Monthly Archives: September 2011

What I’ve Been Eating This Week

I’ve been taking pictures off and on this week and thought I would share some of them tonight because I wasn’t falling asleep on the couch, was in the blogging mood and I miss blogging.

On Monday, I went to my sister-in-law’s Pampered Chef party. She was celebrating a beautiful new kitchen remodel.

We had some kind of cinnamon bun with apples, guacamole and chips, bean salsa, brie and preserves with toasted baguettes, and cream cheese/preserves with crackers. I also had a glass of margarita mix.

pampered chef party food

My mom bought two items and I bought a 4 qt. collapsible bowl with a lid. This will be perfect for potlucks, parties, and for storing food in the fridge. Plus, with a tiny kitchen (wish I had a remodel like my sister-in-law and brother, but that would take expanding our house), I need all of the collapsible items I can get!

pampered chef bowls

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This morning’s breakfast was Love Grown Granola Apple Walnut Delight and a cup of coffee.

Love Grown Apple Walnut Delight and coffee

I liked the dehydrated apple chunks in this flavor!

Love Grown Granola Apple Walnut Delight

Lunch was a turkey wrap with lettuce, goat cheese, and tomatoes. I wasn’t too keen on the goat cheese flavor. Yuck. I have had it before and it didn’t seem to irritate me so much. Oh well!

turkey wrap with goats cheese

I ate it while reading on the kindle and some blogs on my Google reader.

kindle and turkey wrap

Snack before the gym tonight was a whole wheat tortilla with chunky Barney Butter and a banana. This actually ended up being my dinner because it filled me up and after the gym, I wasn’t very hungry.

whole wheat tortilla with banana, barney butter crunchy

I’ve been reading Eating Animals on the kindle.

Kindle Eating Animals

I am finding aspects of it quite grotesque and yet, very educational. I keep thinking about eating meat and finding it grosses me out. Even getting a turkey wrap today was difficult, but I needed some protein.

I’m watching Modern Family right now and never got into it last season, but figure I’ll give it a chance this fall.

Can’t believe it’s Thursday already tomorrow! Hooray for the week almost being over! :)

BodyFlow class review

Last Tuesday night, I went to a late night BodyFlow class. I had only experienced part of what flow was about in a Pump/Flow class before.

Here is the class description from the Les Mills website:
BODYFLOW™ is the Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates workout that builds flexibility and strength and leaves you feeling centered and calm. Controlled breathing, concentration and a carefully structured series of stretches, moves and poses to music create a holistic workout that brings the body into a state of harmony and balance. Like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new BODYFLOW™ class is released every three months with new music and choreography.

When I walked into class, our mini gym was dark and calming. I rolled out my own yoga mat horizontally because we started out the class with Tai Chi. I had done Tai Chi in other classes before and I like it. This was definitely the longest Tai Chi session I have experienced though and it was a great warm up.

We transitioned to more traditional yoga moves and some new ones too.

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Despite it being the weakest area of my body, I really enjoyed the work we did on our abs. The moves were pilates ones. I don’t necessarily love pilates, but the moves we did were tough, yet enjoyable.

Class ended with a meditation session. I didn’t really need that since I had already meditated for 50 minutes that day, but I guess the more meditation I do, the better and more clear headed I feel.

One of my favorite aspects of the class was the music. We listened to The Script, Sarah McLachlan, Beyonce and more.

Overall, I would give this class an “A!” Here is some more important information from the Les Mills website.

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I can see it being addictive to attend and look forward to every week. I can’t wait to attend it tonight!

Do you have BodyFlow at your gym?

De-stressing–what works for me

Do you find yourself stressed about certain aspects of your life? I know I do. I guess I’ll just come out and be honest–I am only stressed about work from time to time. All other aspects of my life just don’t stress me out and I am completely happy with them.

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During the YMCA community day programming two Saturdays ago, my mom and I had pretty much a one-on-one session with the teacher about de-stressing and living well.

She talked about ways to control stress in your life. The speaker represents the Living Compass program that the YMCA is offering this fall. It’s motto is “inner strength training.”

Some of what we talked about included examples like the following: at work, delegate tasks to others when possible (I’ve been doing this more often and it helps), say no to people (had to learn how to do this, but sometimes with my colitis, I have to step back and say my schedule is too busy and need to put my health first), and talk to someone about what’s bugging you (I’ve done this, it helps, but I need to learn to keep my complaining to a minimum). Basically, follow the “AAAbc’s of Stress” which are: Alter, Avoid, Accept, Build up my resistance or resilience, Change myself or perceptions.

Here are the ways I am managing my stress lately:

-I have been meditating for about an hour each day since March of this year. This has calmed me down a lot in general and made me think more clearly. I don’t tend to react as harshly as I used to when things irritate me.

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-I declared it in a recent blog post, but I will cut back on blogging when I feel like other things need to come first in my life. Since I work full-time, I have no choice but to consider blogging a hobby and one cannot devote every day of the week to a hobby if they want a healthy life balance.

-Driving in rush hour traffic is stressful. Driving in the snowy Wisconsin winters in a little, light car like mine is even more stressful! I am going to start taking the bus in November. I’ll still have to drive to a freeway flyer lot, but it’s worth it. It will cut back on the stress I feel from driving. It will also be good for the environment and allow me to de-stress even more by reading and listening to music or podcasts on my way into and home from work. I am really looking forward to reading every day.

-Get enough sleep during the work week! I am automatically more stressed when I am tired.

*I used to love Garfield when I was about 10 years old, so I had to go with this image. :)

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-Take breaks at work. I get two 15 minute breaks per day and a half hour for lunch. I used to just take my lunch break and didn’t take my 15 minute breaks. Now I step away from my desk to read or check my e-mail on my iPod touch.

-Read and relax each day.

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-Eat a healthy diet.

breakfast eggs, tomatoes, spinach, nutritional yeast, green peppers

-We all know this, so I won’t say much, but working out really helps me combat my stress after a long day at work. Thanks to endorphins, I can go to the gym in a cranky, negative state and leave perfectly happy and energetic.

Here are a list of things you can do under the category of “building up my resistance or resilience” from the Living Compass worksheets we received: healthy diet, regular exercise, build and maintain support systems, invest in relationships, meditation/prayer/faith, and rest and play. I was happy to see that I do a lot of these things already!

How are you managing your stress?

Doors Open Milwaukee and Lunch at Water Buffalo

This morning, I kind of threw my Sunday plans out the window and went with being spontaneous instead. I can always grocery shop and read books and magazines anyway.

After telling Craig about the Doors Open Milwaukee event going on today and reading info about it to him from the newspaper, we decided to check it out.

Our favorite local historian nailed the experience on the head with this quote:

“Milwaukeeans spend most of our lives in a built environment that has been evolving for 175 years, but we rarely see more than the facades. Once a year, beginning in 2011, the doors will open, and the treasures in our midst will be available for all to enjoy.”
—John Gurda, Milwaukee historian

Our first stop was the US Bank building where we headed up to the 41st floor for spectacular views of Milwaukee. After having gone up in tall buildings like the Empire State building, the Sears tower, and the Eiffel Tower, it probably sounds weird, but I really appreciated seeing my hometown from up high and being able to take these shots. According to the Doors Open site, the US Bank building is the tallest in the state of Wisconsin, so I guess this was pretty special!

Picnik collage US Bank building

I can see my friend’s condo in this photo!

The Milwaukee Art Museum (with a pink fountain for the Breast Cancer Walk that occurred today).

The next stop was the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

Picnik collage Scottish Masonic building

We were getting hungry so we ventured over to the Third Ward to Water Buffalo restaurant.

I had a Turkey and Brie sandwich–it had spinach, apples, tomatoes, the turkey and brie all on a focaccia bread and some fruit on the side. I loved it!

Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo Miwaukee

I’ll try not to bore you with so many photos of our next stops, but they were cool too. We went downtown to the City Hall and the Pabst Theater.

At City Hall, we arrived at a perfect time as we made the 2:30 tour of the Common Council chamber.

City Hall Milwaukee

Milwaukee City Hall

Don’t I look like a natural?

A Natural Politician?

I’m not so sure about Craig though!

The evil politician?

The last place we went to was the Pabst Theater. I hadn’t been there since I was a little girl and saw Peter Pan with my mom. I clearly need to get out more! Too bad I just missed one of my favorite comedians, Michael Ian Black, when he was in town at the Pabst.

Pabst Theater Chandelier

Pabst Theater

The best part was that we got to go backstage! My pictures of that experience didn’t turn out, but it was pretty cool to be up there.

We did have to deal with some pretty bad rain today, but that’s what umbrellas are for. As we exited on the freeway on the way home, we saw a huge rainbow that made us smile.

I was happy to see downtown packed for this event. The restaurants all benefited from it too, which is great.

It was fun being tourists in our own city! If this event happens next year, I would highly recommend it to locals and tourists.

Pumpkin Pancakes and Godiva Coffee

I missed blogging this week, although it has been nice to have the extra time to read and do other things.

This morning, I made pumpkin pancakes following this recipe from All Recipes. They turned out delicious! The flavor reminded me of little pumpkin pies.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes from All Recipes
Yield 6 pancakes
(note: I changed the recipe to 4 pancakes and it seemed to make a lot more! I had to freeze and refrigerate the rest)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 278 | Total Fat: 7.2g | Cholesterol: 40mg

I paired my pancakes with Caramel Pecan Bark coffee from Godiva, which I received as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.

Godiva Caramel Pecan Bark

I think I prefer the Caramel Pecan Bark flavor over the Pumpkin Spice one, even though I am a huge pumpkin fan!

Godiva fall coffees

We got up pretty early this morning, so I feel like I have accomplished a lot so far. I am doing laundry, we did the dishes, and I am just picking up around the house in general. Now I need to get some makeup on so I can head out to Target and maybe Marshall’s.

Have a lovely Saturday!

Geek in the Midwest

I guess you could call me “geek in the midwest” today because I geeked out at the fact that I can finally borrow books for the kindle from the library! Craig and I knew the announcement was supposed to come out sometime this month and it finally did today, which totally made my afternoon. I already requested The Paris Wife and Eating Animals. If you’ve read either of these titles, let me know what you thought!

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I have a lot of other reading to do, but I am sure I can fit in reading those two titles when they are available for loan.

One of the books I was most excited to start today was Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series. It already sucked me in and since I am taking a rest day from the gym tonight, I’ll have plenty of time to relax and read it.

Catching_fire_c-210

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After work, Craig and I drove to meet Karis, aka my cake pop dealer. :) Karis delivered the cake pops I bid on and won from Jessica’s Team Challenge for CCFA bake sale.

Aren’t Karis’ business cards cool looking? I like the clean and modern font she used. I need to get business cards for my blog yet.

Karis' cake pops

I declared that I wouldn’t try a cake pop until Friday, when I can officially eat chocolate again. However, I was surrounded by chocolate all day and I just had to give in. Besides, I have done my lactose free diet for 6 days now and the doc said to aim for 5-7 days lactose free.

So, I was naughty and enjoyed one when we got home. It was delicious! Craig loved the taste of them too and said they looked so professional. They did–Karis did a great job.

cake pops

After hearing how difficult they are to make, I doubt I’ll be making them anytime soon. I’m not sure I have the patience!

Have a good night!

Riding the bus

This post will be a little random, but that’s because I am not blogging every day, so it’s only natural I guess.

I am almost done with my lactose free challenge–just two more days or maybe I will be cutting out lactose for life! We’ll see.

Over the last week, I’ve definitely snacked a lot less, learned that my body needs more protein without my daily greek yogurt fix, and my stomach has been pretty well behaved overall.

I’ve learned that I love vanilla and plain almond milk, but I am not the biggest fan of soy milk.

almond milk, granola, Love Grown bag, coffee

I finished off one bag of Love Grown granola and it has been a wonderful snack and breakfast item to have in the house.

I took the bus to work for the first time ever today.

bus-081310

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I wish we had some kind of commuter rail in Milwaukee, but this is fine I guess. I have to pick the bus up at a freeway flyer to save time, which means I have a pretty direct route without many stops, and I also will avoid waiting in the snowy weather when that hits. So, today was my “test” run to see if I would enjoy it.

bus view

I loved taking the bus. I was so much more relaxed when I got to work and it’s because I wasn’t battling rush hour traffic on the way there. Ever since back to school, the roads were just getting too unbearable. I can’t wait to start taking the bus on November 1st. I’ll get my kindle full of good books to read by then.

Plus, I get to catch up on my magazine hoarder pile. Today I enjoyed reading A Year of Sundays on the way to work and on the way home, kept things light with the September issue of Self.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture.

Self September 2011 magazine

In my attempt to get more protein in my diet, I hard boiled some eggs tonight. I made most into egg salad and look forward to throwing that on some bread tomorrow for lunch. I left two to have as part of my breakfasts this week.

egg salad, hard boiled eggs

I like pickles in my egg salad. Maybe it’s a Wisconsin/Midwestern thing? Milwaukee’s Midget Dill pickles are the best.

milwaukee dill pickles

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egg salad

I haven’t been to the gym yet and I figure it’s the perfect excuse to head to the late Bodyflow class. I have only tried Bodyflow once before as part of a Pump/Flow class. I am looking forward to it. It comes highly recommended by Karis!

The only problem with going tonight is it’s the premiere of the new Zooey Deschanel show that I wanted to watch. We are old school and don’t have a DVR. Oh well!

Breakfast with WI bloggers

I love Sundays, even ones that are dreary and drizzly like the one we are having today in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Before heading to breakfast with Karis and Jessica, I made pumpkin syrup. I was craving a pumpkin latte when I woke up. After seeing Jessica’s post with the link to Julie’s pumpkin syrup recipe, I knew adding the syrup to my drip coffee would satisfy my craving.

pumpkin syrup and coffee with it

coffee with pumpkin syrup

I had to add quite a bit of the syrup to my coffee to really get the taste to be pumpkin like. Once I had the perfect amount, it tasted great! A nice frothy pumpkin latte would have been better, but this was the next best thing.

I met fellow Wisconsin bloggers Karis and Jessica at Cafe Hollander in the Tosa Village for breakfast.

I had Banana French Toast and it was really yummy.

Cafe Hollander

Caught Jessica in action instagramming!

Jessica at Cafe Hollander

It was so much fun to meet Jessica in person for the first time and to chat with her and Karis about blogs, our lives, etc.

blogger breakfast-Jessica, me, Karis

Now I am off to Kohl’s to see if I can find anything with the 30% off coupon I received. Not really in the shopping mood, but maybe I will be once I get there.

De-stressing, yoga, and a cooking class with mom

I had a good, but busy Saturday.

I got up sort of early and had some coffee, finally made some breakfast of eggs, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, nutritional yeast, and green pepper, and got all cleaned up and pretty before my mom came over.

breakfast eggs, tomatoes, spinach, nutritional yeast, green peppers

Since I ate so late, I was still feeling shaky and hungry, so I had a banana with some peanut butter. I love this Smucker’s Natural PB.

PB and banana

My mom and I went to the YMCA for community day, which was also free to the public but not well attended. Maybe it was the gorgeous fall weather we were having here.

me and mom

I’ll most likely write some other blog posts about it later this week, but we were there for three hours and went to a de-stress class, yoga, and then concluded with a wonderful “Something’s Cooking” class. The cooking class teacher was also named Lisa and had a lot of similarities to me in terms of the foods she likes and other things. She made veggie burgers & banana quinoa pudding, both of which were so delicious. We also tried samples of boca burgers and soy sausages before trying the veggie burgers she made from scratch (recipe to come soon). It felt like we were spent a day at the spa (minus lovely massages), but it was all free! I love all things wellness, so this day was perfect for me. Now to find a job doing what I love that involves nutrition and/or fitness.

When we returned to my house, Craig excitedly presented me with a package and it looked like a book! I won this Joy Bauer book from Lynn at The Actor’s Diet. I am most excited to find that Joy has a chapter on IBS and also talks about a lactose free diet. It looks like it will be such a great book overall with tons of recipes to offer in addition to some very useful nutrition information. I always like Joy when I see her segments on The Today Show or have read her articles on nutrition in magazines, so the right person definitely won Lynn’s giveaway. :)

Joy Bauer's Food Cures

My mom brought over a pumpkin table runner she made me. I spotted a bunch of these while we were at their house last weekend and I picked out some fabric I liked. Isn’t it cute? I am not a big holiday decorations person but I do gravitate towards pumpkin things in fall and pretty, yet simple decorations at Christmas.

table runner pumpkins fall

After the Y, my mom and I went to Penzey’s and the AT&T store to check out the cell phones.

At Penzey’s, I picked up this adorable “teach” box free with a purchase (I selected red and green pepper flakes) and a free jar of the Forward spice (Forward is the Wisconsin state motto). If you aren’t getting the Penzey’s catalogs in the mail, you are missing out on some great free spices or nearly free spices throughout the year!

Maybe Penzey’s is making a statement to support teachers this fall with this box. After all, they’ve been through some tough times in Wisconsin this year and the forward motto is very applicable right now.

Penzey's

There was also a small recipe book included in the box. Their recipes always look so good.

Penzey's

On the cell phone front, I am almost positive I’ll go with a general phone that only calls people instead of a smart phone. My mom will definitely get a general phone. I wish the smartphone Craig thinks I should get wasn’t so expensive at the store vs. what it sells for online.

Trying the vegetarian sausages at the cooking class today prompted me to pick some of these up at the store this afternoon.

smart sausages Italian style

I added them to some shells and I threw in some green pepper, olive oil and sea salt. It was delicious! Craig also tried it and enjoyed the meal.

pasta with smart dogs

Time to curl up with the cute kitty next to me and maybe read a bit before bed. Just another low key Saturday night around here.

Fish Fry Friday

Hi everyone! Hope you had a good week. Mine flew by and I am so glad it’s the weekend!

I started my lactose free diet yesterday and it has been tough, but I love a challenge like this, especially when it means I may feel better if I watch my lactose intake in the future.

It’s only been about 40 hours lactose free, but I have noticed lots of positives. I’ll mention one–I am a lot less bloated after eating! Of course, I am eating fairly small meals overall, but my stomach not sticking out and feeling so full is a wonderful thing.

The main negative yesterday was that I almost fainted! I left work feeling fine, but as I got close to my car, I started to feel all fuzzy headed and then the world looked crooked and I almost fell to the sidewalk. I would have hit my head. I caught myself and got all composed. I had to eat a protein bar, which unfortunately, I didn’t realize until almost finished with it, had milk in it and was chocolate based. Oh well. I didn’t have much of a choice!

It was time to pull out the Libby’s Pumpkin can for pumpkin oatmeal this morning. My bananas weren’t ripe enough, so I didn’t put any in. That made the oatmeal a bit plain. I added some blueberries to get a bit of fruit into my diet instead.

pumpkin oatmeal and coffee

pumpkin oatmeal close up

I left work early today and went to a “business” lunch. It was the first time my workplace paid for me to eat lunch somewhere and attend something business oriented! That is crazy after 3.5 years there. Anyway, it was nice to eat lunch at the place we went to because it’s sort of famous in Milwaukee. I won’t say where it was because that sort of gives away my work, but I will say that we had a nice classic Milwaukee fish fry.

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I was honestly a bit nervous before going because I don’t like fish and never eat it. I sucked it up and had a piece and surprisingly, I liked it. Maybe it was all of the tartar sauce I put on the fish! We also had coleslaw, rye bread, french fries, and lemon bars. Maybe I will eat fish more often now.

After the lunch, I came home to work on my work goals for the year, which is always fun. Nah, they’re really not that bad in the end. I was just happy to be able to work at home this afternoon instead of in my grey cubicle.

Just have a few things planned for this weekend–going to the Y for three hours of programming with my mom tomorrow, to look at cell phones with her, and then on Sunday I am meeting up with fellow bloggers Karis and Jessica! A pretty quiet weekend and a lot less busy than the last, which is what I prefer! I have a lot of household cleaning to get done and just want to relax in general.

It’s movie time in our household so time for me to end this post!

Have a wonderful weekend.