Friday, August 31, 2012

my less serious day: conference accessories

I was thrilled when I saw these conference badges and so excited to wear them non-stop for four entire days and evenings. They couldn't have picked a more subtle shade of blue or made them any less obtrusive. What a perfect complement to my carefully assembled outfits and my perfectly selected accessories...


Skirt: Hype; blouse: gifted via sister-in-law; necklace: LOFT; horrible conference badge: courtesy of the fashion-clueless conference organizers; sandals: OluKai.


I didn't have time before my morning conference session to fit in a run, and I just couldn't motivate myself to do anything too intense when I got home. Instead, I took an hour walk with my pup.


Breakfast was a bowl (x2) of Wheaties, Cheerios, banana, and cow's milk courtesy of my hotel.

My mid-morning snack for the drive home from the conference: an apple, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, golden raisins, and raw almonds.

I sought an Earth Fare on my drive home for lunch. I hit up the salad bar and created a bowl of salad goodness including spinach, spring mix, grape tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, carrots, olives, mozzarella cheese, a 'ratatouille patty', diced chicken, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. A lime-flavored seltzer water on the side.

This afternoon, I collapsed on the couch when I returned home and ate one too many un-documented bowls of granola/cereal/peanuts/chocolate chips. I am trying to erase this from my memory...

Dinner was a mixed bowl of wild rice, roasted eggplant, sauteed spinach and grape tomatoes, sausage, and jalapenos. Courtesy of M.

Every girl deserves ice cream after a long day. I had this bowl of pistachio ice cream for dessert.

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Thursday, August 30. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 47.5

Please forgive me for not posting an entire day's worth of food. This is my first time. Don't I get one free pass?

This week, my dear readers, I am staying in a hotel at an academic conference out of town. On Monday, I had two downright scary presentations to tackle - so I knew excactly how to treat myself the Sunday evening before. I hit the pavement quickly after checking into my hotel to collect supplies:

1. Wine (specifically, a 3-glass mini Boca box of merlot).
2. An inappropriately massive salad (specifically, a Jason's Deli salad bar explosion with greens, a hard-boiled egg, apple slices, tons of veggies, trail mix, pickled beets, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, and honey).
3. A pint of icecream (specifically, a pint of choclate peanut butter Arctic Zero to which I added spoon-fulls of real peanut butter). 

4. My PJ's.
5. My king-sized hotel bed.
6. My flat-screen TV tuned to Food Network.

Those presentations on Monday? I kicked ass.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

my less serious momma: chicken corn soup

As always, from my lovely momma...


Family reunions always meant a big soup pot of homemade chicken corn soup. Someone stews the chickens, someone else brings fresh corn off the cob, someone chops the celery and onions, etc. You get the point. It’s a family reunion and a family soup. Cooked outside brings out the taste, or maybe it’s the family company.

Living away from the reunions, I adapted the recipe for my little family and still love to have a pot of this soup when we’re all together or to use all week in my lunch box. This year I grilled the corn on the cobs first, adding a new twist and a new touch of flavor. Frozen corn also works but it’s not as magical.

Here’s the basic recipe. Feel free to add your own variations. I wonder how quinoa would work in lieu of noodles.

Chicken Corn Soup (adapted from many York County Farm Women go to the Kitchen and other Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks and family legend)

1 chicken
 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
4 hard boiled eggs
4-6 ears of corn, grilled and sliced off the ear
½ finely chopped onion (more if you like it)
3-4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
about 2 handfuls of noodles

Boil chicken for about 1 ½ hours in a big pot of water (large dutch oven size). Cook until the meat is falling off the bone. Strain chicken broth and cut chicken meat into small pieces or shreds. 

Grill corn and slice off the ear.

Combine broth, celery, onion, and chicken. Add potatoes and cook until soft (about 15 minutes). Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Add cooked eggs at the end. Serve with saltines or oyster crackers. Doesn’t freeze well as eggs get rubbery and potatoes get smooshy. But you could freeze the stock and chicken.

Monday, August 27, 2012

weekend review: impatience

If I were a better blogger, I would have waited the recommended "5 minutes before serving" before diving into this lasagna after an approximate 30-second wait time had passed. 

  Figure 1. Out of the oven (during the 30-second resting [i.e., photographing] period). Espresso and Cream's Vegetarian Lasagna with Goat Cheese and Summer Squash.

But, I couldn't resist the seductive power of melty goat cheese, zucchini, and olives peering out from layers of pasta and marinara sauce. I just couldn't - and my lasagna immediate slid from nice and stacked to a messy lasagna-pile. So, my pictures may not be pretty, but this lasagna was damn fine delicious.

Figure 2. Friday night's dinner: vegetarian lasagna with goat cheese and summer squash alongside an arugula salad with toasted pine nuts, golden raisins, and a homemade lemon vinaigrette.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

my less serious day: shower stall

Yes, I spent the morning taking pictures of myself in the shower stall. 

Keep your judgments to yourself...

Wearing (desperately need to find a better photo location...).

Jeans: Gap; blouse: LOFT; necklace: gifted via mom from Greece; flatforms: Blowfish.


Late this morning I went on a 30-minute run at working pace. After work I hit the gym for a 60-minute spinning class. I also included two 10-minute walks  during the day. Yes, I work out a lot - I also eat a lot...


Breakfast was a bowl (x2) of Post Shredded Wheat, Kashi Indigo Morning, banana, and almond milk

My mid-morning post-workout snack, banana.

Lunch (part 1) was a romaine lettuce salad with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, green onions, sesame seeds, cottage cheese, and balsamic vinegar. 

Lunch (part 2) was carrots sticks and peanut butter.

My afternoon snack was a plain Greek yogurt, Great Grains cereal, and peanuts.

Dinner was a spin on eggplant pizzas. Roasted eggplant toppd with tahini sauce (1 T tahini + 1 T milk + 1 T apple cider vinegar) on top of a bed of raw spinach. Two slices of Ezekial toast on the side topped with a mash of avocado, goat cheese, salt, and pepper. Everything about this dinner was delicious.

Dessert was chocolate pudding mousse with peanuts and soy-free chocolate chips.

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Tuesday, August 21. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 47

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Post Shredded Wheat, Kashi Indigo Morning, a sliced banana, and almond milk.

Figure 2. Lunch: a spinach and romaine lettuce salad with carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, green onions, peanuts, an Amy's Sonoma burger, red wine vinegar, and ketchup.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack: a Gala apple and dry-roasted almonds. If you follow my less serious life regularly, you'll note there have been (and will be) many more food pictures at work. Unfortunately, work is really busy and instead of natural light and grass and trees in the background, sometimes you'll have to tolerate fluorescent light and research proposals in the background.

Figure 4. Dinner: whole wheat spaghetti topped with marinara sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a Quorn 'chicken' patty, and roasted green beans. Tonight was M's night (the boyfriend) to make dinner all on his own. Spaghetti it is.

Figure 5. Dessert: whole wheat banana bread snack cake topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Monday, August 20).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

my less serious home: kitchen

I wasn't going to show you inside my home. No offense, but it feels a bit creepy and revealing. Hundreds of strange people (I mean, ahem, lovely blog readers) seeing my everyday space? Hmmm. 

But, I can only ignore so many requests, so today begins a new mini-special-edition series, my less serious home. Posts where I cringe slightly and show you inside my home, while attempting to relate it to healthy living.

I thought about cleaning up first, but I didn't want to. You understand.

Today, the kitchen.

Figure 1 Kitchen View #1. Let's get you oriented - I'm taking the shot from the entry to the dining room, to the left is a door to the car port, to the right is the breakfast bar (or beer bar, depending on the hour) and the living room, and the window overlooks the back yard. 

Figure 2 Kitchen View #2. Here I'm standing behind the bar, you can see the car port entryway next to the fridge and the large, luxurious pantry to the left (next to the dog/microwave area and the cookbook rack). That is my cereal bowl and my blog notebook, for you really nosy people.

Now let's get really invasive and show you some close-ups.

Figure 3 Non-Refrigerated Food Area. To the far end of the bar is the 'non-refrigerated food area'. Today this includes some of our healthy staples, a pile of bananas (14 to be exact), sweet potatoes, avocados, and an onion. A foil covered pan of happiness (i.e., whole wheat banana bread snack cake), resting on the side. Keeping these foods easily accessible and visible facilitates their quick consumption (a power cord wrapped around knives is safe, right?).

Figure 4 The Pantry. I know, I know - you want to see closer - but this, my friends, is all you get. You would think a family of 6 lived in this house, but in fact it is just two people who eat a lot and like to be well stocked. 

(From top to bottom): top shelf: baking supplies (flours and mixes) and protein powder, 2nd shelf: more baking supplies and lesser-used condiments; 3rd shelf: bottled sauces, canned beans, and pasta/rice/quinoa/couscous; 4th shelf: cereal-mania (this is two boxes-deep), vinegars, oils, herbs, and spices; 5th shelf: dried fruit, popcorn, peanut butter, PB2, nuts; bottom shelf: dog treats, lunch boxes, extra paper towels, and more cereal, obviously.

Figure 5 Medicine/Coffee/Honey Cabinet. What? You don't have a medicine/coffee/honey cabinet? For some reason this makes perfect sense to me. Located to the left of the sink, I open this cabinet multiple times every day. 

Top shelf: everyday medicines/supplements; middle shelf: coffee filters; bottom shelf: coffee, coffee grinder, honey, and agave nectar.

Figure 6 The Refrigerator. 

Top shelf: pudding, eggs, almond butter; 2nd shelf: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, leftovers; 3rd shelf: almond milk (that is 6 cartons) and beer; both crispers and deli bin: overflowing produce

Now, I hope you are all satisfied (but, not too satisfied because I have many more rooms to show you...).

Monday, August 20, 2012

weekend review: pot luck quinoa

What does a healthy living blogger take to a pot luck? Quinoa casserole and salad, of course. I figured either people would love it, or they would turn up their noses at the healthy choices and I could take most of the leftovers home with me...

Figure 1. Saturday night's pot luck contribution #1: spinach and cheese quinoa casserole.

Figure 2. A close-up of the quinoa casserole, filled with red peppers, green onions spinach, cheddar and mozzarella cheese. This dish turned out to be a hit at the pot luck.

Figure 3. Saturday night's pot luck contribution #2: a spinach salad with grape tomatoes, carrots, sunflower seeds, and golden raisins. I don't really go anywhere without a salad in hand.

 Figure 4. Sunday morning baking: whole wheat banana bread snack cake. It may not look that exciting, but this stuff is gooooood.

Figure 5. Sunday night's dinner: chicken with lemon and olives, green pea rice, and simply sauteed asparagus.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

the fitness class experiment: PiYo

I'm a cardio junky. On my non-strength training days I ache for intense heart pumping sweat sessions. Needless to say, attending a 'mind-body' class sits on my farthest of far back burners. Little did I know what was in store for me when I attended PiYo for my latest test case in my fitness class experiment.

I have never done yoga and only done at-home Pilates DVDs, never taking them seriously (i.e., doing them while concurrently snacking on melba toasts). I went into this class with the expectation that it wouldn't raise my heart rate and I wouldn't get a 'real' workout. I was wrong.

When the instructor told me to take off my shoes I was immediately taken aback. A shoe-less workout? This I had to see...

Results. PiYo™ is a pre-choreographed class constructed to help participants gain strength, core stability, agility, and flexibility. This class uniquely blends not only pilates and yoga, but also sports training, core conditioning, dance, stretch, and athletic drills. Although this may sound daunting, PiYo is carefully designed with natural progressions and modifications to facilitate participation from people of all fitness/experience levels.

Here's what you can expect:
  • Warm-up. A basic warm-up is the first section that introduces participants to the moves and flow of the class.
  • Heat Building. The heat building section is just what it sounds like. A more intense warm-up that really starts working.
  • Strength 1-3. The strengths sections are the core of the PiYo workout. This is where you really get your heart rate up and when the work happens. These sections seem to vary substantially, so check out these three links (1, 2, 3) for videos from different sections/seasons to get a flavor of the workout.
  • Core.
  • Stretch. 
  • Final Relaxation. The class ends with an enlightening few moments of relaxation, where you simply lay and focus on your breathing.

This class requires energy, power, and rhythm. It smashed my pre-conceived notions about mind-body classes, got my heart rate up, and left my core remarkably sore the following day. For more insight into the moves involved check out this video. Remember, I had never done anything like this - and I was able to keep up with minimal faltering. You can do this, too.

Since PiYo is such a different class compared to the other group fitness classes in this experiment, its rankings deserve a little attention. In my opinion, PiYo requires coordination and balance - although this is a skill I'm sure you gain as you attend regularly. I was wobbling and falling, but again, no one cares about you - but you. My heart rate did get up and my muscles worked hard. In fact, my entire core was sore for the next two days - which is something that does not happen often.

As it turns out, PiYo, an intense mind-body inspired workout, has its place in the fitness world, after all. On days where you want a fantastically different workout mixed with a relaxing finish - this may be a new go-to option. Just be prepared for sore abs the next day.

(images 1, 2, 3)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 46

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Kellogg's All Bran, Kashi Simply Maize, a sliced banana, and almond milk.

 Figure 2. Mid-morning snack: plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, and EnviroKidz Koala Crisp cereal. What, not everyone has a hot pink mouse?

 Figure 3. Lunch: a spinach salad with blueberries, pickled beets, carrots, goat cheese, dry-roasted almonds, balsamic vingear, and agave nectar.

Figure 4. Dinner: leftover polenta, sauteed zucchini + mushrooms + grape tomatoes + garlic + green onion, 1/2 avocado, and a fried egg. Runny egg yolk and polenta is delicious, by the way.

 Figure 5. Dessert: plain Greek yogurt, Envirokidz Koala Crisp cereal (can't.stop.won't.stop.) and soy-free chocolate chips.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, August 14).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

my less serious day: dear closet mirrors

Dear full-length-mirrored-closet doors from my previous house -

I used to hate you because you are ugly and straight out of the 70's. But today, when I lugged a 50 pound mirror into my bedroom and awkwardly photographed my outfit, I missed you.

Sincerely -


Skirt: Gap; tee: Old Navy; belt: Banana outlet; heels: Tsubo.


This morning I went on a 30-minute run at working pace. After work I hit the gym for a 60-minute Body Pump class. I also included two 10-minute walks  during the day.


Breakfast was a bowl (x2) of Kellogg's All Bran, Cheerios, banana, and almond milk

Lunch was a romaine lettuce salad with grape tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, tahini, cottage cheese, and balsamic vinegar. It looked much tastier before I forgot to photograph it and ate half before I remembered...

My afternoon snack was a Pink Lady apple and dry-roasted almonds.

It is rare that there is fresh fruit in our work fridge. I took advantage for my second afternoon snack of cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple.

Dinner was eggplant pizzas (three with goat cheese and one with Parmesan) on top of raw spinach and corn on the cob. Look familiar? Dessert was (un-pictured) dry Cascadian Farms vanilla almond granola and peanut butter.

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Monday, August 13.