Wednesday, November 30, 2011

what i ate wednesday: issue 11

Another Wednesday, another WIAW.

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl of Kashi GoLean Original mixed with Post Great Grains Cranberry Almond Crunch, 1/2 sliced banana, and almond milk with black coffee.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack: a banana and almonds.

Figure 4. Dinner: wild mushroom and herb couscous (Near East) topped with yummus (2T hummus + 4T plain Greek yogurt = and toasted walnuts alongside roasted Brussels sprouts.

For simple roasted Brussels sprouts:
Trim the stems off of ~1lb Brussels sprouts and cut each sprout in half. Toss lightly in oil (I use 1/2 tsp olive oil and cooking spray), salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, turning halfway through.

Figure 5. Dessert: a mug of warmed almond milk and cocoa-dusted almonds.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, November 29).

Monday, November 28, 2011

weekend review: anything but turkey

Figure 1. Saturday night's dinner: easy eggplant Parmesan and steamed broccoli.

Easy Eggplant Parmesan 
I hope you enjoy this easy, healthy recipe for eggplant Parmesan from my favorite cook, Mom.

Time: 50 minutes (15 minutes preparation)
Yield average eggplant, 2-4

1 large eggplant, peeled [I left the peel on mine, used a small eggplant, and halved most ingredients since I was solo-cooking]
4 egg whites
Grated Parmesan cheese, lots [I used a mix of Parmesan and Panko to reduce the cheesiness]
Garlic powder to taste
1 cup marinara
Mozzarella cheese as desired

Preheat oven to 400.

After peeling (optional), slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Beat egg whites with 4 T water until foamy. Dip eggplant into egg white mixture, then cover with Parmesan (or Parmesan/Panko mixture), pressing to cover. Place eggplant on sprayed baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder and then spray the top of the eggplant.

Bake 20 minutes at 400 until golden brown. Turn over and bake for 10 minutes. Add marinara, top with mozzarella, if desired. Bake 20 more minutes until hot and bubbly. Yum.

Figure 2. In preparation: spiced pumpkin biscuits. What? You never used a shot glass as a biscuit cutter before?

Figure 3. My cute mini pumpkin biscuits ready to go in the oven.

Figure 4. Sunday night's dinner: loaded cabbage soup and spiced pumpkin biscuits. This vegetable-filled soup hit the spot after a week of indulgence and these cute biscuits, which we topped with Benecol and honey, were the perfect accompaniment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

my less serious day: thanks a lot


Thanks for people actually reading my blog posts.
Thanks for the day [and the next two days] off work.
Thanks for cheesy pop music on the drive to my parents' house.
Thanks for calories not counting on or around Thanksgiving day.
Thanks for [an awesome] family.

Thanks. Thanks, a lot.


Jeans: Gap; top: Old Navy (hand-me-down from Mom); 'S' necklace: gifted via ideeli; 'hippo' necklace: J Crew outlet; shoes: Tom's.


This morning I hit the stationary bike for a 45-minute ramp interval ride, followed by a 10-minute walk with L. I took the rest of my Wednesday easy (I am on holiday, after all), although I did fit in a 30-minute walk with L before dinner with the folks.


Breakfast was a bowl of Kashi GoLean Original mixed with Post Great Grains Raisins, Dates, & Pecans cereal, 1/2 Honeycrip apple, cinnamon, and almond milk.

Lunch was a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on wheat with a side of purple grapes.

My afternoon snack has a sliced apple (not sure what kind, I took it from my parents' fridge) dusted with cinnamon and Sargento string cheese.

I spent the afternoon baking for Thanksgiving (classic pumpkin pie, oatmeal-pecan pie, and salted fudge brownies). I had a small bite of brownie (had to taste test, obviously) and have no idea how I restrained from consuming the entire plate. These brownies are

Dinner was a bowl of hearty meat and bean chili made by dad, cornbread, and steamed broccoli

Dessert was animal crackers and a few mixed nuts.

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Wednesday, November 23. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

what i ate wednesday: issue 10

 Figure 1. Breakfast (@home with my laptop): a bowl of Kashi GoLean Original mixed with Post Great Grains Raisins, Dates, and Pecans cereals, 1/2 sliced banana, almond milk, and black coffee.

Figure 2. Lunch (@restaurant with a friend), part one: side salad with tomato, cucumber, red onions, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Figure 3. Lunch (@restaurant with a friend), part two: a zucchini panini with tomato, red onion, and gobs of gooey, fresh, buffalo mozzarella.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack (@office with my computer): a Honeycrisp apple and a handful of cocoa-dusted almonds.

Figure 5. Post-workout snack (@home with my sweaty running clothes): raw broccoli and hummus.

Figure 6. Dinner (@home with the Food Network): a collard, spinach, and egg scramble with corn bread. I warmed leftover collard greens from Sunday night (which included onions and golden raisins), added several handfuls of spinach (which wilted), and two eggs (which scrambled). A surprisingly delicious creation!

  Figure 7. Dessert (@home with [dare I say] more of the Food Network): chocolate pudding and almond butter.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, November 22).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the skinny belt experiment: + dress

Dry your tears, dear readers, today I bring you the last outfit combination in my first-ever fashion experiment: the skinny belt experiment. Add a skinny belt to a simple dress and you will look thinner, trendier, and more exciting (at least this is what I am telling myself).

So, I suppose if you want to get detailed, my outfit here is not a dress per se. But, rather a dress worn as a skirt under a 3/4 length top. Given that this was the last outfit in the skinny belt experiment, I really wanted to show my readers a pairing with a dress, but I have no weather-appropriate dresses. This means that: 1) I need to go shopping and 2) this paring is a slight variation, but retains the overall concept for you to apply to any dress.

A dress is a simple, one-component outfit. But, if you want to take it up a notch, add a skinny belt and create a bit more waist emphasis (especially important if your dress does not have any built-in waist accentuation) and interest.

Figure. Outfit combination for the skinny belt experiment: dress + skinny belt at waist.

Depending on how the dress is cut, belt placement can vary. For example, if your dress already has some type built-in of waist accentuation (as in the Figure above), your belt should be placed there. Belt placement also may depend on your body shape and what section (low, natural, high) of your waist you wish to accentuate. Here, I emphasized my natural waist, but this could have been shifted higher or lower. In reality, I play around with placement to see what best fits the outfit and my mood. You should do the same.

I felt great in this outfit combination, and although I did get a few compliments on the color of my dress/skirt, no reaction to the outfit as a whole was given. As you have learned, however, this is nothing out of the ordinary.

And, finally, how about a blurry close-up and a little belt trick?

Depending on where you place your belt it isn't always the right length and there isn't always a belt hole where you need it to be. The solution? Slide your belt through and place the prong (? i.e., the piece of metal that would usually go through the hole) on one side of your belt (see above photo). This usually keeps the belt secure and unless someone gets awkwardly close to you, no one will know the difference.

This skinny belt + dress combination rounds out the four pairings for the skinny belt experiment. Look for one more 'discussions and conclusions' post on the topic. In the meantime, let me know what item you want re-mixed for the next fashion experiment!

Monday, November 21, 2011

weekend review: when the boy's away...

I was on my own for dinner Friday night and decided to treat myself to a meal of some of my boyfriend's less favorite options (which also happen to be some of my very favorite options).

Figure 1. In preparation: caramelized Brussels sprouts with brown sugar and toasted walnuts.

Figure 2. Friday night's (single lady) dinner: salmon with red pepper pesto and caramelized Brussels sprouts. Much to my boyfriend's dismay, this is one of the best meals I have made in quite some time. This red pepper pesto was so good I wanted to smear it all over my face and this Brussels sprouts recipe will make even the biggest Brussels skeptic, a believer.

Figure 3. Friday night dessert (a perfect solo-night dessert): one little fudgy brownie cake in a mug topped with whipped cream. I don't care where you are or what you are doing, stop doing that and start making

Figure 4. Sunday night's (boyfriend approved) dinner: maple-mustard baked chicken (with a crispy whole wheat breading), collard greens, and corn bread.

Friday, November 18, 2011

the fitness class experiment

Background. I regularly enjoy group fitness classes at my local gym. There is nothing quite as invigorating as a group of (what is usually) women banning together for one sweat-producing hour for the common goal of improved fitness. But, the thought of walking into a class for the first time is anxiety producing. A class at my gym called Hip Hop Aerobics makes me shiver in fear.

Objective. To conquer my fears, try, and review a variety of group fitness classes. In the process, potentially discover a new fitness class gem and encourage my readers to do the same.

Methods. Attend a variety of group fitness classes offered at my local gym. Review each class experience with specific attention on the following variables: class details (format, size, participant demographics); requirements (equipment, clothing, gear, knowledge, coordination, rhythm); feeling (overall feeling, enjoyment level, welcome-ness); difficulty (overall difficulty, cardiovascular impact, strength training impact, post-class soreness); and likelihood of re-attending. Provide a "what you need to know" for each class with the goal of providing some preparedness to readers who wish to try a similar class format.

(images 1, 2)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what i ate wednesday: issue 9

WIAW is glimmer of brightness in a busy and stressful week. Thank you, Jenn.

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl of Kashi GoLean original mixed with Post Great Grains Raisin, Date, and Pecan cereals mixed with 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and almond milk. If you haven't ever added pumpkin puree to cold cereal - do it now! It is fantastic - I can't believe I didn't try this earlier.

Figure 2. Lunch: an Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain tortilla topped with gobs of spinach and leftover mushroom, corn, and poblano taco filling from this weekend, topped with goat cheese.

Figure 3. Lunch, all wrapped up.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack #1: a Honeycrisp apple and almonds.

Figure 5. Afternoon snack #2: 1/2 banana (or I would have died post-cycle class) waiting for my dinner to bake.

Figure 6. Dinner: baked barbeque chicken tenders, a baked sweet potato with Benecol and cinnamon, and a massive pile of sauteed (but not too wilt-y) spinach and onions.

For the sauteed spinach and onions:
Chop 1/2 onion and saute over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes in olive oil (I used ~1 tsp). Once the onion starts to caramelize, add  one or two large handful(s) of spinach and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat with onion/oil. Add the remaining spinach (I used almost an entire bag) and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. After tossing to coat, take the pan off the heat and add a sprinkle of nutmeg. Continue to gently toss the spinach until the desired level of wilt-y-ness is reached.

Figure 7. Dessert: two whole wheat graham crackers topped with almond butter and a shot of vanilla soy  milk (and yes, for some reason I used a shot glass).

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, November 15).

Monday, November 14, 2011

my less serious day: grant me a wish

Two massively time consuming research grants + a Thursday deadline = a missing snappy my less serious day introduction + simple outfits + missed gym classes + easy meals.


Legging jeans; tank; cardigan: Gap; belt: Banana outlet; necklace: gifted; shoes: Tsubo


My morning workout was a 30-minute run at work pace followed by a 10-minute walk with L. I fit in another 10-minute walk this afternoon. I had a late work meeting and had to sadly forfeit attending my Monday Body Pump class. Instead, I did 25 minutes of cardio (10-minute running sprint + 15-minute strength interval stationary bike ride) and 25 minutes of weight lifting (biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, abs, and back) on my own at home.


Breakfast was nothing out of the ordinary. A bowl of Kashi GoLean Original mixed with Post Great Grains Raisin, Date, & Pecan cereals, 1/2 sliced banana and almond milk.

Lunch was a Lean Cuisine and my afternoon snack was a Honeycrisp apple and cocoa roast almonds. These almonds are such a nice change from the plain variety I usually eat.

I couldn't get the thought of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of my head for dinner. So, that is exactly what a had with a side of roasted broccoli. Like I said, simple.

Dessert was a 'baked' Honeycrisp apple with cinnamon, raw oats, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. This warm, comforting, quick, and healthy dessert is reminiscent of apple pie and was exactly what I needed to end a long day.

Inspired by The Fitnessista, I chopped an apple and placed it in a cereal bowl sprayed with Pam. I sprinkled mine with cinnamon (no sweetener because it was a Honeycrisp, otherwise I would have added honey) and microwaved for 2 minutes.Top as you please and devour. 

And, I snuck in 1/2 of a cinnamon raisin bran muffin before bed.