with a great view of DC fireworks. I decided I could not handle the crowds and go to the Mall to see the fireworks. After talking with locals I found this was a good place to be and not too crowded.

We had our picnic dinner with family and friends and enjoyed the fireworks.

The display was only 17 mins and it was a good show, but I have to say that I thought Fairfax had a better show. It took us 1 hour to get out of the parking lot and then only 20 mins to go 12 miles. So next year we know to park in the lower lot and found this a great place to start our family tradition.

Morning in Arlington National Cemetery - 3rd of July, 2010

Saturday morning we went to Arlington National Cemetery for the first time. I am so glad we did, what a great way to start off the 4th of July weekend. To be able to go to solemn ground and remember all the men and woman who have sacrificed for our great country. What an amazing experience.

Afterward we got back on the Metro and went to the Eastern Market. We found a great place to eat. Then we went downtown and walked around until we could no longer bear the heat.

After getting home and taking a power nap, Adam and I went to get a sandwich at Subway for dinner then stopped at Safeway to pick up things for the BBQ the next day. When we got back to the house we unpacked the groceries, grabbed out lawn chairs and headed to the park about a block from our house to watch the Fairfax fireworks. It was one of the longest show I have seen and the fireworks were outstanding. I loved the heart that they shot in the air. It was a magical night to sit with my husband and watch the fireworks.