Health – A Year Later


As I have not been using this blog, I have not tracked my successes and failures in keeping healthy. Please note I call it healthy rather than ‘slim’, ‘trim’, or ‘skinny’ as these words do not describe my idea of healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I know it is unhealthy to carry too much fat on one’s body, and I do like to fit into my clothes without feeling like the buttons are going to pop, but healthy is more than just measurements and appearance.  

 

However….I am SHOCKED by my big fail over the past year.  I have been mindful of eating well (family dinners have been regular and always organic, healthy foods).  I have enjoyed many fun games with the kids..a great way to exercise and bond at the same time.  The fail happened recently….over the summer vacation when my common sense just seems to fly out the window.  You see, we love to do day trips and spur of the moment adventures’ which I am totally useless and planning for in terms of food.  We end up eating out all the time and my love of pasta and rich sauces seems perfectly reasonable when I am paying for it and someone else is cooking it…not to mention  the accompanying drink that seems just part of the package!   

In addition, I have not danced in months.  My schedule was the initial block, followed by the dance studio closing for the summer.  I did not realize just how much that exercise helped me stay fit!  

Here are the stats from last August:

Weight: – 144lbs

Height:  - 5’6″

Waist: – 33.5″

Chest: – 37.5″

Hips: – 40″

Thigh: – 22.5″

 

Now take a look at today’s stats….eek!

Weight: – 152 lbs

Height:  - 5’6″

Waist: – 35″

Chest: – 39″

Hips: – 40″

Thigh: – 23″

 

What on earth????  So reality hits home and I am disappointed in myself because I had done so well with my plan from February.  Blast those wonderful summer days of over-indulgence and zero self-discipline.  Mental note to self – be mindful of summer temptations and be stricter about packed lunches.  (Yes, I know I wanted to get away from the grind of making packed lunches every day which we need for school…but I can’t let myself go like this again!)

I will be posting my efforts to get my curvy but not quite so uncomfortable body back.  I will also share the daunting  but very worthwhile attempt and joining Team in Training for a half-marathon.  Yep…I am going to try :)  More on that soon..I just have to get up the nerve to send in the application forms…can anyone say procrastination?

Breakfast Sandwiches – Mediterranean Style!


Simple meze of feta cheese and olives: charact...

 

Today is the last day of summer vacation for the boys.  We are about to head off on a family day out….not sure where..we like to just go and see where we end up :)    To set us up for the adventure,  I made a delicious breakfast for the family.

My boys are beginning to appreciate stacking and building food, burger-style.  Peanut tends to add more variety than does Button, but adapting the presentation of the food, a la family style, helps encourage them to experiment.  Scouring the fridge for ingredients my boys might eat, I pulled together the following hearty and protein-packed breakfast. Continue reading

Getting Back on Track!


healthI have been very busy lately. It is summer and I have been avoiding the rut I got into last year of blogging all day. Instead, family time has been a priority. I was hoping that the more relaxed schedule, the ability to sleep in past 5am, and the absence of work stress would help me feel less tired.

You see, I have been fighting fatigue for some time now. My doctor gave me the all clear, reminding me that I have been more than stressed for the past three years as my son battled leukemia. I feel now, however, that I should have recovered more from that than my body actually has. I will never ‘relax’ and forget about it all, but I don’t have the immediate stress of the illness anymore. So what is going on?

Continue reading

Family Fun


Yankee Stadium on July 1, 2010

Yankee Stadium on July 1, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love the summer when we pack up the boys and three generations head off to watch the Yankees play. We sometimes have good seats, sometimes not so great, but it is always the buzz that keeps us happy. Nana and Poppa, Nana Haze, Uncle Ricky, my hubby and my boys…all my favorite people in one place watching my favorite team.

I don’t eat hotdogs, but they are delicious when they cost more than any sane human being would generally be willing to pay for them.  I am not a big beer drinker; but I love the flat, easy to spill water with some bubbles and a color reminiscent of pee…and generally chug a few while I cheer for the Yankees (even more if they are losing).

I often sit and soak up the enormity of the stadium.  Yes, it is large, but I really mean the history behind it (with the old stadium), and the possibilities for the memories that will be created for generations to come in the new stadium.  I know my boys will be sitting in those seats with their own children, eating hotdogs (goodness only know what they will cost then…but they will be REALLY delicious), and there is the possibility that I will be included as the grandmother, in keeping with the three generations that visit and cheer together today.

I do like the game, but there is so much more to the experience.  Soaking it all in with the eyes of a child, marvelling at the architecture so obviously paying homage to the old stadium, but infusing a new hope in its design.  I imagine myself at the old games, I mean really old games..watching the greats of yesteryear making history.  Strangely, I usually view these montages in black and white, even on the sunniest of days.

I love Yankee stadium, spending special time with my family and cheering on between mouthfuls of junk and watery bubble pee.  It is magical in a special way…I never went as a child, so I am a child when I go now…I just have to remember to keep an eye on the kids from time to time!

Summer Smoothies


I am a Smoothie fan. I like to create my own versions and discover new and interesting tastes. Not everything works out, especially as I am not good at following measuring rules, but sometimes I hit the jackpot!

My shining glory this morning was a recipe inspired by recent posts on other blogs to do with Kale. I am not a lover of this green, leafy vegetable, but I do know how wonderful it is nutritionally. Naturally, I have never managed to get my kids to eat it, as I don’t cook it much. Continue reading

Organic? New York Times Article


Eden Farms

Having read the New York Times article on the lack of ‘organic’ in our organic food, I am very disturbed by the latest revelations. It seems that we cannot buy real food anymore. We can buy almost real food, but there is always something added or modified. I, like so many others, felt okay buying the overpriced organic options, after all, they had been certified and followed the rules of untarnished, un-poisioned (my own word) food right? Apparently not!

Eden Foods seems to be in the small minority of companies that actually care about providing truly organic products in non-toxic cans and packaging. I strongly suggest all those who can afford it, buy many shares in that company now!

But what of us Joe Shmo’s who just want to feed our children healthy food without going bankrupt? When big companies buy up smaller organic companies, the prices might can come down a little. Of course now I know why. And what about meat? I eat meat, but cannot afford the cost of organic meat too often…which can be a good thing as I’m forced to eat more veggies :) However, it makes finding restaurants that serve organic meats very hard to come by!

So, super-companies are reducing our ability to buy real organic food…they have the majority share of the food industry and are manipulating the way food is deemed to be considered organic. What can we do about this?

Many people are shouting out that we should skip the stores altogether and buy locally grown produce from our Farmer’s Markets. Others suggest being careful but not overly dramatic about the issue. I am sure that there are also many who have just thrown in the towel, as time and money are just too limited to cook from scratch everyday or buy the more expensive goods.

Personally, I’d like to focus more on asking why this is allowed in the first place. This has become public and a major paper has written about it. We all need to shout out and be heard…write to our member of congress, respond to the article, petition stores, boycott products.

How should we, as a nation of consumers, win back our rights to real food?

Pinterest Obsessed?


I’m really loving Pinterest lately. I have noticed a wee dribble of traffic coming from there, but I actually get addicted to pinning and looking at what everyone else has pinned. Want to plan a meal? Go to Pinterest and see what looks yummy, click and ‘voila!” you have a new recipe! Need inspiration for a decorating makeover? There are SOOOO many great ideas to use. Don’t forget to check out the post on my last Pinterest find here. Continue reading

Linky Party – Mantle – A Pinterest Favorite


I have been pinning things to Pinterest for some time now. I notice something interesting, crafty, eye-catching or inspiring and with a quick flick of a key, it’s pinned to my boards like magic!

One of my most re-pinned pins is this:

Fireplace

It is exactly how I’d like my mantle to look but I still haven’t got around to doing it yet. Continue reading

Food for the Fourth!


Happy Fourth of July

This morning has been quite fun. I had my tush kicked in a game of Stratego with Button who definitely had the upper hand being that it was my first time. I thought I had laid out all my players in a strategic order and hidden my flag well. Nope! Button scooted around every bomb I’d placed, managed to scoop up my spy, and take all my high numbered men within about five minutes. Luckily, I’m a quick learner and now have my own set of plans for the next game! I did not miss the irony that my American kid beat his English mommy on this historic day :)

Yesterday the Fourth of July festivities began. We had the first party and Peanut’s first Friendship League game. Naturally both occurred at the same time so we decided to divide and conquer: Daddy and Peanut went to game first them party; Nana, Button, and myself went to the party from the beginning.

Today we were invited to two parties and decided which one to attend based on the fact we had just spent a lot of time with one group of friends and felt we should see the other group. Thankfully, all my friends are very easy going and there are no hard feelings. (We are also going camping with the group we are not seeing so we have plenty together time soon.)

Naturally I needed to prepare dishes for the parties. The weather is hot and I really didn’t feel like my usual heavy sides of Stilton and creme fraise mashed potatoes, or roasted carrots and parsnips. Instead I opted for lighter faire.

My first dish was Greek Spinach-Pasta Salad with Feta and Beans. For this I used the following:

Baby spinach
I can of great Northern Beans
Feta Cheese
Dried tomatoes (I like Sundried)
Green onions
Garlic
Lemon for lemon peel and lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh oregano
Fresh lemon thyme or thyme
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dried farfalle pasta (I used the gluten free organic type but not my usual whole grain as I was not sure many people would go for it…my kids remarked at how pale the pasta was and turned their noses up at it!!!)
Shaved Parmesan cheese

Pasta salad

In a large serving bowl I combined 5-6 ounces of spinach, 15 ounces beans, 4 ounces of the Feta cheese, 1/4 cup of the dried tomatoes (not oil packed), 2 chopped green onions, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of finely shredded lemon peel, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and oil, 1 tbsp of oregano or thyme, followed by a pinch of salt and pepper. Once all ingredients were added and stirred in, they were covered and left to stand for just over two hours at room temperature.

greek pasta salad

Kitchen Tools

Once it was almost time to leave for the party, I cooked the pasta until it was al dente (about 7 minutes), then drained reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. I then tossed the cooked pasta and pasta water with spinach salad mixture. Shaved Parmesan cheese topped the dish and the results were delicious.

Pasta Salad

For the second party, later today, I will make a delicious Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

After draining and rinsing the beans, I will combine them all in a large bowel and add the chopped celery, onion, parsley, and rosemary. I like to make these really finely chopped as my kids prefer the texture.

I will then whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowel. I’ll drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. This dish is best served at room temperature.

Such easy dishee which taste delicious. The kids can help too. Happy Fourth of July everyone!