Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

Kitchen Games and Giant Shredded Pancakes

For anyone who has watched an episode of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, you know that she likes to play this little game with herself where she tries to collect all of the ingredients she needs for the meal out of her pantry in one swoop.  Sometimes her pile gets going pretty high and it looks like she might drop everything.  When she does that, she says she can always hear her mom in her head telling her to be careful or she might drop something.

Well I like to play a little game in the kitchen too called “How many dishes can you possibly stack in the dish drainer before everything comes tumbling down…. or gets broken?”  And every time I play this game with myself I can hear my mom in my head telling me to be careful before I break or drop something.  Sometimes I actually get to hear my mom’s commentary on how I do the dishes because I often do my dishes while I’m Skyping with my parents (nothing like a little multi-tasking!).  One time she interrupted what I was saying to tell me that the cup I had just stacked at the top of my pile wasn’t going to dry properly because of the way I stacked it.  Thanks, Mom :).

Judging by the large number (lets just say it’s in the double digits!) of wine glasses I’ve broken because of the way I stack my dishes, I don’t think I’m ever going to learn.  It’s way more fun to play my game than to be cautious!

Today I think I did a pretty awesome job at this little game.  Would you like to see?  We had so many dishes that there is not one, but two piles, which means my game was extra challenging/fun.

Can you see both piles?

Stacking game #1. I'm not sure the picture does it justice. I think it'd be more impressive if you could see everything that's under here!

Stacking game #2

You might think we’re slobs judging by the amount of dishes we have here, but let me try to explain.  First of all, I think these are just three days worth of dishes—that’s a lot of dishes for just two people in three days (my husband swears I also like to play this game called, “How many dishes can I dirty in the process of cooking dinner?”).  Second of all, how can I make all of these yummy treats to post on the blog if I don’t dirty pretty much every dish we have ;)?

And last but not least, I used to be slightly OCD about cleaning the dishes immediately after we ate dinner.  I would get stressed out if they weren’t done and couldn’t relax until the kitchen was spotless.  Well, in an effort to tone down the OCD, my husband has taught me the valuable lesson that nothing will happen if I don’t do the dishes right now—or even tomorrow.  He always tells me I need to just sit down and relax because the dishes aren’t going anywhere.  It took me a long time to learn this lesson, but now I think I may have learned it a little too well because I even amaze myself sometimes at how long I can go without doing the dishes.  Three days is practically a record for me!

Oh and we don’t have a dishwasher.  Man do I miss having a dishwasher.  And a garbage disposal.

Anyway, enough rambling about the dishes and on to a recipe.  Today’s recipe is for another sweet treat.  You may be wondering why there are so many sweet treats on a blog that is supposed to be about mindful eating, and that is a great point.  To us, mindful does not mean depriving yourself or eliminating certain food groups altogether.  Mindful eating to us means to eat a balanced diet—mostly healthy stuff, but we think it’s good to eat a little bit of everything, even the sweets.  It means eating real foods, not packaged foods or foods that have ingredients that you can’t pronounce or have never heard of.  It means eating wholesome, natural, and unprocessed foods to the best of our ability.  But we also know that it’s impossible to do that all the time so we just do our best and don’t sweat the small stuff :).

With that said, since I started the no processed sugar challenge this summer, I have really tried to limit the amount of sweets I eat.  That way when I do have something sweet, I can enjoy it without feeling guilty or overdoing it.  Any sweets that I have consumed this summer have all been ‘made over’ so they only include natural sweeteners.

Today I am going to share with you the recipe for Kaiserschmaarn.  Do you remember I posted a picture of it as a teaser in Saturday’s post?  Kaiserschmaarn is one of our favorite treats to have for breakfast on the weekends.  I just found out today when Googling the meaning of “kaiserschmaarn” that 1) it literally translates to “Emperor’s Nonsense”, 2) it is actually a really popular dessert (not breakfast!) in Austria, and 3) it can be made a variety of ways with many different toppings.

This is the way that my mom taught me how to make it and the way I’ve been eating it since I was a little girl.  It’s a little tricky to flip the pancake over, but it’s okay if it breaks because it’s going to get shredded anyway!  My mom always served it with applesauce and cinnamon, but my husband likes to eat it with maple syrup.

Kaiserschmaarn

*Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are.  I make the whole recipe for the two of us :).

Kaiserschmaarn with applesauce and cinnamon

Ingredients

4 eggs
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup milk
1½ cups flour (also good using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour)
pinch of salt
a couple of tbsp butter
raisins (optional)
applesauce
cinnamon

Directions

Beat eggs, honey, milk, and flour until well combined. (It should look like pancake batter.)

Melt butter in large pan over medium-low heat. Pour in batter and cover.

About 5-10 minutes in (once a crust has formed on the bottom, but top is still runny) add raisins.

After you add the raisins, make sure to cover them up with batter.

Let cook, covered, for approximately 30 minutes until cooked almost all the way through. Flip giant pancake and cook for another 2-3 minutes until cooked all the way through.

Ready to be flipped. You can even flip it a little earlier than this when it's still slightly runny in the middle....it's just messier.

Using two forks, shred pancake by using two spoons or forks to pull apart into small pieces.

Shredding the pancake!

Serve with applesauce and cinnamon, maple syrup, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Question: Do you have any kitchen games you like to play?  Do you clean the kitchen right away after eating or do you leave the dishes like I’ve learned to do?

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Filed under Breakfast, Ethnic Foods

I Love Surprises….and Homemade Granola

I was having a rough morning today.  For some reason I couldn’t sleep last night and I only got about five and a half hours of sleep.  I know many of you can survive off of five hours of sleep, but it’s not a pretty picture when I don’t get enough sleep.  I’m grumpy and irritable.  (I know all you new moms out there are thinking….”Just wait until you have a baby, Kristen.”  Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there….and no I’m not pregnant.)  And all I can think about is when I can take a nap because my eyelids feel like they weigh 50 pounds each.

I had to get up early this morning to interview one of the participants in my research project and then I was going to meet a friend and her daughter for coffee.  I was struggling to stay awake after my interview, but was looking forward to my coffee date.  Unfortunately they got stuck at the post office (what a nightmare that always is) and couldn’t make it to coffee.  Boo.  Then I tried to run an errand, but since my brain wasn’t functioning properly I miscalculated the day and the store was closed.  Boo again.

I was feeling discouraged and just wanted to go home, but decided to swing by the post office in hopes that the package from my mom had arrived.  Well to my surprise, not only had the package from my mom arrived, but also something from Vitacost (my new favorite website) and Crate and Barrel—SCORE!!  I was so excited to get home and open my packages that all of a sudden I didn’t feel tired—funny how that happens, huh?

There are many things that I LOVE about living abroad, and I feel so blessed to have already had so many experiences living and traveling abroad.  But as a foodie, living abroad is sometimes hard in the sense that I can’t always get everything I want.  Wherever I’ve lived, my parents always bring a whole suitcase full of food when they come to visit and I always bring a whole suitcase of food back with me after a trip to the States!

One of my friends asked me when I was home in March what I missed most from the States while living abroad.  That was easy—grocery stores!  Well, besides my family and friends of course :).  You see, I LOVE going to the grocery store—especially ones I’ve never been to before—and perusing all of the aisles.  When I was home in March, my Dad and I stopped at a Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Lunardi’s (their local store) on the way home from the airport!  It’s always so exciting for me to see all of the new products that have come out in the 3+ years we have been living in Japan.  It’s even more exciting to see many of the products that my “briends” (blog + friends = briends) write about and/or review on their blogs.

Do you know how many times I have gotten so excited about a recipe only to find out that I don’t have all of the ingredients?  And not only that, neither does the commissary, which means I have to order anything I don’t have.  And by “order” I mean put in an order with my mom who proceeds to check all of her local stores for the ingredients and then sends them to me.  Isn’t she the greatest?  Well, mom, you’re off the hook.  Enter in Vitacost.  They have almost all of the ingredients I often request, or have always wanted to try, at great prices.  Not only that, they ship to APO addresses…AND my stuff got here in less than a week!  (That might not seem like a big deal to you if you don’t live abroad, but trust me, it’s HUGE!!)

So do you want to see everything I got in my surprise packages today?

Look at all of those awesome goodies! I may or may not have proceeded to eat a spoonful of that PB....amazing!

My mom told me she put a “surprise” in the package that would make me laugh.  Did you see it?

New Kids on the Block.....YESSSS!!! (I love that my mom wrote "LOL" too.)

Hahahahaha. I was cracking up at this!  Who didn’t love NKOTB?!?!  I had their lunch box with matching thermos (do you remember those?), nightgown, and possibly NKOTB sheets too (although maybe those were California Raisins or Cabbage Patch Kids—ha).  Anyway, I thought this CD was hilarious and quite a blast from the past!

If you've never tried these sweet and salty almonds from Trader Joe's, you're missing out. Unfortunately I can't enjoy them until August...lucky for Giff!

Chocolate chips made without any processed sugars....only evaporated cane juice!

As if getting all of these goodies in the mail were not exciting enough, I got a surprise phone call from my friend Katie just as I was finishing to unpack everything.  One of the best things about living abroad is the friendships that you make.  Because we are so far away from everyone back home, our friends really become like our families here.  We have been really blessed to meet so many amazing people while living here in Okinawa and we will never forget the friends that we have made here.  Unfortunately, being in the military means that we also have to say goodbye to these friends that become family.  And I’m just going to tell it like it is—it sucks!  Katie (and her husband Marc) left in February and I’m still so sad about it.  I love Katie to death and I was SO SO SO excited to get a surprise phone call from her today.  She made my day and cheered me up so much that I didn’t even need a nap!

Tailgating before a World Cup game 🙂

Are you still here after all of that rambling?  Sorry about that.  Now it’s time for a recipe.  Today is actually a bonus day because you get not one, not two, but three recipes for homemade granola!

I love granola, but the kind that you buy at the store is either laden with fat and/or sugar, or super expensive.  Granola is actually super easy to make and much healthier/cost effective when made at home.

I have really been loving on some granola lately—especially for a late night snack—because it satisfies my sweet tooth.  Here are three granola recipes that I have been enjoying a lot of lately.  If you have any great homemade granola recipes please share :).

Coconut Almond Butter Granola

*Recipe adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

This is probably my favorite of the three granolas I have been making lately.  I love that it gets crunchy and clumps of it stick together.  It can be made with any kind of nut butter.  I’ve tried sunflower butter and peanut butter too—yum!  WARNING: Highly addictive :). 

This granola was so good that I ate it all before I remembered to take a picture...oopsie! This picture is from the recipe source.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. almond butter
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seed (ground or whole)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 c. oats

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • Combine almond butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until almond butter is slightly melted (about 30 seconds).
  • Stir almond butter and honey together.
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla to almond butter mixture.
  • Stir chia seeds, flax seed, coconut, and oats into almond butter mixture, completely coating oats in the mixture.
  • Spread oats onto cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes before tossing oats and baking for another 4 minutes until granola is slightly brown.
  • Let cool until granola is crunchy and enjoy!

Whole Lotta Nuts Granola

*Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

I love the flavor of this granola–it’s sort of sweet and salty (from the nuts)–though it did not clump like the other one.  The texture of the nuts and seeds is excellent.  However, a word to the wise, I do NOT recommend using pine nuts—I did not like the flavor they gave it and I ended up picking them all out!  I added dried blueberries and golden raisins after it cooled…yummy!

Despite what the bag says....this isn't Almond Butter Granola...that granola is long gone 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds (ground or whole)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, or chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries, or combination

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, cinnamon, salt, chia and flax seeds. In a small saucepan, melt butter with honey over low heat, stirring. Add vanilla and pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined well.

On a large baking sheet, spread the granola evenly in a thin layer. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from sticking or burning, until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. (Do not overbake; the granola will crisp more when cooled.) Cool the granola on the pan on top of the stove and stir in dried fruits. Granola may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Serve at room temperature in a bowl with milk or as a snack.

Fruit-Juice Infused Granola

*Recipe from Discovery Health

This used to be my favorite granola until I started trying all of these other ones.  I love the flavor the fruit juices give to the granola, but my husband thinks it is kind of bland.  It also doesn’t get as crunchy as the almond butter granola, but it’s still delicious.

 

Sorry for the dark photo...this is from my old camera!

Ingredients

4 cups whole oats (use old fashioned, not instant)

2 cups puffed or cluster-type cereal (I use Kashi Go Lean)

¼ cup flax seeds

½ cup toasted almond slivers

Handful of unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup organic pineapple juice

½ cup organic apple juice

½ cup organic prune juice

Juice from ½ orange

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice and cardamom

Zest from one lemon or orange

2 teaspoons coconut oil

¼ cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mister w/ olive oil

Handful each; dried blueberries, cranberries, currants, green raisins

OPTIONAL: add salted peanuts for a salty mix

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine the juices, spices and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half.  This should take about 20 minutes.  While this simmers, combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

Remove juice mixture from heat and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add honey and vanilla. Toss sweetened warm juice mixture with the oats mixture.

Mist 2 cookie sheets with olive oil. Spread mixture onto cookie sheets in a thin, even layer.

For variety, try adding salted peanuts to one pan.

Bake at 325° for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden and crunchy.

Cool slightly, then stir in dried fruit. Store granola in an airtight container like a zip lock bag or large ball jar.

Whew that monster of a post is over!  I hope you made it to the end J.  The granola recipes are awesome so I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

Thanks to Chelsey, I have started eating granola sometimes as a late-night snack with are with milk, cut up apples, and raisins.

Question: Do you like surprises?  Have you been surprised lately or planned a good surprise for someone?

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Filed under Breakfast, Snacks

One Month Down

June 30th marked one month that we’ve been doing this challenge and I didn’t even realize it until it had already passed!  I’m going to take that as a good sign because it means I’m not counting down the days until I can eat sugar again (as I thought I would be).

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning, you know that when we first started this challenge I was curious to see how not eating sugar would affect my sugar cravings and energy levels.  I am happy to report after one month that I think both have definitely improved.

It seems like I have only noticed these changes in the past couple of weeks.  Maybe it was going to China and breaking away from my normal routine, or maybe it is just that it takes that long for results to start showing, but I’m finally starting to feel a difference in my body.  Honestly, in the beginning I felt terrible.  For the first couple of weeks I was actually feeling worse than I had been feeling before I cut processed sugar out of my diet and was wondering if it was really worth it to continue.  Perhaps I was eating more of something that I hadn’t been eating much of before (such as soy or more grains), but whatever it was, it has gone away now and I’m feeling much better.

I’m actually feeling really good about myself right now.  There were only a handful of times that I craved sugar in the past month and those times are becoming fewer and further between.  I have also noticed that certain foods that did not taste that sweet to me before, now taste much sweeter.  I first noticed it in China when I bought what I thought was unsweetened tea and it turned out to be sweetened.  I thought it was disgustingly sweet, but my husband said it tasted normal.  I noticed it again when I got home and ate a handful of Kashi Go Lean cereal.  I used to think Go Lean tasted pretty much like cardboard when I ate it dry, but the other day I could actually taste some sweetness in it.  Each of these little improvements give me motivation to keep going….we’ll see how I feel in another month :).

I know I have already said it many times before, but it’s worth repeating for any of you who are thinking about giving up processed sugars—it is liberating to pass up sweets and desserts altogether rather than battle with myself not to eat too much.

As far as my energy goes, I mentioned in my last post that while I was in China I noticed a significant improvement in my energy levels.  Even though I was walking around for hours and hours each day, I still felt like I had a lot of energy.  Despite the fact that I am a pretty active person and get plenty of sleep, I normally get really tired during the day and often feel like I could fall asleep at any point.  I only felt like that once or twice in China and I think those feelings were justified from all of the sightseeing.  Hopefully this trend continues :).

I think it’s important to put a little disclaimer here.  By sharing with you my journey, I am not trying to say that cutting out processed sugars are the answer to everyone’s dietary woes.  Every body handles foods differently—some people can eat diets very high in fat while others can eat a lot of sugar without seeing any noticeable difference in their weight, energy levels, or overall health (more on this later).  Just because I have noticed a difference in how I feel does not mean I think cutting out processed sugars will ‘fix’ everyone’s problems.  However, I would encourage you to play around with what you eat to find out what works best for your body.

On that note, I’ll leave you with some more pictures from our trip :).  These were all taken in Beijing.  I’ll share some from the other cities in the next couple of days.

This adorable lady invited us into her home. I wish I could have taken her home with us!

Spinning the prayer wheels at one of the local temples.

A little shrine at one of the gardens I visited.

I loved the architecture and the vibrant colors everywhere.

Such a relaxing place amongst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Hmmm not sure I trust the food in this clean "environment"

What a happy guy!

One of the watchtowers at the Forbidden City

Houses along the moat at the edge of the Forbidden City

Some Chinese delicacies I did not try.....

Archway to the Great Wall

This was at the bottom of the Great Wall! Globalization at its finest.

Nighttime view of Houhai Lake

Question: Have you ever cut anything out of your diet?  What was it and for how long did you do it?  Did you notice any improvements?

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Filed under Milestones, Travels

Mindful Eating in China

We’re back from China!  Before I get into what I ate while we were in China, I have to tell you that we had a fabulous time.  After living in Japan for the past three years, I thought I had an idea of what to expect from the Chinese people, but boy was I wrong.  The Chinese people are very different from the Japanese.  Don’t get me wrong, we loved it there, but it was definitely crazy and reminded me of being back in Peru in a lot of ways.  Once I got my elbows out and remembered how to fight the crowds, touring around was much more enjoyable :).

Our first week was spent in Beijing where my husband had a class.  Since he was busy all day, I spent the time getting to know the city on my own.  I went on a group tour one day, but the other days I was on my own.  I’m happy to admit that I only got lost once!  I thought touring on my own would be boring, but I actually had a lot of fun.  I really wish Giff could have come with me because I saw a lot of really cool things that I know he would have loved, but c’est la vie, right?

At a Chinese garden.

One of the many streets I walked in Beijing.

Some peanut noodles that were out of this world!

With the Forbidden City in the background.

At the "Bird's Nest" (one of the stadiums from the Olympics)!

After his class was over, we got to visit The Great Wall together with many of his classmates.  The Great Wall exceeded my expectations.  It was awesome—totally worth a trip to China!

At The Great Wall!

So many steep stairs....

The next day we left for a mountain town called Yangshuo.  We took a two-hour boat ride down the Li River to get to Yangshuo.  It was really beautiful and another place we would highly recommend to anyone planning a trip to China.  Yangshuo was touristy, but we still really enjoyed it.  It was very different from both Beijing and Shanghai so we’re glad we got to see it.

Our bamboo boat

Cruising down the Li River

Hanging out in Yangshuo

Shanghai was the last stop on our trip.  It is a really cool city—very modern with a Western feel.  Shanghai has an awesome skyline!

Shanghai Skyline

At the Vue Bar

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from China, but I have to admit that the trip was even better than I imagined it would be.  With that said though, it’s always nice to come back home.

Anyway, on to my food adventures in China.  Before Amanda and I started our naturally sweet summer, I told her that I wasn’t going to worry about what I ate while we were on vacation in China for two weeks.  Since I don’t speak Chinese or really know much about what goes into Chinese cooking (i.e. sugar), I decided it wasn’t worth worrying about it while on vacation.  Vacation is usually a time when we allow ourselves to splurge a little anyway, right :)?!?

Even though I said I wasn’t going to worry, I still didn’t want to go over the top because I really want to reach my goal of not eating sugar until August 20th.  For the most part, I steered clear of sugar (as best I could) with a few exceptions:

  • I ate bread.  Bread is almost always made with sugar (though not very much).  I didn’t eat bread that often, but sometimes it was my only option (like on our flights when I thought the main entree wasn’t very good).  I know I could have passed it up altogether, but I get pretty crabby when I’m hungry and for Giff’s sake, I thought it was better to eat the bread than be crabby :).  Other times we ate bread because we wanted it….
  • Shanghai Steamed Pork Buns...Delicious!

  • We found authentic Neapolitan pizza.....I was in heaven!

  • I had Chinese Bubble Tea…twice.  I LOVE Chinese bubble tea and I can’t get it that often.  The first time I tried it was in college and I loved it.   Almost every time I see it, I treat myself to it so I thought I had to try it in China.  I tried it twice just to be on the safe side J.  I’m sure it has sugar in it, but it was worth every sip!
  • Proof of my Bubble Tea

  • I tried one bite of Giff’s dessert.  This was the only bite of dessert I had in the two weeks we were there.  This is definitely a vacation record for me.  I always treat myself to dessert on vacation, but I passed it up every time except this once.  It was actually at a German pub and looked too good to pass up (fried apple rings….yum!).
  • The one and only dessert I tried.....and some delicious German beer.

  • I drank beer and had some cocktails that may or may not have had sugar.  I have been drinking wine since we started this challenge.  I’m not sure if wine has added sugar or if it’s just sweet from the grapes, but I decided it was something I would allow myself to have since I only treat myself to it on the weekends.  I had not been drinking beer though because I thought it had added sugar, or any cocktails.  I’m not sure if beer does have sugar or not, but I had some on vacation and I had some fancy cocktails at some of the fancy bars we went to in Shanghai.
  • Chinese food.  I’m guessing that some of the foods I ate had sauces that were made with sugar.  They were all savory dishes, but some of them tasted slightly sweet.
  • I ate “plain” yogurt that I’m pretty sure had sugar in it.

Other than that, I think I did a pretty good job of not eating sugar.  Believe it or not, I actually lost 3 pounds on vacation!  That is definitely a first for me.  I worked out three times and walked A LOT.  Despite all the walking, I actually felt like I had more energy than I’ve had in a long time.  Perhaps not eating sugar is a good thing for me.

Lessons Learned

  • Despite the fact that I ate sugar, I was conscious of it every time—more so than I ever have been before.  This challenge has taught me how often I eat sugar during the day without even realizing it.  Although the sugar I consume throughout the day might be consumed in small quantities, it adds up over the course of a day/week/month.
  • It is possible to watch someone eat dessert without having to try it.  (You can ask any of my friends…I am notorious for asking for bites of people’s food so it’s quite a feat for me to not ask for a bite.)
  • Is it really worth it?  There were many times when I wanted to try a bite or sip of something Giff was eating or drinking, but I would ask myself, is it really worth it?  The only time I decided it was worth it was for the German dessert.  I ate my one bite, without any remorse, and didn’t feel like I needed any more.
  • My motto is not “all or nothing”.  I have said before that I do not plan on giving up processed sugar for the rest of my life, but I’m doing this challenge to see how giving it up makes me feel.  Just because I ate sugar a few times on vacation, I don’t feel like a quitter or that I should give up the challenge altogether.  It was good for me to see that I can have it here and there without overdoing it.
  • Cravings will go away.  There were some nights when I was really craving something sweet—especially chocolate.  If I were home, I would go to the kitchen to try to make something or eat something to satisfy my craving.  Since we were on vacation though, I didn’t have that option.  The cravings went away every time.  This is something I need to remind myself now that I’m home again.

I’ll wrap it up here since I have already written a novel.  If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking with me J.

Questions: Do you usually ‘splurge’ on vacation?  What are your tips for staying healthy while traveling?

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Filed under Uncategorized

Confession

I ate sugar…..not once, not twice, but three times! Oopsie.  Each time it was an accident so hopefully I’m forgiven :).  Rather than stress about it, I’m just using these times as a reminder to myself that I really need to think about what I’m eating and what it might have in it.  It’s amazing how many products are made with sugar!  It makes me grateful that I don’t have a food allergy because I realize how easy it is to forget—or not think about it—and eat something I’m not ‘supposed’ to eat.  I guess if I had an allergy I would me more cautious, but you get the point.

On to my slip-ups.  The first time happened on day two when I made some delicious homemade veggie burgers for lunch.  I have been wanting to try the Temes Family Carrot Burgers for a long time after my friend Lindsay as been ranting and raving about them for so long.  The burgers called for breadcrumbs and without thinking, I dumped a handful of breadcrumbs from my pantry into the bowl.  As soon as I mixed them in I realized they probably had sugar and sure enough, I was right.  Despite my goal of not eating sugar, I am not willing to waste perfectly good food, so I cooked them and ate them anyway.  In addition to the breadcrumbs in the burgers, the recipe also says to coat the burgers in breadcrumbs before they are cooked so that time around I remembered to use panko breadcrumbs that don’t have any sugar.

Anyway, these burgers were a nice break from any other veggie burger I’ve had before.  Other than the fact that the burgers are shaped into patties, they aren’t trying to be a burger in any other way.  Some veggie burgers I’ve had in the past try too hard (in my opinion) to resemble a regular burger, and usually don’t taste that great.  These burgers were totally different—savory with a hint of sweetness.  I ate them topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and topped with applesauce.  I also dipped each bite into some balsamic vinegar—ala Amanda—yum!

My other slip-ups happened on days three and four.  While substitute teaching the other day, a teacher offered me a Ritz cracker at snack time.  I was pretty hungry so I ate it, but afterward I realized that it probably had sugar in it.  I came home and checked the box of Ritz that has been sitting in my pantry for months on end (I think I bought them for a project with my English students) and saw that they certainly do have sugar in them.  Busted again.  At least I stopped after the one, right?!

Last, but not least, my husband and I went out to eat at a Turkish restaurant last night.  We love their hummus and without thinking I dove right in to the warm, homemade pita bread and slathered some hummus on it.  For dinner I had a chicken kebab wrap.  Honestly, it wasn’t until this morning that I realized the pita and wrap probably both have sugar in them.  I have already decided that I’m not going to worry too much about not eating sugar when I go out to eat, but I still plan to be conscious about what I order and try to avoid ordering things that I know are made with sugar.  Last night’s slip-ups could have easily been avoided had I thought about it.  I’m going to blame the fact that I have two big finals due this week for grad school and was focused much more on them than whether or not my pita was made with sugar!

And now for the delicious carrot burger recipe thanks to the Temes family:

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup shredded carrots

1 slightly beaten egg

1 cup bread crumbs (plus ¼ – ½ cup additional crumbs to roll patties in)

2 tbsp finely chopped onions (or a handful of dried onion flakes)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp worcester sauce

½ cup sunflower seeds (optional)—I used walnuts because that’s what I had on hand.

Combine all ingredients (including the 1 cup bread crumbs, but reserve extra). Form mixture into four balls and shape into patties. Coat patties with additional bread crumbs. Fry/cook in butter in a saute pan, until browned (they often burn a little, or get kind of black, but thats ok).

Serve on buns and/or topped with cinnamon and applesauce.

*Also delicious dipped in balsamic vinegar.

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Filed under Main Courses, Vegetarian

And So It Begins

Welcome to our new blog!  We are two best friends about to start our journey of mindful eating by consuming more wholesome and unrefined foods.  Please check out the “How It All Began” section to read more about how this blog originated.  We look forward to seeing where this blog takes us and we hope you’ll follow us on our journey.

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