A life where arts & crafts meets food & fitness


Monday, June 28, 2010

All(most) All Together Dead....errr Read

I've borrowed All Together Dead from a friend of mine so that I can finish the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse books that have already been released. I had been buying them sporadically not realizing she had them all. True, I will eventually pickup the paperbacks of the ones I have not gotten yet but for now this works.

It also gives me something to do on public transportation. While it is time consuming, it is much less stressful than driving downtown every day. I know there are lots and lots of people who do the drive daily but I'd rather not add extra stress to my life when I can sit and read.

Today was a weird day. I didn't sleep that well again with the crazy weather changes lately. I know it's like I am part barometer or something. In rushing out of the door I forgot my lazy lunch of the Lean Cuisine Squash Ravioli. The rest of my day's food was pretty much set. I'm trying to not rely in lazy-box-lunches as I call them since I know that too many preservatives aren't good and very likely to have my body not like me.


  • Banana
  • Oatmeal w ground flax seed, cinnamon, and sugar (made w water)

Morning snack:

  • 0% Chobani Strawberry w 1/4 cup Fit n Active Raisin Granola
  • 1/2 Crisp apple


  • Medium salad: 2 types lettuce - one red/green & other I cannot remember, 1/4 green bell pepper, 1/2 cup mix of peas and corn, small portion of a carrot, light Italian dressing (just a drizzle) all shaken together in a lidded container (I have learned the greatness of a shaken salad)
  • Grilled Chicken Club from McDs (since I knew just a salad wouldn't hold me over)

Afternoon snack:

  • 1/2 crisp apple
  • 1 cup Stash Chamomile tea
  • handful Tropical Dots (I love Dots and the tropical ones I just discovered this weekend)

Evening snack:

  • 2 small croissants w 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 plain brownies (I needed chocolate fix since I hadn't had any in awhile)


  • Patty melt (had to get Mr CSYA from work = lazy option for tonight)

I've noticed Mondays are harder for me to set things up. It's a mix of thinking I'll get it totally set in the morning, the snooze button, and wanting to eat everything I bring too early. Perhaps it is that I eat a larger breakfast over the weekends. It's mostly because I have a leisurely breakfast while watching some sort of tv show that I had recorded. I am hesitant to do so in the morning esp if I get sucked in and lose track of time which is easy for me when half awake.

Last night I hooped for about a half hour which felt great. I can feel it more so in my right hip after trying belly dancing moves while hooping. It was really fun to try and I can do some things. Others just make it spin once then drop. I think if I can figure out just how much of a knee bend I need to not let the hoop drop when I'm at a bit of an angle I'll be set.

Frankie and Bond are staring to do their kitties-as-sharks mode and circling. That means I should be getting ready for bed and so they get their taste of a cat food as a night snack. A fed cat is one not launching a metal food bowl down the stairs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hello weeds there isn't enough room in this garden for the both of us...

Today was yard day.

I love having a house but with it comes yardwork, which with the recent downpours we have been having, is resulting in the weeds getting semi-prehistoric looking. During the work week, especially with an approximate 3 hr total travel time per day, when I get home, and make dinner if it is my day to do so, my mind is on a good book, bad reality television, or blog reading. I don't feel like weeding. Plus post-sundown is mosquito attack zone. Since I end up with bites looking like welts due to some sort of reaction, I'll pass.

Early this morning was another down pour and it was yet again loud enough to make me get up, though this time to take the air conditioner piece out of the window. Good thing since the screen was soaked when I actually woke up.

Then it was pretty much this:

Breakfast = Cinnamon Toast Crunch (left by a friend who was staying with us = not how I remembered it from years ago) w skim milk, Crisp apple w Maranatha almond butter (so it felt like I actually ate something)

Watch last night's episode of True Blood since I get free HBO this weeked (AT&T promo thing = awesome!)

Debate to go outside.

Go outside. Forget hat. Get hat.

Go to get kneeling pad. Decided against kneeling pad since wasp/hornet things are back in the shed!!!! Text Mr. CSYA stating this. (He'll take care of it again as was the case last year. ugh.)

Weed for 2 hrs then inside for lunch: whole wheat wrap w turkey & cheddar cheese topped with hot sauce.

Grab junky towel to use as kneepad, hat, and go back at it for another 2 hrs or so.

That section looks really good now and I am quite proud of myself.

Since dinner is in the crock pot, I'm now relaxing and having a green monster (2 handfuls spinach, 1 banana, 5 strawberries, handfull of ice, and splash of pomegranate juice.)

Inside the crockpot is a medium piece of pot roast, 1 can College Inn low-sodium beef broth + 1/2 can water, 2 medium carrots, 1 orange bell pepper, 1/3 yellow onion, 1/2 tomato, 3 glugs worchestershire, 2 shakes cumin, 1 shake mustard powder, 2 shakes garlic powder.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Salt n Pepa here.... well they were "here" last night

Growing up in the Chicago area, Taste of Chicago is a big deal. I was there last night with a group. There were people in the thousands that came to see a free concert with Salt n Pepa, Bel Biv Devoe, and several other acts. S & P put on a fun show that had everyone singing along and dancing. Our blankets weren't super close but we could see the giant screen that was set up. There was one girl (in an adorable white/orange/lime green outfit that I would so wear!) and her friends dancing up a storm not too far from us. Every now and then they'd be in perfect sync which was really cool.

I didn't stay until the end of the show since the crowd was so big - yet we only saw one person get told to leave which overall wasn't bad. I found out on my way to the L that they were turning people away from entering the fenced in concert area. There were THAT MANY people that they had to do it for safety reasons which is crazy! It took me a good 20 mins just to get out of there but overall it was totally worth it.

I had my camera but taking good photos while in a mass of people didn't seem like a great idea. The tickets are sold in sheets with this year's costs being $8 for a sheet of 12 tickets. In terms of taste portions, really just a sample, this works but it does add up if you want to actually eat a meal there.

I ended up getting three things.
  • Sweet Potato Fries - 4 tickets - Hashbrowns (731 W. Maxwell St.)
    Thin but not too thinly cut, a hint of sweetness which made me think some sort of brown sugar aspect, good crisp on the edges, salted with coarse salt or sea salt that was just the right amount
    The verdict: AWESOME! If someone gave me extra tickets or I decided to get more than my usual one ticket sheet a year, I'd definitely go back to get a full portion.
  • Red Beans and Rice with Jerk Chicken - 4 tickets - Vee Vee's African Cuisine (6232 N. Broadway St.) One small piece of chopped chicken with blackened spiced edge (end piece of a leg bone!!) that seemed to lacking the spice/heat, red bean and rice were a bit salty and ordinary
    The verdict: Meh. Vee Vee's have been there numerous times and I have a friend who really likes their Sauteed Goat with Jolloff Rice. The bone threw me esp with I found a smaller piece and when a woman had to return her entire portion since it was mostly bones.
  • Peach Cobbler - 4 tickets - BJ's Market and Bakery (8734 S. Stony Island Ave.)
    Sweet but not overpoweringly sweet, thinly sliced peaches but still thick enough not to lose their softness and turn into mush, flaky crust that meshed well and had no shortening/fat taste or texture
    The verdict: The paper boat was scraped clean. It was THAT good.

There were some other places that looked pretty good but then I was out of tickets. The $4 that I had left kept me from buying more. I did get a free Honest T Ade - Pomegranate Blue - as well from promo people on the street. It ended up being really good even after it got warm and I'll definitly buy one in the future. Overall though it was a success.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rose colored or coke bottle bottom glasses... your pick

With the Healthy Living Summit coming in the next few months, I have been finding more and more blogs that I hadn't know of beforehand. As a result, and obviously since blogrolls are as addictive as cute puppy videos on YouTube(they just suck you in and next think you know, it is a hour later and you had meant to go to bed a hour and a half ago.) I was thinking more recently about distorted self body image and how quick it can set in. I've read the stories of girls out there and how they beat this, are beating it, and are struggling with it every day.

The big deal that got me really thinking was when I read Hungry by Crystal Renn after reading about it in a newspaper. She looked familiar and I knew she was a serious model but I couldn't really place where I had seen here. I had hoped it was a honest book and not just an outlet for whining and bashing others. I wasn't disappointed. It was her struggles, her realization, and her acceptance of who she is on the outside. I know it can be taken as a cliche topic but one aspect rang true. She wasn't anti the naturally thin girls and she called them such. I don't remember the exact wording but it was born thin, naturally thin. It wasn't skinny girl who obviously didn't eat therefore all skinny girls don't eat.

True, I may have been thin due to genes but the athletic ability was seriously lacking in the jean clad butt of mine. My duck reflex has and has always been my strongest athletic ability. Well maybe then it was. Now I have found things like hiking are interesting to me.

Add stresses of school, dating woes, being extremely hard on oneself, and a steady diet of mac n' cheese, coke, cafeteria food and burgers in college and then fast food lunches twice a week after college. Oh and don't forget running on chain coffee and breakfast sandwiches. I got skinny fat. True I could still fit in jeans I had for years but health wise I knew I could do better. Dinners were always healthy. That was never a problem though I rarely ate breakfast which now I know is a no-no.

Now I am at a position where I am not in my early 20s anymore and know that to live a balanced life I need to make small changes that will stick with me. Breakfast is a must now even if it was the poptart and a half this morning which was awesome but not something I can stomach every day. (Too sweet!) I'm heavier than I was before but it's more so finding the best optimal weight for me. I honestly have no specific number. A range is fine where I feel good, don't get sick often, and don't have to buy new clothes every season. I do have the vanity aspect of fitting into some clothes that don't fit as nicely anymore. (Fitted jeans are one thing, painted on ones are another. This is me of course. If you want to wear your jeggings, more power to you. I survived in the Jnco/super wide leg jeans era so I'll go the wide leg trouser route.)

So now it's continue to eat well, try to get regular exercise and see how this goes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today was an odd day. Not bad just odd. I came home deciding that some hooping was in order. After whapping myself twice, it didn't seem like such a great idea. It just furthers that it was an odd day. THEN I turned on So You Think You Can Dance (which I am a bit unsure of with the old and new dancers being part of it this season) and eventually a dance was performed to Florence + the Machine's cover of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love.

I LOVE Addicted to Love. I danced to it as a kid. I danced to it as a "big kid" at my high school prom fashion show (it was some sort of dancing through the decades.) I ended up hooping to it in my living room (full song found via YouTube) and then put more F+tM on afterwards. While I wasn't going to try any tricks since we aren't in the market for a new ceiling fan, TV or curio cabinet right now, it still felt good to let go a bit, hooping and spinning barefoot on the wood floor.

I made my first attemp-eh at tempeh this past weekend with a BBQ wrap.

I started with half a yellow onion and one yellow bell pepper in a little olive oil. When that began to soften I added pieces of crumbled Trader Joe's tempeh (half a package) with a mix Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue and Honey Chipolte Barbecue sauce (both bottles were almost empty.)

After a few minutes I ended up with this

BBQ tempeh

which ended up REALLY good and ended up in a wrap.

Next time I think I'll work with smaller pieces of tempeh since the sauce didn't reach the center of some OR marinate it rather than stirring in the sauce. If it is smaller pieces I also think I could mix in it w ground beef or chicken and no one would know what it was.

That is what I ended up doing with the leftovers.

Turkey Tempeh Chili!

To my leftovers I added

  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1/2 lb ground lean turkey
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • garlic powder - 3 shakes
  • chili powder - 3 shakes
  • McCormick HotShot - red/black pepper mix
  • onion salt - 2 shakes

It all went in the crockpot for a few hours and ended up too sweet!

Rather than dumping it (and wasting food), it went into the fridge until I was "brave" enough to try it again. I'm glad I let it sit because it was much less sweet tonight. There was still a sweetness about it but the spicier aspects seemed stronger. I think next time I'd add red pepper flakes and/or some diced tomatoes.

The weather keeps taunting me. The mornings I want to run it is raining and the times I can't it is either beautiful or I am worn out. I know that I just need to get over the first hurdle - figuratively of course though I do remember them from gym class ages ago. (The grade school ones were foam and hurt less.) I know that too many people to count run in the rain but I am wanting to start running on a decent day. Then if I honestly don't like running after awhile it will be due to the running and not the weather.

I've figured out how to deal w my Bell-umba issue. I get to the point where I don't care if I look silly and just go for it. With numerous years of dance training, even if it was ages ago, I thought that I would have caught on sooner. Nope. Awkward flailing and wonky steps w a good chunk of the belly dancing aspects was getting pretty discouraging. Now I've started to just laugh along with my instructor who is funny and it has begun to get easier.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And the City goes wild!

In Chicago and the surrounding areas Chelsea Dagger will be played in full force, jersey wearing people will be seen and most people who were out watching the game will be the ones half asleep w the Red Bull (me), coffee (The Hubby) and the tired faces (pretty much everyone.)

More later. :)

Dun dun dun dun...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Unless we get a little crazy...

I've had this song stuck in my head lately. The fact that I abso love it in the original version + this one always works well. I need to get it cued up where I can try hooping to it. The tempo is slow enough to give me time for set up and fast enough for some of the "step over" moves.

I need to set up a flickr account for food pictures on this. Pictures are good. I like pictures. I have noticed though that the last few NOM NOM NOM inducing meals did not/prob would not photograph that well. Pasta + veggies + red sauce of some sort makes it go all orange. I need to look up some tips on getting better color balancing without full on editing everything in Photoshop.

So I lost an entire day this past weekend to a migraine which was EXTREMELY annoying - no Zumba class, no birthday party/housewarming, no other evening birthday party! I am not sure if it was just the crazy weather changes or if it was the nitrates in the hot dogs I had friday night. I have read and heard people mention that ingredients in food work as triggers. I did track meals on The Daily Plate a ways back and while I did like it at times I am unsure if this is the best way to get healthy.

True counting calories works for others but for me if I am not eating enough in general I get cranky. I know that technically it IS enough but perhaps it is finding the better balance. I prefer hobbit mode when it is set up properly.

Today was iffy since I kept waking up feeling blegh due to my sinuses:

Breakfast (could have been MUCH better esp since I didn't have my usual oatmeal)
2/3 small can of Red Bull
Large Banana

Morning snack:
Granny smith apple

Lunch (dinner leftovers) I'm guessing it was at least 2 cups of rice and a cup and a half of the veggies - I wasn't hungry when I was done w it all
brown rice w zucchini, yellow squash, onions, mushrooms sauteed in olive oil

Afternoon snack
100 calorie pack keebler chocolate grahms
12 oz Coke

Dinner (all together 2 - 2 1/2 cups ?? - usually don't measure
Fit n Active Wheat rigatoni
Shrimp w (red pepper flakes/garlic) tomato sauce, green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach

I know I can do MUCH better. I just need to get to bed so that I can wake up and get everything together.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back from the land of getyourbuttkicked

Tonight was the first - for me - of the Tues night Bell-umba classes - bell-umba being the zumba class that ended up having belly dancing in it too. I don't know if it was because it was the end of the day for my instructor but it was SO much more intense then the last Saturday class. I didn't mind it since I was there to work out.

I decided to forget about the mirror all together this time. Last time I was half of the time in the mirror and half not. In dance classes I have always liked the mirror. It was the point to check positions etc and make sure I wasn't going to hurt myself. Now it's the thing that makes me mess up. It is crazy what 15-ish years will do for you. So it was skip the mirror, dance/bounce around like a silly person and I came home twice as gross and disgusting as before. True, it also has me still up and ready to go at almost midnight. With a 6 am alarm, this can't be an everyday deal. Next time I'm thinking some Tazo Zen tea and an episode of some TV show - probably The Riches since I just started that on Netflix.

I found another tofu recipe - a southwestern scramble. So now I have two recipes to try. I'm tempted to just make each with half of the package I have in the fridge. Then technically if I don't like one way I'm still eating it.

Key point to remember: AB&J sandwiches on white bread hamburger buns are not filling for a long time - even with fruit. I was in growly stomach the moment I got off the bus. Luckily the Hubby had BBQ chicken and cut potatoes (w olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper) on the grill waiting for me. I'm lucky to be married to a good cook.