Alien Abduction

My body is weird. We know that by now.  But lately, it’s been stranger than usual.  All of last week, I had bruises over both ankles.  No clue how they got there. But they were all the way around both legs, like I was doing this  :

I mean, maybe I was.

Yesterday morning, I notice that the bruises on my ankles are mostly gone, but now I have big black and blues on the insides of my knees. ’cause, that makes sense.

I also couldn’t quite walk yesterday.  I was having muscle spasms across my hips and lower back.  It was not really pleasant. But I took some sweet sweet drugs and laid on my couch the entire day, and I am much better this morning.

I really wanted to blame alien abduction for this. Stealing me at night, doing experiments and then returning me to my bed with strange maladies! It explains everything!

But then I realize that I’ve always gotten unexplained bruises, these were just exceptionally unexplainable.  And, that I can probably blame the muscle issues on the fact that I accidentally wore my snowboots for a few full days last week and when I don’t wear my sneakers, it throws all of my joints out of alignment… which would probably then cause some muscle problems.

But if this all has a rational explanation….

Do I have no hope of Mulder coming to save me!?

david-duchovnys-hair-is-perfect

Eh, a girl can dream.

Recent Recipes and Vague Goals

Last time, I talked about how I’m not really making any New Year’s resolutions. This is true!  But as I am still adjusting to eating a mostly Vegan diet, I do have a few little things I’d like to keep in mind as I make food choices.

I can see, now, how it is possible to be “a fat vegan” there are many things that are vegan which are still not healthy (in abundance).  For me – bagels.  I love bagels. And I have always tried to abstain from bagels because they are pretty much just pillows of empty calories. But hey, did you know that most bagels are vegan? Yeaaah. And I had discovered the Tofutti Cream Cheese, so I could have bagels and cream cheese – my favorite food… and have it be vegan.  But is it healthy? Errr…. not exactly.  And was I abusing the situation? Oh, hells yes. Too many bagels. But I am not about to make a No Bagels rule.  I just need to remind myself that this isn’t a fad, and just because bagels are now allowed, doesn’t mean I need to eat them like they are going extinct.

So then, what are my goals?  Well, less bagels for sure.
I also want to limit my intake of faux-anything. Which I actually, have already successfully done. I just want to continue.  So this means less of the tofu cream cheese, soy creamer, soy meats, etc. I like all those things, and I think that in moderation they have a very healthy place in my diet. But the purpose of eating this way is to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of nature!

I also want to lessen my sugar and salt intake. I noticed those two things going up once I started eating vegan as well.  And I need to cut back.

I got some amazing cookbooks for Christmas, so I’d like to make it a habit of trying new recipes often.

Oh, and of course I must include – the goal that will never die because I can never seem to actually do it –  Drink More Water! Blech!

I’m not making any exercise goals. I want to just continue to stay active and do as much as I can when I can. With my joints, the winter weather is really hard on me. So, just keeping my muscles warm and moving is going to have to be enough for awhile.

Now! I’d like to share some recent eats with you!

Citrusy Salad

A pretty simple salad, but the homemade dressing really makes it!

Salad
Romaine lettuce, chopped small
Red cabbage
Clementine segments, chopped in half
Green apple, diced

Dressing
1/4 c. orange juice
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. stone ground mustard (any chunky seedy mustard will do)
Pinch of salt(I went oil-free on this, but a 1/2 tbsp. of oil would be great!)

Just whisk it all together in a little bowl, pour it on and toss all together.  Super delicious, and super easy!

Pickled Red Cabbage

With the rest of the head of cabbage that I used in my salad, I sliced it up and placed it in a large container.
To the cabbage I added :
2 cups of water
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of sugar
1/8 cup of kosher salt
I tossed it all together vigorously, and let it sit in room temp for about 4 hours. I then put it in the fridge for another 4 hours. After that, I had “refrigerator pickled cabbage”
It’s crisp and squeaky but tart and pickley. I love it!  And look at the color!! It is so vibrant and pretty it just makes me happy.

Vegan Apple Crisp

This is actually my favorite crisp I’ve ever made. I made it super heavy on the streusel, which is my favorite part! So, if you make this,  just add more apples to balance it out.

I made this in an 8×8 pan, so also keep that in mind when decided on your apple amounts.

Apple Filling
3 large red apples (any kind but Macintosh. I used Empire), peeled, cored, and sliced.
1 large green apple, peeled, cored, and sliced.

Spread out your apple slices in a lightly greased pan. Sprinkle them with – cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. (to your liking)

Topping
1 cup quick oats
1 cup flour
1/2 to 1 cup of brown sugar (this is also to taste. I did 2/3 cup)
pinch of salt
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
1/2 cup of vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance, it tastes fantastic)

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Melt the butter substitute.
Mix in the melted butter substitute with the dry ingredients and smush them all up with your hands until incorporated and a nice crumbly texture.

Cover the top of the apples with the topping mixture evenly.  Bake at 350 for about 25-35 minutes or until the apples are soft.  The crumble won’t really brown very much, so don’t go by that!

* note : if you want to make this the normal, non-vegan way, just use 1 stick of butter instead of the Earth Balance.

There ya go! Just a few super easy recipes that I’ve been enjoying lately.

I’m glad that the crisp is now gone from the fridge, so I can stop being so tempted by it. It’s your problem now!

I’ll leave you with a couple cuties from yesterday.

Well, hello 2014

I’m actually a big fan of resolutions. I love a good fresh start, and the motivation it brings.  I am, however, not making any real resolutions this year. I know, I know, this makes me a bad blogger, but what can I say?

Last year, at New Year’s, I made a whole program for my resolution – Sweaty13! To workout once a day every day for the whole year. I didn’t keep proper track, but I think I gave up on that around Day 20.  Twenty, out of 365.  Wow, such resolve!  All I did was hurt myself and then make myself feel bad. That is the opposite of what I want to do this year.

This year I want to be nicer to myself. Yes, of course, I want to lose weight, I want to get healthier, more fit, etc. etc. All the same things I want every year. That’s more of a Life-Resolution than a New Year’s one.

Don’t worry, I do have hopes and intentions for this year…

• I intend to continue to eat predominately vegan and see health benefits from it.

• I hope to lose weight and gain strength from my diet and workouts.

• I intend to continue to give a lot of energy to my work, while finding time to relax and enjoy everyday.

• I hope to be creative, artistic, and crafty a bit more.

I’m not making specific weight loss goals. On top of that, I’m not even joining the two Biggest Loser competitions. Even though I am running the one at work, I’ve decided not to participate.  I can allow myself to be motivated by them and be healthy right along with the competitors, but I won’t be fighting for the win.  I want to just make healthy choices for myself and let the weight sort itself out.  I have realized that I can’t force it, and trying so hard just makes it more difficult to deal with.

This year I will be celebrating mine and Joel’s 10 year anniversary together. I will be going to at least 2 weddings. I will be traveling to Michigan (for the first time!) and meeting Joel’s father (for the first time!). I will hopefully be either camping again and/or going to Florida.  I’ll be turning 33. I’ll learn to cook new things.

I’ll succeed and I’ll fail and I’ll just keep trying.

Happy New Year!

 

2013

Wow. Where did the time go? My last post was about Thanksgiving, and here it is a new year! It is times like this that I am glad that nearly all of my readers are my family and
“real-world” friends.  You guys all know where I’ve been – work!  For those that don’t know, I work in publishing, and we go to press in Dec/Jan, so these months are extremely busy for me.  So, I promise, I’m not “glorifying the busy“, I really was busy! I like our busy time the most. It’s fun and the days move so quickly.  We’ve got just 2 magazines left to go, so the heat has died down a bit and I’ve decided to come up for air and say…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I truly hope that every one of you had a wonderful, fun, and relaxing holiday week.  I surely did.  I had my sister staying with me, which was awesome. I got some good quality eatin’ and playin’ time in with my family and with Joel.  So, mission – accomplished!

I apologize, for the blandness of this post, by the way. I forgot my phone at home (AHH, WHAT?!) and I haven’t uploaded any photos yet. So, maybe I’ll do a Part 2 Photo Dump later.

I do need to do the obligatory New Year Post, but first, a little Year in Review :

2013.

Overall, a good year. But certainly, a lot of ups and downs. Some very memorable things happened this year…

My sister moved away to Florida.  That was a big one. Leading up to her move, though, we spent a lot more time together. She, Bryan, and I did a Siblings Dinner together every Wednesday and it was awesome.  The two of them would go out often together, so being there with them… all three of us together… felt really special to me.  It also made her moving even harder, but it was worth it.

Joel’s Grandpa passed away.  This was just, a sudden and a real frenetic time. Joel traveling back and forth and only getting bits of information… it was very hard for him.  His Grandpa was like a father to him, and I can’t even begin to imagine the feeling of losing a parent.  Grandpa’s wife sent us a beautiful framed picture of him for Christmas, so it’s nice to have him on our mantel now.

Adam & Drew’s wedding. Wow. Its hard for me to truly realize that I officiated their wedding.  This wedding would have been memorable enough without that aspect.  The beach was so beautiful, the food, the energy, it was just breathtaking.  But to be the one actually, legally marrying them?! I can’t explain the feeling.

Marathon Bombing.  I know that no one will ever be able to forget that. Being from Massachusetts, this certainly shook me.  The whole thing, played out like an insane movie from start to finish.  I will never forget being at Adam’s house, making wedding favors and listening to the livecast of the manhunt.  Such a surreal time.

My birthday.  Ok, my birthday is awesome every year.  But this year, Melissa took me for a whole day of awesome.  (Don’t worry, Melissa, I don’t expect such treatment every year now!) It wasn’t all of the amazing gifts she got me, or the dinner she paid for. I loved those things… but it was the overwhelming thoughtfulness of the whole day. We did all of my favorite things. She planned such a fantastic surprise for me.  I pride myself in being a thoughtful person. I like to give personal gifts and make people feel known and loved. Having it done for me was just an incredible feeling, and something I will never forget.

Veganism.  This year I started eating vegan. I am not 100%, and most likely will never be.  But it’s a huge difference, and I am absolutely loving it.  I’m excited to bring that into the new year.

Camping. This year I FINALLY went camping again.  I felt so at home and happy while camping with Joel, Adam, and Drew this summer.  It is a place I hold very dear to my heart, with people I love so much.  I know that we’ll be doing this again and again over the coming years… but I don’t think I will forget this particular trip.

Mom’s MS. Very recently, my Mom was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Scary of course, but also a little relieving to have some answers. I think if I did a timeline, it would show her being diagnosed with SOMETHING every year since 1956!  But this one is a pretty big one.

My tattoo.  I finally got a new tattoo this year. It means a lot to me. And I am so relieved that Joel doesn’t totally hate. (he doesn’t like it, mind you, but he’s not disgusted by me, at least. lol!)

Its funny, when you stop to think back over a year. So much can happen, yet your life kind of feels the same.  Beautiful baby Toby was born this year (and babies Molly, Oliver, and Marissa!) I had so many lovely health issues, with my calf, my shoulders, my eye.  I built a small pantry into my laundry room. I watched one of my best friends fall in love. I saw Jess in TWO musicals. I went to Lake Winnipesaukee with Joel. Attended a two-day Scrapbook Convention with Melissa! I got a title change at work. Jess got engaged! Spent a weekend in the Berkshires. Had a casino weekend with Debbie. Concert with my sister.

It was a crazy year. And now it’s over.  Stay tuned for the next post about the year to come!

 

 

Thanksgiving and Then Some

Well well well! It’s been over a week! I’m sorry for my lapse in posting. It was, of course – Thanksgiving. Joel was away, work is busy, and then I was sick. Now, magically, it’s December all of a sudden. Christmas decorations are abundant and I have no idea where it all came from. Typical holiday season for me, I suppose!

Despite missing Joel and my sister, Thanksgiving was still wonderful. Cooking with my Mom is always fun! I brought a few things of my own. I made or brought vegan stuffing, gravy, caviar, crackers, pumpkin pie, and whipped cream.

This is the caviar made from seaweed, atop tofu-based cream cheese. Its really good!

My thanksgiving plate! I certainly wanted for nothing. I don’t really love turkey, so I didn’t miss that at all. Definitely not enough to buy a Tofurky or anything either. I was more than happy with my stuffing, rice and veggies!

Dinner was wonderful, even Coop stole his usual olive (or 3)

(he gently peels back the cellophane to expose the defenseless little olives)

SO much cute! Love that evil little bastard.

After dinner we enjoyed coffee and pie, of course! I made a pumpkin pie and I was really pleased with how it came out.

Ginger gingerly asked for some.

And was denied.

The weekend after Thanksgiving I was able to have lunch with my sweet ladyfriend Becky, and Manda – who lives in San Francisco and was visiting for the holiday! Oh, I was SO happy to spend some time with them. Toss on a few more things to be thankful for!

So, other than Thanksgiving, I’ve been eating quite well. Lots of fruits and veggies, good grains and all those delicious things. I’ve been keeping my “faux meat” consumption to just once or twice a week. It feels great!


(teriyaki tempeh with steamed veggies and asian noodles)


(portabello mushrooms, same asian noodles)


(tomato soup, with added rice, side of 1/2 bagel!)


(mashed potatoes, leftover stuffing, turnips, roasted brussel sprouts)


(clementines are SO GOOD right now)

I’ve been planning out my meals, mostly just for grocery shopping’s sake. I haven’t needed to do all of the calories out, because I haven’t exceeded 1,600 on an average day of eating this way.

So that’s nice and easy.

I think that is it from me today… the dogs are nipping at my hands to get me to pet them, so I believe that is what I shall do.

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!

The First Ham Eaten…

To decide the winner of the Yubu lunchbox, I set up all the names and a piece of ham for each one across my kitchen floor.

My brother funneled Chai into the center of the half circle. Whichever ham she ate first was the winner!

You don’t get the whole scope of the video, so it kind of looks like it was rigged for her to go right to the one she ate, I promise, that wasn’t the case :-) She made a clear decision and executed a genius plan.

So, without further ado…

The winner is : JANE!  Congratulations Jane!! You win the adorable SweatyGirl lunch box, with a few little treats stuffed inside!

Thanks to everyone who commented to enter!

GIVEAWAY!! SweatyGirl Lunchbox!

Ooooh, you know you want one of THESE :

What is it? Oh, it’s just an adorable SweatyGirl lunch box… no big deal.
Ok, it IS a big deal. Look at it! I got one for me, and I got one for you.
This lunch box is made by Yubu, and personalized by Zazzle.  The faceplates are actually interchangeable, so you could even replace them with your own logo or photo. But really, why would you want to, when you’ve got Tako the Octo looking all cute for you?

The inside hosts 3 food containers and an ice pack shaped to fit.

Now, instead of wasting energy pretending that you don’t want this amazing little lunchbox… just go ahead and leave a comment!

Simple as that!  Leave a comment saying anything at all, you’ll be entered to win this lunchbox. (There may or may not be some extra goodies stuffed inside!)

For additional entries – Tweet, Instagram, or post about this giveaway on your own account and you’ll have extra chances to win.

A winner will be chosen on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25th (announced on Tues.) so get your comments in by then!

Good Luck!

Conflicting feelings, staying motivated, and photodump

I am really the queen of conflicting emotions. Somehow I’m always able to feel epically motivated and devastatingly lazy at the same time. I can feel fat as heck, but strong and healthy at the same time. I don’t know how this is possible, but it’s just me. I think maybe it’s always been my superb ability for self-sabotage that drives it. I’m not sure I could ever allow myself to feel all the good feels at once, without putting a conflicting twist on it.

I’m in a weird place right now. I’m heavier than I’ve been in a long time, I feel terribly in that aspect. My joints hurt worse than ever before, and working out is way more of a battle than it’s been. I feel weak and like I’ve lost everything I’d worked for. But on the flip side – the vegan diet is really agreeing with me. My digestion, energy, appetite etc are great. I feel GOOD about that. I still count calories the majority of the time and have been making excellent food choices even when out at restaurants.

I’m stuck in this place of feeling the burden of my weight and wanting to find a way to “LOSE WEIGHT FAST!” . . . of weighing in daily and working out too much—sandwiched in between feeling like I am finally living the healthy and balanced life I’d been wanting. I know that maybe this doesn’t make sense… and it’s a hard thing to explain.  I know in my heart that I will NEVER, ever be “OK” with being fat. I will never let go of this dream of reaching a healthier weight, I just know that.  But how much faith can I put into just eating healthy and letting the weight regulate itself?  That hasn’t worked for me up to this point, and yet. . .  I feel like it’s the only thing that ultimately will work.

See what I mean? Weird place to be.

In the meantime… hows about a little photodump!?

Tikka masala with tofu and onions over basmati rice. (Maya Kaimal sauce. Blows my tikka masala lovin’ mind that half of a jar is just 180 calories.)

Breakfast at work – cream of wheat made with water, brown sugar and cinnamon. Topped with fresh figs.

A trip to the Fro-Yo shop resulted in a bowl of just fresh fruit and fruit bobas. Fro-yo free, yo!

Chai was having a good ear day.

I was also having a good ear day. So glad my hair is finally growing!

I caught Chai smiling in her dreams. I wonder what she was dreaming about?

I finally found these new chips I’d been looking for. (Whole Foods, if anyone was also looking!) I’m not really a big chip fan, but every chip/cracker by this brand is freakin’ fantastic.

Well, that’s it, folks.  Another rambly post about nothing.  I think you should leave me a note… here’s what I want to know :

1. Where are you at right now in your motivation? Are you jazzed up and doing well? Are you feeling lazy?

2. What are your favorite chips (healthy or not!)

 

My delicious vegan birthday

Last night I finally celebrated my birthday with my family! To mark the occasion my mom made a glorious meaty cheesy lasagna for the family. I came up with my own concoction. It was a real experiment, but it came out wonderfully!

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Butternut Squash & Spinach White Lasagna

A creamy lasagna made with veggies and a deceivingly creamy sauce made from cauliflower.

The casserole :
1. Roast 1/2 of a butternut squash, when cooled mash with a masher or fork.
2. Cook lasagna noodles per instructions
3. Steam a large bag of spinach until wilted

The sauce :
1. Roast some garlic. As much as you like. I did A LOT. Note : put in your garlic and squash together. Save some time.
2. Cut one head of cauliflower into large chunks
3. Boil cauliflower in vegetable broth until soft
4. Put cooked cauliflower, 1 cup broth, garlic, handful of cashews, salt & pepper into a blender and process until smooth. Add more broth to thin of necessary.

Assemble :
Layer the noodles, squash, spinach, and small amount of sauce. Pour the remaining (most) sauce across the top.
Top with vegan mozzarella (optional)
And bake on 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

It was quite easy, and aside from roasting the garlic, it came together very quickly as well.

I am pleased that this came out even more delicious than I hoped!
The sauce is unbelievably rich and creamy, despite having no dairy. The bit of fat from the cashews really carries the cauliflower into a super smooth consistency.

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I wish I took proper photos. But we dug right in!

On the side we had roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots, and some mushrooms that I sautéed with onions and sage. I also made some garlic bread!

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I took a bunch of that roasted garlic, smoothed it up with some vegannaise, earth balance butter spread, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Spread it on some bread and baked for 10 minutes.
Also a big hit!

For dessert, I had a vegan chocolate peanutbutter cake from a bakery in Boston. Indeed it was also a big hit.

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Most importantly of all, I had a wonderful dinner with my family. Thoughtful gifts and just a great night!

I really hope that you try to make a lasagna like this for yourself! So. Good!

The Opposite of Sweaty…

…is fresh and clean! I don’t start out my day as a SweatyGirl, I usually am freshly showered and delicately powdered. I am such a little flower! Ha!

Ok, I may not be a little pretty princess, but I am a girl who puts on products and makeup every day.  Since we’ve lived in our house (so, over 7 years now) I’ve done my makeup in the living room, on the coffee table. I watch TV, wrestle with dogs, and sit in the semi-dark trying to lean over a low table and do my makeup.  Needless to say, it’s not ideal. I’ve always wanted to make myself a nice little lady-nook somewhere in the house. I finally did!  Since Joel got a new desk for his office, I claimed a piece of his old desk  and hauled it over to the study.

I found some unused and adorable fabric in my craft room and covered it up. It doesn’t really go with the room, so I’ll change it eventually. But for now, it’s cute and happy!

I did a massive makeup purge and organized the rest into some caddies.  I brought in two daylight lamps I have. I’ve read that daylight bulbs are the best thing for doing makeup (in the absence of natural sunlight, of course)

I wish I had a “before” photo, which would just be our scratched up coffee table with my stuff sprawled across the whole thing. It was a mess, but I used it every day, so it never made sense to really clean it up.

This is so much better in many ways.  1 – It’s the room between the bathroom and the bedroom.  I can get up, take a shower, dry off, sit down, do my makeup, go to the bedroom and get dressed. Done!  2. Everything has a spot and it can stay available but organized. 3. The lighting is WAY better. 4. Its not totally gross in the living room.

The only things that I bought were this Caddy :

$26 from Ulta.com

And this new mirror –

$8 from Home Goods.

I’m thrilled!  The only problem is…

Look how much room I have for MORE STUFF!?!! It’s just like my craft room. The more organized I get, the more crap I want to buy!

Any ladies… I’m curious now – where do you do your makeup? Do you have a nice little spot? Or in the bathroom like you’re supposed to?