Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Treasures

My Treasures From This Holiday Season
This is our fisher price Hanukkah set. Florida Grandma got it for the kids when Zach(12) was quite young. We bring it out each year and no matter how big the kids get they love to play with it, the gifts really open the fridge and stove do to, and when you press on the menorah the magic happens and it lights up and plays the dreidel song.
Here Ariana is lighting the candles on the 7Th night of Hanukkah. Nikolas so seriously lights the candles on the last night of Hanukkah. He is proud to be able to do this as this was the first year we let him light the candles by himself. He is such a big boy! Ariana loves her new webkin, she named him Freedom.
I have never seen a 7 yr old SO excited to get books on the last night of Hanukkah!
The Menorah always looks so beautiful to me on the last night, I love when all the candles are lit. The kids are so proud that they are able to say the prayers and light the candles without much help. They truly are my treasures!
*note our goofy wind up dreidel in the photo. It's such a silly thing but the kids want it out each year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Some Thoughts for Today

Last night Brian and I watched a movie Peaceful Warrior, based on the book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Based on a true story it was an uplifting movie, about an arrogant young gymnast that learned to live in moment and enjoy the journey. Of course then I started thinking. ( I do that quite often)

I woke up thinking about how this all relates in my life, and it most certainly does especially in the past few years. For one reaching goal weight, when I got there I was excited that moment on the scale, then what? When I train for a race, what happens when I get over the excitement of finishing it? The training, the healthy eating, the preparation, is really what it is all about, not only achieving the goal. The health benefit is in the getting to the goal not the number on the scale or the time it took me to finish one race. The process is what brings good health.

Of course it is great to achieve goals; however, I need to really put perspective there and be prepared, what's next. I have to set more goals beyond to not allow myself to reach that state of "Oh no" what am I going to do next! Let down with no where to do, is a sure trigger for failure. The tricky part is not focusing on that, but what I must do today, and being right here right now.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in what seems so important and must get done. Laundry and dishes and grocery shopping. Yes, it must be done. I just hope that I can get beyond that thinking and thinking about it all the time, plan better so that when I am not doing everyday tasks I can enjoy what I am doing. I have to say that over the past week, I have enjoyed my youngest child's birthday and then Hanukkah with my family. It was really nice to not pressure myself to do anything much. I played games with the kids, put together paper star wars models with my youngest, and just spent general time really relaxing. I have felt good and seems I have even managed to get more done. How does that work? Not really sure. Perhaps, the fact that I just didn't stress over what I should be doing. Amazing how that all works out.

Last night I cooked a great meal for my family and we enjoyed chatting and eating. My husband had to go back to work today, which is a bummer and I have lots of things to work on. I have finished up all my knitting projects and need to start another one. This time of the year I can't stand to not have one going. I had some deadlines of projects for gifts and then I finished up my felted yoga mat bag (which I still need to felt).

I have a huge stack of books to get to, plus I need to study. I find that having a plan for what I am going to do when, really helps. If it is all scheduled out it all gets done without too much worry and I hope to enjoy what I am doing when I am doing it.

Seems a simple task, sometimes just not as simple as it seems.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday

Last year at this time, Ariana was missing her two front teeth. It is a milestone for me with my kids. I think when those two upper front teeth grow in the kids get a more grown up look. This December Nikolas is missing his two front teeth. My baby is now in his more 'grown up stage'. I love my children and I am excited to see them grown and learn and also sometimes morning for my precious babies and toddlers. They have grown so fast!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday Treasures

Taking photos of the kids together is never easy. This one cracks me up because they rarely act like this(especially for photos), which is why I like this photo so much. It was nice at least for this moment they were goofing off and being nice to each other instead of....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Piles of Latkes.....

Bring Miles of smiles..... Nikolas couldn't wait to eat his latkes tonight!!!
Happy Hanukkah to all my friends that celebrate. Zach is reading the prayers, Ariana lit the candles and then Nikolas lit the electric menorah in the front window.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mourning the burial of my cucumber patch....

It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, I took this photo of the kids outside on the deck, with only sweaters on. It was chilly but we were not freezing by any means. Then last weekend we get an ice storm, followed by days without power and being cold. Yesterday the snow came fast and furious. Schools were dismissed early, workers left and whatever ground was not still covered in white was certainly going to be. Including my beautiful cucumber patch. I morn the loss of my small little garden and can not wait until the sun returns so I can being a growing again. When I stepped outside this morning this is what I came out to on my front steps. The snow was up to the top of my boots (calf height) yikes.... This is my hubby's car, buried in the white stuff. No fun to clear off but finally after shoveling the back deck and the driveway we even had to clean it off too. The one thing that I can say is Nikolas LOVES the snow. We have to force him to go out the rest of the year, but when the snow comes he is out in it. He was outside today (temps in the teens) for two hours before deciding that enough is enough. He burrowed his way into the snow, in several places. You would think that we had a snow mole in our yard. I am SO glad that he likes to play outside in the snow. I love to watch how excited he gets. Helps me get through it. Still looking forward to more yummy cucumbers next year..... seems so far away!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flashback Friday

This is the first time for me to post a photo for flashback Friday. I came across this photo going through old disks of photos while snowed in today. What an eye opener. I laughed so hard remembering trying on my 'old' pants and realizing that another person could fit in there with me. After making a joke about it. Zach actually did climb in there with me. He was maybe 7 in the photo. How funny.... I hope that he always fits in those pants with me! I never want to fit in them myself!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The New Year is Coming!

I started thinking this morning after reading a post on Kristin's Raw here about New Year's Resolutions. She is having a give away and to enter you have to answer the question 'What are your New Year's Resolutions?'

For many years, I would set that resolution, like so many others to lose weight, to be healthy, you know the drill. Many of you have been there yourselves. After awhile I finally decided that I wasn't even going to set any New Year's Resolution, mostly because I failed miserably year after year. It only brought on lack of desire and confidence from being disappointed in myself for not achieving my goals. Eventually, I did achieve these goals but they really didn't have anything to do with New Year's Resolutions. About 5 years ago, I just decided that I would set small realistic goals for myself throughout the whole year. Weight loss goals, fitness goals, family goals you name it. All written in a little journal, dated when I achieved the goal. (if it was the sort you can pin point a date) You can only imagine my excitement when I could sit with my legs crossed for the first time in 10 yrs! Sounds trite I know, however, it was a really big deal to me. My list looked something like this:

  • cross my legs when sitting in a chair
  • be able to put my water bottle between my legs when driving (at the time no cup holders in the car)
  • climb a rock wall (I WAS terrified of heights, now only a bit queasy)
  • learn to swim (with my face in the water)
  • be able to buy clothes in a store that isn't for 'plus' sizes
  • run a half marathon
  • do a triathlon

That's just a few, and as you can see some goals are bigger than others; however, my confidence has increased tenfold not matter the size of my goals. I have achieved all of these goals except the last. I debated not writing it, then decided that I would because despite all odds someday I will do a little triathlon.

I continue all the time to add to this list, to make adjustments where needed and not be so ridgid with myself. I sit as I am typing cold but still drinking my green smoothie for breakfast. Why because another small goal I set for myself. As the weather started getting colder, I found myself not drinking them. Also, I found myself more tired and less goal oriented, letting things go. So my goal is to drink it anyway, even if I have to chase it with a hot cup of tea.

Even though I set goals all year long, and allow myself the flexability to change them as needed I am going to set some goals for this coming year. Here they are:

  1. I am going to continue to persue my MS in Holistic Nutrition, despite how much I am challenged to get the work done and adjust my schedule. I have proven to myself that I can learn (despite my age) and do really well in school. I hope to make good strides in getting closer to graduation this year.
  2. I am going to continue to exercise and challenge myself to reach new levels of fitness, including adding yoga on a regular basis, even if it means doing it alone at home. Add weight training, and getting myself back on my bike (when the snow is gone) and back in the pool (which I haven't swam since I left WA)
  3. I will continue to teach (mostly by example) the desire to live a healthy life, through foods and fitness to my children.
  4. I will start to plan my first 'real' garden during the winter so that I will be ready when spring comes.

There you have it. I do think that these are all reasonable goals that I can achieve this year. I am going to be setting smaller goals to reach these bigger ones. I will come back to this next year and see where I stand.

What are your goals for yourself next year? Please share I would love to hear about them....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Feeling Really Grateful for Modern Life!

This was an absolutely busy and crazy few days. I already posted briefly that we finally have power back on. Thursday night the weather started getting unpredictable. I was already a bit anxious about my oral review that I had. I also cancelled my cub scout meeting as I really didn't want any of my cubs and their families getting out in the bad weather. I had no idea what we were in for. I was happy to make it through my oral exam (which is over the phone, and grueling).The next morning we woke up and had no power. I assumed that the kids had no school because there was no answer at any of the district numbers. Brian had to go to work, and when he got there (to assure me that he was safe) he indeed called to let me know that there wasn't school and that he had made it safely to work. The kids were excited to be home for a long weekend. Little did they know what they were in for. When I got up and got outside to see what I needed to do in the driveway. Here was this HUGE branch lying across our driveway AND the neighbors as well. If Brian didn't go to work, his car would have been the crash pad for this very heavy 'branch' that fell at least 100 ft.
Despite no power the trees were actually beautiful. The branches looked like glass and crashed to the ground like it too.
With no power we moved blankets and mattress down near the fireplace. So grateful for a great neighbor that has an excess of wood and it kept up at least warmer than it was outside. After a cold night up stoking the fire Brian took a nap and Dasher was happy to cuddle up and make sure that his neck didn't get cold. That kitty is such a goof ball! We were fortunate that after a few days the power came back on just in time for us to celebrate our darling Nikolas' birthday. Happy Birthday Sweetie. My baby turned 7 today! My mother in law baked the cake and drove up with my brother in law (and a generator, arriving two hours before the power came back on). The next day my two sister' in law came over with our nieces. We got to celebrate Nikolas' birthday with lights and heat!!!!
During the outage, at least during the day I finished up two gifts for some special people in my kiddos lives...
Here's a close-up of the first one.
Then I started this second scarf. I am only about a quarter of the way done, once it got dark I couldn't see well enough to work on it. I will keep plugging away until I get it done, I hope in time!!!
Here's a close-up of this one. It's hard to tell but it's a ruffly type pattern. I really love it and want to make myself one with self-striping yarn. I think it will be really great!!! Ariana also asked me to teach her to knit, so I was excited to take the time to start to teach her a little too. I sure hope that she will continue to practice at it.
I hope that everyone is warm, dry and safe. I am so appreciate for heat and light, it is so easy to take advantage of things we have everyday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Power is Finally ON!!

Hurray... we finally have our power! I will write more on it later.. have few photos to share too.. never been SO cold in my house..Brrrrr.. The power went out shortly after I finished my oral review/exam for my class.. so excited I checked my grade a few minutes ago.. I finished my class with a 98! wahoooo!! Then I cleaned the fridge out.. yuck!more later

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Cost of Things...

In the past few days, I have been catching up on blog reading, and of course that gets me to do a lot of thinking probably too much. I can't say exactly which post got my brain rolling first; however, those of you that know me, know once I get on a topic of thought I better get it out or it will consume me. So in order to be able to 'move on' here goes:

First I have to share this link: This is a post by a friend of mine at Studio J. The video she put on her blog has a powerful message. It blew me away. Go now. Watch and then come back here.

When I first started watching I thought... Why in the world did she put this video on here, but I kept watching because, I knew there had to be something to it and there was... if you have a daughter(or even a son) please watch. Really what is our society doing to us?

Then it led me to thinking about another blog post I read. Generally speaking I love this blog and read it regularly. So if you didn't read it, sorry I wont post it here. I mean no harm. Just have to share my own opinion as a person that is studying in the nutritional field(I am not at a mainstream school that teaches by the USDA guidelines). The writer of this blog posted a chart that she felt was appropriate MAX weight for individuals for their height. I was stunned, the writer was adament that medical charts we are used to using were basically wrong to have a range. Holy crap, her chart said that I should weigh no more than 112 lbs! for my 5' 5'' body. YIKES! I wont deny that I would like to weight less than I do now, but if my medical professional told me that I should weigh no more than that number, I would give up. (most people would get discouraged and hit the twinkie bar)For some maybe they can, for MOST they never will. Self esteem is more important than reaching number that low on a scale!

I feel that having a range, IS a better option as it is far better to weigh 150 at 5' 5'' than 265! From a professional standpoint, it is unrealistic to counsel a client/patient to this standard... hence I really started thinking after watching the video. Do we really expect EVERYONE to live to hollywood and the media's standards to be considered healthy(ie worthy). No offense, but many of those people are not healthy(even at 112lbs), they starve themselves and exercise obsessively to stay that way not to mention surgeries and all the other procedures they do to themselves. I wont say all celebreties, because perhaps there are some out there that are 'normally healthy'.

I know that I could run faster with less weight however, I really don't run to be fast, I run to clear my mind and exercise my heart. I accept this. My calling is not to be an elite runner, just a healthy one. I really hope that my daughter (or sons for that matter) or yours, do not ever feel they are not good enough because their body isn't that tiny. Truth be told we can not and will not all be that small no matter what we do, and for some it will be an obsession and become what the video link above depicts. I don't wish that wanting and pain on anyone. Life is too precious and a size 10 just isn't that big in the scheme of things. I absolutely despise this about our media, young teens are highyly affected by what they read and see.

Moving on:

With that off to my third thing. Promise its not near as deep or controversial, but still close to my heart. It's the cost of water... yes water.... I love that add (above)and they have another that says something to the effect of 'I dont need any fancy bottle and caps'.

Water bottles, they are all over the gym, they are everywhere. Water it's so important. It makes up 60 % of your body and without it, our bodies can not function, all the way down to the cellular level. (if the cells don't funtion, neither will you) so here's my point. Drink water AND be aware of how many times do you buy bottled water? Did you know that if you bought a reusable water bottle you could save as much as $1400 a year! Wow!!!

I know your next thought, but I refill the bottles until they are falling apart- well they fall apart because the plastic is breaking down, into your water! which means that you are drinking all the 'stuff' that they use to make the water bottles, at a cost to your body especially your liver, which is trying to keep your body free of toxins.

Here's a bit of info on plastic bottles with PET #1 copied from an article here: Polyethylene terephalate (PET or PETE) – Used in soft drink, juice, water, beer, mouthwash, peanut butter, salad dressing, detergent and cleaner containers. Leaches Antimony trioxide: workers exposed to antimony trioxide for long periods of time have exhibited respiratory and skin irritation; among female workers, increased incidence of menstrual problems and miscarriage; their children exhibited slower development in the first twelve months of life. The longer a liquid is left in such a container the greater the concentration of antimony released into the liquid.

I would never tell anyone to not use any plastics, but to educate yourself and make choices as to what you want. Never having any plastics would be really tough. Choose wisely. My husband called me today from work to tell me he finally understands why I choose to not reheat food in plastic containers in the microwave (along with my other plastic issues). He used a plastic knife at work to score an orange and peel it he said there was a black strip of stuff on the orange, first thought it was a worm, strangely enough it wasn't. It was the knife breaking down onto the orange. I can finally buy him some metal silverware for his lunches! Hurray! Yes, it may cost a bit more to have 'real' silverware in your lunch box, but in the long run I doubt it. Please consider reusable/washable bottles and containers to carry lunch and picnic foods. For water at home it is less expensive in the long run to put a filtration system in your house and even less to get a pur or brita filter to just fill your reusable bottles. It will decrease the landfills (please recycle) and even better why even recycle in the first place. In the matter of fact a gallon of Dasani would cost you about $8 a gallon. (This could vary depending on brand, price and location and these figured are based on $1.50 for a 20oz Dasani)We thought gas was expensive!

So I guess what I am saying is we really have to think of The true cost of things. Our emotional well being, our physical health, and our environment. What do we want for ourselves and our families now and in the future. Sometime the costs of things weighs far more than the effects on our checkbooks. Somethings are priceless we can not buy them nor replace them once they are damaged or gone. Make the best choices possible in every situation. I wish each one of you, good health and happiness.....

Namaste (the spirit in me, bows to you and respects the spirit in you)

PS. I am in a very thinking mood and yes I missed my yoga class today.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Feast Fit for a Vegetarian King!

Wishing Everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I started cooking some of the food for today's meal yesterday. My very first time making cranberry sauce from scratch! It was much easier than I thought and so very good! Definitely a success with the family. The only thing that I didn't make from scratch was the tofurky... No one in my family has ever liked it before. Today, it only lasted about 2 minutes on the table and there is not one bit of it leftover for tomorrow. (sigh) These mashed potatoes were to die for! Hurray! I loaded them with chives and they were delicious. Of course they were the spuds that we dug up in October.... I hope you didn't miss out of this great sale from Zach's boy scout troop.... These taters are the best!!! Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete to me without the corn pudding. I replaced the white sugar with sucanat, it worked out great and the corn pudding was delicious!
This was a brand new recipe to me. I took it right off the cover of vegetarian times! It was loaded with mushrooms, red peppers(the ones I didn't eat while cooking) and believe it or not I put mushrooms in it too! pretty good... I also made stuffing(although it wasn't stuffed into anything) made with whole grain bread, apples, walnuts, some seasonings and fresh apple juice. I forgot to upload a photo sorry... No Thanksgiving is complete without dessert, this one was great...apple crisp made with apples (of course) oats, spelt flour, a bit of butter and sucanat.. This was fabulous. I haven't had any dessert in a LONG time, but I justified it being that I went to the gym and did an hour and half aerobics class this morning! Our Y does it every year, admission is non-perishable food item... What a killer workout... Ariana gives dinner the thumbs up!!! Dasher is enjoying the fire today, the first time we have lit it this season! Boys will be boys! What more can I say.... may not want to enlarge this photo ;) No Thanksgiving is complete without turkey, so here's ours. Ariana made it at school and he is cute and patriotic, no antibiotics, hormones and well he's free range too!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vegetables In The Winter?!?!

When I first moved to upstate NY from WA State, it was such a change in terms of buying produce. Since we arrived in August, the shock wasn't so apparent until the winter months. My favorite produce/farm stand closed down in December. That's when reality set in. What am I going to eat???

This is when I really started focusing on learning even more about nutrition. Hence the addition of this ol' mom going back to school. I digress. I started learning that sometimes us Americans have gotten so far away from nature, that even in our eating patterns we have really done ourselves a disservice. What do I mean?

Aside from the fact that many of our very own children don't have a clue about where food comes from besides Price Chopper/Albertsons/Safeway, some children are even mortified by the fact that their food grew in the dirt, and maybe even had bugs on it(Vitamin B-12- another post). How did we get to this point? It is just too easy to go into the store and pick up the first box with pretty writing that says 'All Natural' if it was truly all natural would it be in a box? So many people say, I can't afford to buy vegetables right now. Why? We are programed that we are supposed to eat salad EVERY day to be healthy, truth be known that spinach doesn't grow in upstate NY in the winter. So What do I do? Of course out of season vegetables are going to be more expensive when they are out of season. Ever tried to buy a watermelon in February? Not only is it expensive but it is not tasty, nor did it retain it's nutrients for the thousands of miles it's traveled. So why buy it?

Winter has its own vegetables that grow, harvest season by nature is in October! This is when SO many of our fabulous winter vegetables are ready to be eaten. Nature is an amazing thing and we should all spend more time thinking about how much we have deviated from this and how to get back to it. It's amazing because, I went to visit a local farm a few weeks ago and stocked up so now in my basement (used to be known as a root cellar because that is where all root veggies were stored for the winter) I have spaghetti squash, delicata squash, acorn squash butternut squash and about 70 lbs of fresh local grown spuds! This is where most of my winter meals will come from! When bought in season these vegetables are cheap and are in their best nutritious state! Ever bought a pumpkin in May? Of course not, this is because you can't get them. This is the thought process we should have for MOST veggies. Sadly most of us don't.

I have to admit that I have struggled with this myself. More last winter than I will this one. It doesn't mean that I wont miss my cucumbers, it will mean I will love them that much more next summer. I can't say that I will never eat them all winter. I will spend more time focusing on what's available and in season, knowing that all my favorites are coming back next year and they will taste even better.

The reason that winter vegetables and fruits cycle is amazing. In the summer when it's hot we need more water, we do not necessarily drink all we need, so nature has provided us with high water content foods like watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and berries. In the winter when we need warmth, although the media would disagree, we would naturally need more insulation hence heavier foods that may even put a few pounds on us. This is a natural process for humans that goes way back. We didn't used to gain weight from Christmas cookies so please don't get confused with that. This winter, try to stick to warming soups and chilli's that use produce in season or closer to it. Not only will your health notice but so will your checkbook. If you must splurge once in awhile do it, but just remember it is not your only option.

Changing our thinking is hard, however, we can do this in a slow process and be successful in it. The rewards will be there, in every way. I am looking forward to sharing more great winter recipes with all of you! We can eat our veggies in the winter. Fruits too.

PS: I am practically living off of apples right now, I can't even express how grateful I am to be living in a such a place that is so full of delicious apples!! Yummy!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Finally Here...

The recipe and review of the Black Bean Burger! I am thrilled to be able to kick one more processed food off my grocery list, with the successful making of this black bean burger recipe. I have been eating the Morning Star Farms ones, much less than I used to, but keeping them around for days when I need a quick meal. No more, I am planning on making a large batch of these to freeze for busy days. Really they were so easy to make and all the ingredients were things I keep in the house. I only had to make my bread crumbs....

This recipe is from Veganomicon Isa Chandra Moskowitz of The Post Punk Kitchen.
Are you ready??

Black Bean Burgers

2 Cups cooked Black beans or 15 oz can drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 plain whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp chile powder (or more if you like more spice, I will add more next time)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup water
1 T tomato paste (or ketchup)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional, I did not use it)
2 cloves of garlic (or all the garlic you own)
1/2 small onion
@ 2 tablespoons olive oil plus olive oil spray (I did not use spray, I had no problems browning on both sides)
Whole Wheat Buns ( I made mine from Tam's Best Yet Whole Wheat Bread)

Mash the beans in a mixing bowl, don't puree them just mash till no whole beans were left. ( I still left a few and mashing will help the burgers stay together) Add Wheat Gluten, Bread Crumbs, chile Powder, cumin, water, and tomato paste (cilantro if using) don't mix yet... use a micro plane grater of garlic press and add garlic, do the same with onion, I actually just finely diced the onion. Mix together with a fork, then proceed to knead until the mixture is completely mixed and firm.

Preheat skillet with oil. Divide mixture into six balls and proceed to cook, a few at a time as you need to really flatten them out so they will cook all the way through. Press with a spatula while cooking, turn to brown both sides. The patties will be firm when finished.

I suppose that you could really get creative with the seasoning, of these burgers and season any style you liked. They were simple to make and we just added some veggies and fruit and had a complete meal.

I would love to know what you all think.

Veganomicon is quickly become my favorite cookbook. I have only had it for a few weeks now. I had a 40% off coupon for borders and I am so glad that I brought it home. I have tried 3 or 4 recipes from it all a success so far, eaten by the whole family. Nothing is better than a meal that passes by all 5 of us!

* Just a hint I use when cooking, I will make notes in my cookbooks after making a recipe for the first time, what I would like to do to make the recipe better, tastier, mistakes I made etc. I really helps. Sometimes I will just write Dud.... if we didn't like it at all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Eat This.....

I have not posted much, does wanting to post count? I have in the midst of lots going on, felt a strong need to have healthy whole foods to supplement healing and stress reduction. Yes I strongly believe that immunity to disease(physical and emotional) comes from what you put in your body. So I will say it again, You are What You Eat. (for the most part)

Here's a great soup recipe It's delicious, easy and vegan, and I just can't stop thinking about and in the matter of fact, I am going to make it again this week... Not to mention those yummy spuds that I have in abundance and need to eat.

Corn and Potato Chowder

2 TBS Vegetable Oil (I think I used coconut oil)
2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 medium onion
1 leek (white part only, saved the rest for broth)
2 cups corn kernels (I used frozen, or cut from 4 cobs, wouldn't that be yummy)
2 medium russet potatoes (I used our eastern whites, might be fun to try with yams too)
5 cups rich vegetable broth
2TBS chopped fresh basil or 2 t dried
1 t chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 t dried
salt and pepper to taste

In a pot over medium heat, warm the oil, add carrots, celery, onion, and leek, stirring until soft. (10 min)

Add the corn, potatoes, broth, thyme and basil. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the liquid is reduced to just cover the ingredients (I admit I didn't pay much attention to this part, and I added a bit of garlic too)

In batches transfer into the blender and blend, I only blended a portion of it (maybe half) as I really like more texture to my soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy...

*This recipe if from The Big Book of Vegetarian by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley (here)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jumping off the Rollar Coaster of Life...

I can not express how busy life has been, the one thing that I can be very grateful for these days is that my self care habits have really made a difference. What do I mean, well eating and exercise of course. Along with good old healthy stress reduction methods(yoga and meditation, plus exercise) For the last few weeks, I have had to be put into a roll of taking care of everyone and carrying the load for my husband as well. This is no easy task for a family as busy as ours. I can only say that I did, maybe not so gracefully but I did it just the same. Perhaps the rollar coaster ride is stopping and normal life can resume (if there is such a thing as normal)

On top of it all, I finished a very challenging class, Physiology and Anatomy of the Digestive Process, I learned more than one would really ever imagine about intestinal function, balance and yes microbes (otherwise known as intestinal bugs, bacteria, microflora etc....) I have been ruined for life in eating fast without chewing my food fully and I guess that is just ok by me! I feel even better than I did before.

I just got off the phone with my sister and it's been awhile since we have really talked, I always feel so good after a conversation like this because so many people don't feel the way I do about food, or really get it, Denise does. How many people are excited to hear about what you are storing in your pantry and how you are preparing food, and how it makes you feel? I guess that is why I come here, because many of you (not that there are that many of you) feel the same way, and I need to connect with others out there.

In the mist of family chaos, I have managed to maintain healthy whole foods in my diet. Yeah! Not an easy task being I barely sat in my own house. I have tried many new recipes, most have been a total success. My favorite is a vegan corn and potato chowder. I will share that info soon as I really feel like everyone should try it at least once! I really can't stop thinking about it, and being that I have 70 lbs of potatoes I must use them up. Remember the pototoes we dug up with the scouts. Well they are SOOOO good I don't think I could ever buy another store potato again! I have made SO many recipes with them. Veganomicon is filled with little markers of recipes to try.

I haven't made it to the gym much, but I am happy to report that I am back on schedule this past week. My gym added indoor cycling and that is fabulous. I just love it. I am hoping in the next few weeks to regain my regular routine of school, gym, and cooking during the day and find myself having a good time with the family in the evenings. I have been knitting a yoga mat bag ,that will be felted, and I am really happy with how it is turning out. I am finishing up the strap now and I will post photos of it, before and after felting. I find knitting to be very mediative and relaxing and even if I am watching tv and such in the evenings, I feel that I am being productive as well.

What has everyone else been up too?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Catching Up!

Here's the kids on Halloween. One of the last stops on our block for trick or treating...
Zach dressed as Zorro.
Ariana dressed on Halloween, She was the flag pole with Betsy Ross' 13 star flag, notice the eagle on her head. She really cracks me up! Watch out bad guys the Green Arrow is on the street. It's Nikolas!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Drumroll Please...... The winner is......

Crispy! Congrats.... Here's Crispy's comment... "I have not read it but I look forward to reading it...as we are looking forward to adopting, I think it would be a great addition if we get to start the baby years off again (it has been awhile)." Please email me your mailing information (there is a link on my profile) and I will mail it out to you in the next few days! Your going to love it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I have got to get this off my chest

As some of you know, weight loss is a very important topic in my life. Thus I enjoy watching the biggest loser and seeing the amazing transformations of people gaining confidence and ability in themselves. So when I was watching last night, for the first time in all the years BL has been on the air, I was utterly disappointed in what I saw.

If you saw it please bear with me, and if not, I will explain. Each week the contestants are given a challenge, and the first one came in the form of a big advertisement for a book. The book Eat This Not That, and it's author was 'advertised' on the show. Then the contestants played a little game, blue team against black team. The host and author showed two plates of food and then the contestant had to decide if they should eat this or that. (the book just shows photos and says eath this not that) I was crawling out of my skin looking at the options. One choice was between Chicken enchiladas with the works or 18 light beers! Each had just about a whole days calories and NO absolutely NO nutrition. I was appalled.

This book is a best seller, in the matter of fact he has two Eat This Not That books now. I have looked at them in the stores to see what the hypen was about and never even considered purchasing it. I am completely disappointed in the fact that NONE of the options put on the table were nutritionally sound, there was barely a vegetable on the table (with exception of a green salad and a Caesar salad) nor fruit. Shouldn't' these people be promoting something else, like NOT eating in fast food joints. One 1100 calorie meal is not what one should eat EVER! imagine how much fresh produce, even beans and nuts, you would have to eat in one meal to equal that amount of calories!

Would love to hear anyone Else's thoughts on the matter. I hope not to offend, however to get healthy and lose weight one much decide to give up these foods completely unless they want to lose the weight and gain it right back. Permant changes to fresh foods is imperative for successful weight loss/balance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Giveaway-Blog Candy!!!!

Hey Everyone! It's that time, as promised, I am going to give-away a copy of Permission To Mother to some lucky recipient!! Hurray for someone! As you all know I am Dr Punger's sister and so blessed to have her as my sister and my friend! The only unfortunate thing is that we don't live closer together.

Denise has always had a drive to be a doctor and it's amazing that from 2ND grade when she wrote a paper about it she never looked back! That is total dedication, I have so enjoyed getting to see the medical side of her through her book and her blog posts.

So now for the good stuff. I am going to pick one random person to win a copy of her book. All you have to do is either: Leave a comment stating... if you have read it-Your favorite part in the book Permission To Mother or What you hope to get out of reading it! Oh and feel free to write any other tidbits.....

I will draw a winner to be announced Thursday evening. Check back for the winner and be sure that if you are the winner you send me your shipping info so I can mail your prize to you... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Believe in Yourself

I was sitting here watching the Biggest Loser. The doctor said something to one of the girls, that the reason people have such a hard time starting to lose weight is because people don't believe in them. I think that it helps to have support; however in my own experience I had to take that support from others and turn it in time into support for myself. I have to say it was hard, really hard, to learn how to completely change the way that I feel about myself and the world around me.

I wish I could say that I know how it works. I think it's mostly momentum, like an avalanche, once you gain confidence or the ability to do something that you couldn't do before I had to celebrate. I can't even express the excitement I felt when I could cross my legs again. Then there was the goal to climb a climbing wall (despite my fear of heights I did it). There was the half marathon and many short races. Each time I did something I couldn't do before, it was a chance to celebrate. I kept a journal, and still have it to look at. There are still goals I would like to accomplish.

For the most part, I face my fears and do my best to put them to rest. (OK still dealing with the heights thing) Each step is toward a new day and a better me. It is the only way. It was not only about calories, food and exercise (although its a big part) but dealing with the reason I hid behind my size and my emotions.

For everyone out there trying to lose weight, You can do it. If I did it, so can you. So take my belief in you and use it until you have it in yourself. Share you victories!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Catching Up!

Here's my new 'Do.... I needed to get something done. Nothing is worse than moving and not having a hairdresser. I finally found one! Hurray... it's not the best photo, but you know, if you don't get it when the hairdresser does it it never looks the same! Ariana posing with a pyramid of 16 pound cannon balls! This was in front of a museum in Middleburg, NY. The building that houses the museum is the church that was in the fort walls. The artifacts were amazing. Swords, household tools, kitchen tools etc. There was a pair if knitted socks and I was amazed with it because they must have knitted them with toothpicks! I wish I could have taken photos but it was not allowed inside. They had the oldest 'firetruck' in the country and what a long way technology has brought us! Nikolas posing on the cannon.... What is it with boys and big guns??? We don't even have any at home. It's not our thing. This bridge was rebuilt in the early 80's however, is a duplicate of the original bridge. It was remarkable. I took this photo from that wooden bridge, I zoomed in quite a lot. That house was so beautiful. I have really loved learning about all the history in NY. Where we lived there are historical markers all over the place. Many people have them in their yards, it's hard to read as you drive by, but all history is so interesting. My kids are loving it too. It was great to get out as a family and do something together. We actually found this museum because we drove to this town last weekend when we picked potatoes. (the post is here)After visiting the museum we went back to the farm and gratefully filled a flat bed cart with produce. Lots of different squashes (I have never had) lots of onions and apples and more apples, and pears. Yummy!!!! I figured you all would rather see the photos of what my family is doing rather then hearing about my classwork right now. Transit times (digestion) is not really the exciting thing to discuss on my blog (especially my own). It's definitely been an eye opener for sure!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh you runners out there.....

I have a question for you all. When I run outside I just go, I have increasingly taken time off my average run (maybe cause I am hauling almost 9 less pounds) and have now decreased my average mile/minute by 2 minutes! Yeah! I am SOOO very excited about that.

The dilemma for me is what happens when I run on the treadmill. I just can't seem to set the speed to match the pace I run outside and if I do, I feel like I am sprinting and I get winded so easily. I am being really conscious of my posture and keeping my chest open etc.... Is it just because I find treadmill running boring that I feel like I don't have the conditioning to do it? What do you do in the winter for running when the snow hits and the streets are icy? (if you have that problem) Anyone ever ran with yaktrax (I think that's what they are called).

I am finally back to running without knee pain (after 3 years of barely running at all) and I really don't want to lose it due to the snow and crappy weather that I know is coming. Do any of you have running gear that's made for cold/freezing temperatures? Is it worth the expense? I really want to train for another half marathon this spring?


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh I have been busy!

My Mother in Law came to visit bringing her back seat full of these wonderful veggies! We have been cooking like crazy! I have never seen brussel sprouts on their stalk before. They were good! We cooked up the acorn squash with a blueberries, apple and a bit of succant. It was delicious! The large Hubbard squash I had to THROW onto the driveway to crack it open and we are still working on getting it cut up to cook! Then off to pick potatoes, lots of them, with my oldest son Zach's boy scout troop. Here's Brian at the beginning of the day. In total the group bagged 800 bags of spuds. It was an enormous success of a fundraiser. The farm was beautiful and I loved getting in the dirt it was very relaxing. Here's Zach working on filling up his buckets. Others came through and bagged them up and loaded the bags into trucks to be brought back to town. Here I am with Zach and my prized spud! Click on this photo and see how enormous it really is. And it looks like a submarine! That's the tater field behind us. The farm was amazing and so relaxing to be out there working! Then it was off to Tiger Scout Harvest Fun day. Nikolas runs in a relay race. Ariana does pumpkin bowling. She loved it. Zach also helped the younger kids with bowling here he is encouraging his brother! Here's two of my 'boys' Comet and Dasher. It was a great photo so I had to share! Homemade applesauce. NO sugar or preservatives! Made with fresh NY apples! Here's dinner a few nights ago. Eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, red pepper and a bit of pine nuts and feta in a home made whole wheat crust. I have been busy with the kids, sewing costumes, doing my schoolwork, helping the kids with schoolwork and generally just never stop going. I hope that next week I can get back to more regular blogging. I have managed to fit in a few runs this week, and a few exercise classes and lose a few more pounds too. Yeah!