Thursday, February 28, 2013

My motivation

Very powerful message.
This sums up my motivation to do the best I can to have the best health I can. 

Childhood obesity

I'm not a political person.  As a matter of fact I am a registered non-partisan as I vote for the "lesser of two evils" when it comes down to it.  My voting history has shown I have voted either way, depending on the issues and the person.

So this post has nothing to do with my political preference.  It has to do with how I'm impressed with Michelle Obama's fight against childhood obesity and the promotion of healthy eating and exercise.

There was an article on Yahoo called "Some results of First Lady's anti-obesity effort".  You can click on the title to read the entire article if you want.
The first lady has been dedicated to informing the public and working to get healthier lunches and updating the nutritional requirements for schools.  She has been trying to get the junk food out of schools and to require healthier alternatives.  She also has been pushing for a more active lifestyle for kids.  More exercise and recess time for children.

She is getting companies such as Wal-Mart to start packaging food with less sodium and less sugar as well as influencing other companies to provide nutritional information on their products.  This also branches out to restaurants providing better options for the children's menus other than hot dogs or macaroni and cheese.

I personally love the addition of salad bars in schools.  It gives the kids the opportunity to have the freedom to choose what they want and those options being healthier.  My high school had a salad bar, and I hit it often.

I laugh when I hear that people complain that this effort is a government intrusion on people's rights to choose what they eat.  It's funny because people don't realize that the government has been influencing what you have been eating and drinking for decades. 

Here are two terms you know and both of them proven to cause heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and obesity (to name a few).  Remember "got milk?" or "It's beef, that's what's for dinner."?  Who funds those billions of dollars for advertising?  Think about it.

I don't see any billboards or commercials on eating fruits and vegetables.  There are no profits in fruit and veg.

For those parents ticked that their children are being "forced" to eat healthier, my response would be that they have a choice.  If they don't want their children to eat healthy food, they can always pack them a lunch of fat, salt and sugar.
All I have to say is go Michelle go on this one!  


A friend of mine at work has a Korean roommate and she brings in all sorts of loveliness in for lunch (that and her finance cooks amazing Indian food).  Needless to say when she heats her lunches I always run to her desk and ask what it is she's eating because it smells so good.

This morning she brought me some Kimchi.  It was so delicious!  Full of flavor, had nice heat and I just wanted more!  Believe me, I asked for the recipe! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bella, Pokemon and a good story

When I went to Nanna and Nannu's to pick up the kids after work, they were both coloring and drawing.  Bella is really getting into Japanese Anime and has been a Pokemon kid for some time now...for at least three years or so.  She loves all things Pokemon.  She knows most of the characters and their different life phases.  Yeah, now I'm getting into stuff I have no clue about.  It makes no sense to me what's going on.
Here is a quick drawing of Pikachu, which I believe this is his name and size during his second phase of life.
Unfortunately art alone won't get you into college.  So we try and make sure she gets that extra reading time in each day.  Especially those days when she has no homework.  Bella likes to read aloud to me while I cook most times.  I like listening to the stories while I work away.  Most are pretty hilarious these days.

Some favorites

I'm trying my best to think of fast meals on week nights because time isn't on my side.  Especially those evenings when I exercise and not get home until just after 7pm.  Chris helps plenty by assisting Bella with her homework, getting Kris bathed and getting them fed if they are starving.  Sometimes I tell him when I get to Jazzercise to throw some sweet potatoes in the oven or to chop this or that if he has time.  It all helps.  The goal is to not eat and then have to go straight to bed. 
Tonight I made something quick with all the items being on my favorites list.  French lentils are my preferred lentil to use for cold salads because they still keep their texture and have a nice meaty taste.  I make my lentil salad exactly the same as I make barley or rice salad.  Chop up my favorite crunchy veg that I have on hand, a little olive oil, juice of a lime, salt and pepper. 
I love pinto beans!  This was just a can of rinsed (If found Goya brand doesn't have the BPA liner) pinto beans, chopped baby bok choy, salt, pepper and a smidgen of olive oil. Stir it up until the bok choy is just wilted. That's it.
There they are! I just love roasted cauliflower. I purposely brown them because those brown bits turn sweet. It's the only way to eat this veg. Super awesome and super easy.  This time I tossed in some onion because we all know caramelized onion is the bomb!  Just veg, little olive oil, salt & pepper.  Toss about and bake at 450 until nice and browned.
Here they are all together.  Boy I hate how my pictures come out.  I need to work on that, or get better lighting in my kitchen. 

I do have some bulbs out...better get with maintenance on that.

Stir fry it is

I try every weekend to pre-bake a bunch of brown rice so that I can portion out and have ready for quick meals.  I always tend to go the way of the stir fry when I am short on time. 
For this batch of rice I mixed rye berries in with the brown rice.  Made it very hearty.  This "toss about" had broccoli slaw, sweet pea pods, kale, onion, peppers, mushrooms and my last batch of seitan.  I spiced it up with curry powder, Braggs and salt & pepper.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An amazing night

What can I say...Muse was awesome live.  It was the perfect night.  We strolled downtown, parked and walked to eat.  Then we walked to the venue and grabbed a drink and found our seats.  We met a really cool couple with the same music interests and we just hung out and waited for Muse to start.  They played songs from all of their albums and rocked the house!  I'm so happy we went!  Wish I could see them again...right now!

We weren't right up front, but we were in the perfect spot for me.  I could see them, hear them and still get up and dance like a freak. said you would be back.  Please do!  I'll be there.

Fair fix

You know what I'm talking about.  That darn fair food and how the smell just lures you in.  You can't avoid it no matter where you go.  It's everywhere and it has that signature smell.  Seems to travel where ever you go throughout the fair. 

Back in the day, I would have made sure to get a fully loaded Gyro with all the fixins.  Extra onion yogurt sauce included please.  Now I can't eat that anymore and I surely don't want to.  Well...I do miss that cucumber, dill yogurt sauce....  I can still make it, but different.

For dinner, we enjoyed some fair food.  Vegan style.
 Pan seared some peppers, onions and mushrooms.
 Pan seared some Field Roast vegan Italian sausage.  I know, I know....I can't go gluten free or processed food free with this nonsense, but I had only three links left and I wanted Fair Food! 
I had a fresh baked loaf of Cuban bread I picked up from the my corner produce market (Bella insisted - she goes crazy for Cuban bread) and thought it would be the best option for my Fair food fix.

Turned out great!  Only problem was when I took a bite, the stuff flew out the other side.  I suppose I should not have sliced the bread all the way through.  I'm not a pro, but it all managed to make it down my gullet. 

Fair fix was satisfied. 

The County Fair

Bella won first place in her division of 4th graders at the county fair.  We are so proud of her.  It's a mask but instead of placing the normal human features on it, she decided to draw a medieval scene with jewel embellishments.  Go Bella!  This is her second placing in the fair and first reward.
I thought this bunny was the cutest thing I had ever seen.  Just wanted to take "it" home and call it George.
 I thought this was the most beautiful rooster I had ever seen.  The colors were amazing.
This guy was gorgeous and also massive. Possibly the largest rooster I've seen. Somebody loves him.
Chris riding this super scary roller coaster with the kiddos.  Kristjan enjoyed all his rides with a smile and Bella now has no fear. She was able to ride some rides that I didn't even fancy.  Go Bella!
We had three tickets left so Kris's only option one last ride on the little peep rides. He said this was boring, but I saw him smiling none the less. 

The fair is always an experience.  I see things that scare the hell out of me.  But all in all the kids love it, and Chris and I - even though we won't admit it, find ourselves smiling.

Supporting local farmers

I love to visit my local corner produce stand because it supports local farmers, the food didn't have to travel half the planet to get to me and also I save money.  Twenty eight dollars got me:
Cubanella peppers, onions, cucumbers, limes, beets, cherry tomatoes, baby bok choy, two bunches kale, cilantro, head of cauliflower...
Swiss chard, cabbage, two bins strawberries, sweet potatoes, sugar snap peas, avocado and radishes.

And those strawberries are so sweet.....yum!  I love my corner market place. :)

Friday, February 22, 2013


Here is my ideal food pyramid and the one I'm sticking to. I have complete faith in this philosophy for a healthier life and better nourished body.

It's been a while since I stood on my soap box, so here goes.

I am convinced that there is a vicious circle rotating around us.  People are overweight, yet malnourished and sick.  Most diseases are from lifestyle choices and can be reversed or avoided.

The vicious cycle:  GMO crops to grow faster + Pesticides to kill bugs better + drugs to keep livestock well + drugs to make livestock grow faster + convince the public to eat the livestock + people get sick + heath care costs for the sick people + prescribe drugs to sick people .... repeat.

They are all cashing in on us and us being unwell.  Depending on our sickness.  It makes them lots of money.

On a lighter note.  I am going to again experiment to see if perhaps I have an allergen or allergens for my constant hay fever type symptoms.
So back to the drawing board.  Omit one at a time, see how I feel.  If nothing changes, omit the next....repeat.

Can't wait!

I have butterflies in my tummy.
Tomorrow night is the night and I'm so very excited!  Just like a kid! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yummy stuffed peppers

Yep, back into "thrive" mode. Been reading and listening about nutritional info again and it has me all pumped up. 
Roasted some Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
 Stuffed peppers!
 Stuffed these guys with brown rice, rye berries, red kidney beans, mushrooms, onions, little Braggs, nutritional yeast and topped with crushed tomato.
I made sure to portion out lunches for tomorrow before leaving the kitchen to eat, otherwise there would not have been any leftovers!  I could munch on these until I blew up. Sometimes it's hard to watch your portions.  :)

Chick them peas

Last night I burst open a can of chick peas, rinsed them off, drained them, tossed them in a tad of olive oil, salt and pepper then put them in the oven to roast.

Out came these crunchy meaty delights!  I love roasting chick peas.  I always forget to just by a slew of cans and roast a huge batch because I always want to just eat them right out of the oven and both Chris and I have a hard time holding back!  Next time I will make a large batch.  This way I'll have enough to snack on - more than once!
Lunch today was a tossed salad and on that salad I have some roasted chick peas!  I also sprinkled more chia seeds.  See them?  The crunchiness of the chickpeas doesn't last too long though when you dress the salad, but it's still great.

I made one of my favorite dressings of lime with agave and it's light and healthy.  It's the juice of about eight limes, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, a small splash of olive oil, a little water and agave nectar to taste.  Emulsify and serve and store the remaining in a container in the frig.  This made enough for a few servings.  Cheaper than from the store, better for me, fresh and I know what the ingredients are.

Back to Brendan


It's been a while since I read or watched any of Brendan Brazier's material.  He now has a super cool website called Thrive Forward.  This site is very useful (to me) because he has videos, recipes, and easy to understand literature on all sorts of topics including stress, sustainability, longevity, digestion, mood, optimal weight, sleep, energy and immune functions.  All focusing on being whole foods and plant based.  
Brendan reminded me of the importance of plant based verses animal based sources for amino acids and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids. Those can be found from hemp, chlorella, flax, walnuts and also chia seeds above.  My friend introduced me to this lovely breakfast.  Just soak some chia seeds in almond milk and some cinnamon overnight and the next morning add a little maple syrup and you have chia pudding!  So delicious!  
My breakfast for work today! You either love it or hate it. I am the only chia pudding lover in the house. I don't mind, that means more for me.  I do however like to sprinkle chia seeds on salads and other dishes.  They don't seem to mind that. 
Today's snacks.  It changes up a bit depending on what fruit I can get in season.  Right now strawberries are in season so they are actually sweet for a change.  I nibble all day.  I'll eat all of this today, but won't finish the nuts.  That's about three days worth.  This doesn't include my lunch. 

Sometimes I change my snacks up and have apples with peanut butter, hummus with veggies, soy yogurt, or a baggie of my favorite dry cereal.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On the light side

I had the privilege of being able to work from home today because there was no school and ended up eating too many helpings of leftovers for breakfast and lunch.  I went off my usual daily diet of fruits, nuts and shakes and decided to pig out on leftovers all day (macaroni and not cheese).  I thought it was best to make dinner a light one.
 I was also chilled most of the day, so I opted for soup verses salad.  This was a concoction of carrots, onions, garlic, zucchini, potatoes and farfalle pasta in vegetable and crushed tomato broth (leftover crushed tomatoes I had left from last night's dinner prep). 
The soup would have been enough, but I had a roll of polenta and couldn't resist to sear some.  They went great with the soup.

I'm bummed this day of working from home and hanging with the kids is almost over.  Tomorrow is back to the daily routine of rushing and chaos.

I'll have to find a day this week to visit our county fair.  I never attend these things.  I'm not a fair person.  I do go however when my Bella has been awarded the opportunity to have her art entered in the fair art contest.  This year she said she made a three dimensional mask.  I can't wait to see it.

So proud of her. 

Macaroni and Not Cheese

Made another batch of Engine2's macaroni and not cheese.  I didn't have the roasted red peppers it called for so I used some crushed tomato instead.  Turned out just fine.  Threw in some mushrooms and asparagus for added texture.

I made a batch of Timpana for a friend as well.  Smelled so heavenly.  Wished I could have had some! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weekday and weekend

My weekday view from my office at work. Notice I have some green friends to keep me company. With all I have to deal with I am thankful to have a room surrounded by windows. 
My weekend view.  Would much rather see this every day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ok, I can do this

Get with the program Vanessa! 
Time to get back to my carrots.  Instead of my usual breakfast of a banana, peanut butter and almond milk shake I will alternate that along with a few days of carrot and apple juice. 
I made a batch of French lentil salad.  Love this stuff.  Seasoned only with salt, pepper and lime juice.
Roasted Beets.  I like to snack on these as is.
Dinner this evening was a tossed fresh kale salad, some leftover grilled veg sausage, roasted beets and my lentil salad.  Used up the last of my precious miso dressing.

My kitchen stalker. Always hoping for something to make it to the floor. It's a nice to have a mobile vacuum cleaner but at the same time, he's right under my feet and I may end up crushing him and cracking my skull. Most of the time I end up barricading him out so I can cook without worrying about busting my butt. He will always get his his bowl.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tossing it up

Today was a great day for me.  I spent the day with Bella.  We went out and ran some errands, did a little shopping and just hung out.  Bella wanted to do it again soon, and we will.  Bella needed some new sneakers so we went on a quest for some. 
These are what she wanted. Chris told her that Justin Bieber called and wanted his shoes back.  What's a mom to do?  They were on sale, she liked them, they are comfortable...whatever.  As long as all of her important parts are covered, I really don't care. 

These days, anything goes.  Matching is old school.  Freedom of expression and artistic preference is all the rage now.  Or maybe it's just another fad of the ages.

I ended up stopping by the new Whole Foods in town.  Now we have two.  Still both are far from home, but I'll still make the trip when I can.  It's worth it.
When we got home I was too tired to get to heavy into cooking so it was the perfect opportunity for a tossed veg salad.  I sprinked it with some Chia seeds for good measure.
I've been back on gluten and honestly need to again try and omit.  Until then, I had to use up some of the delish Field Roast vegan sausage I had to top on the salad.
A must have when I visit Whole Foods is to pick up a bottle of this locally made dressing.  This stuff rocks!