When Saying “No” is Good for the Soul

1 06 2010

:shock:

Can you BELIEVE it’s June?  As in – within 30 days – half of 2010 is OVER.  Over, people!

It’s seriously bizarre.  As with any summer, I’m already seeing weekends book up quickly.  I love to stay busy, but I enjoy having my weekends for me.  I hate feeling rushed and I also hate – repeat HATE – when Sunday night rolls around and I feel as though I didn’t relax for a moment. 

I felt that feeling last night.  All of a sudden, it was 6 pm on Memorial Day and I was wondering where my entire long weekend had gone to.  I had a ton of fun, but I generally like to keep things a bit lower key (and with less alcohol!).  So, I’m making a solemn promise to myself to say “No”.  I think it’s important to find a balance between living a fun, young life and not running myself ragged. 

I’m following my advice this coming weekend.  My college reunion is being held at my alma mater and all of my college friends are headed down for the festivities.  While I absolutely adore time with my friends, the weekend is sure to be filled with drinks, drinks and more drinks.  I just can’t fathom the thought. 

I know what you’re thinking.  I don’t have to drink.  This is true.  But, I can’t fathom being the only sober person around from Friday – Sunday (Can you even imagine?).  So, I’m choosing not to go.  I know I’ll feel slightly sad when the pictures show up on Facebook, but I’d rather save my money and my sanity.  Mr. KD is going to a cookout at a friend’s house and I might tag along with him.  I enjoy the cookout scene over the bar scene these days.  Plus, I can be in bed by 10 pm :grin:

Last year’s reunion:

Trust me – I still have enough lined up that I get exhausted just thinking about.  And these are things I really want to do!

Now, let’s talk about things that do excite me in my old age.  How about milk?

Yes, milk.  Hood’s Simply Smart milk to be exact!

 

I was contacted by the lovely folks from Hood about sampling this line.  Obviously, I happily obliged.  It’s always exciting to try new products, but it’s even better when you’re allowed to sample them for free!  In addition, Hood is a local company (their first farm was in NH and they have various plants throughout MA), so I was even more pumped to help them spread the word. 

Simply Smart milk is a line of non-fat and low-fat varieties that provide more calcium and protein than your standard milk.  What truly helps Simply Smart milk stand out, however, is the unique filtration used to remove some of the water that leaves low-fat and non-fat varieties with that watered down taste.  The 1% version of Simply Smart tastes like whole milk, whereas the non-fat variety tastes like 2%.

I picked up a carton of the non-fat last week and had some with my cereal.  I made sure to taste some of the milk on its own before incorporating the cereal.

The result?  Delish!  It definitely tasted richer than your average skim milk.  But to be honest, I haven’t had 2% milk in so long that I’m not sure if it tasted just like 2%.  I would need a milk connoisseur to test this out fully.  It just so happens that my sister IS one.  I was going to ask her to try some out, but after the fridge disaster, I had to toss the rest of the milk :sad:

Here is what I do know, though.  The milk had a delicious, creamy flavor that was not overpowering.  I’m not sure that I would want a strong-tasting milk at this point in my life.  I’ve been drinking skim for so long that I think something too close to whole milk (or even 2%) would be difficult for me to enjoy.

I also know that the milk was loaded with more calcium (20% more to be exact) than the average milk.  Total score!  And, while calcium is much needed, I was more stoked about the protein value.  Simply Smart has 10 g of protein per cup, as opposed to the 6 g my prior milk contained. 

I love milk and used to drink it with my dinner every night.  However, I’ve stopped drinking it regularly over the past few years because I didn’t think its nutritional makeup was worth the extra calories.  I preferred to get my protein and calcium from other dairy sources, such as Greek yogurt.  However, knowing that this stuff packs 10 g of protein per cup has definitely changed my opinion.  I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate protein into my diet and I love the thought of being able to do this at dinner – without any added calories from the milk I was used to drinking previously.  I’ll definitely be buying this again!

THANK YOU, HOOD! :mrgreen:

P.S.  You should really check out the Simply Smart website.  Tennis pro Chris Evert is the Simply Smart spokeswoman and she has some great videos on life balance, as well as some tasty recipe ideas!

Onto some tasty eats of my own…

Breakfast: Some standard, scrambled egg beaters and a whole wheat English.  It’s semi-boring, but keeps my belly full for hours.  That’s what it’s all about!

Lunch was a three-parter.  First, I enjoyed a spinach salad with goat cheese, pecans and dried cranberries, which was dressed with vinaigrette at work.  Do you notice how large those cranberries are?  They’re “deluxe dried cranberries”.  La-tee-da, huh?  They didn’t have regular ones at the store.  I think “deluxe” simply means big :smile:

This salad also confirmed that pecans are my favorite nut.  Hands down.  Please don’t be mad, Mr. Pistachio and Mr. Macadamia :sad:

I moved on to a leftover chicken sausage with the remainder of veggies we had from Friday afternoon.  There weren’t a lot of veggies, which is why I added the salad.

Cherries for dessert. 

Sadly, these cherries weren’t very good.  They were good enough to finish the bag in my fridge, but they certainly weren’t the sweet, succulent, summer cherries I was hoping for.  I must have to wait a few more weeks!

Snack was a peach and a peach eaten by a peach :grin:

Dinner was handled by Mr. KD, who whipped up his famous stuffed chicken breasts!  Spring?  Summer?  Winter?  Fall?  It doesn’t matter because this is one of my favorite meals ever. 

So delicious and CHEESY! 

I didn’t even have to “cook” the veggies, which consisted of nuked corn and broccoli.  Tough night for me, obviously :wink:

I also slathered a little bit of organic, unsweetened applesauce on my plate.  So yummy!

Mmmm…cheese.

This was a larger dinner than I’m used to and now my belly is a little too full.  I couldn’t resist eating it all :oops:

I’m off to get caught up on the last few episodes of 24.  Oh, how I will miss Jack.  I can’t believe I had to say goodbye to Lost and him in the same season.  Sometimes, life just isn’t fair!

P.S. We’re in the last month of P90X.  Can you believe it went by that quickly?!?

SUNSCREEN CHALLENGE

Ever heard of the slip, slop, slap, wrap method of protecting yourself from UV rays?

Slip on a t-shirt to avoid overexposure to the chest and back area.

Slop on some sunscreen.

Slap on a hat to protect your face from UV rays.

Wrap sunglasses around your face to ensure the eyes – and the sensitive skin around the eyes – are protected from the harsh rays.

Question of the Day: Do you ever say “No” to social obligations to ensure more “you” time?





Grocery Store Abandon!

12 04 2010

I would like to wish a very, very HAPPY AND HEALTHY Birthday to my BFF Blogger friend, Kelly!  Yay for birthdays and great presents!  Hope you eat some pecan pie today :wink:

Sweet Tarts! (C’mon, admit it!  This one’s kind of cute!)

How was your Monday?

It was another sunny day here in Mass, which always makes for a fabulous mood :cool:   As I was getting ready this morning, I started thinking about all of the things I had to accomplish at work today and got slightly overwhelmed.  I am happy to report that I was able to bang most of it out, so tomorrow should be relatively smooth-sailing.  Holla!  LOVE that feeling of accomplishment.  I’m pretty sure if you looked up “Over-obsessive, Type A Personality”, you would find my grinning face.  But, I’ll take it.  There are worse things, I suppose!

I want to thank you guys for the comments you left on the blog and the emails you sent about the format of the blog.  I’m so humbled to hear that I’m helping you in any way.  If you’re happy, I’m happy!  Apparently, the format is not as broken as I assumed and, therefore, needs no fixin’. 

With that said, let’s rewind to this morning!

I woke up at my usual time and rocked out 4 miles on the treadmill.  Of course, that includes my warm-up and cooldown, but whatever!  I still walked during that time, didn’t I?!?  I was welcomed back home by a very enthusiastic Mr. KD.  He was ready to tackle the “Chest & Back” workout for P90, so that’s exactly what we did!  I love this workout!  I especially love how you can customize it to your needs.  Since I cannot do pull-ups, I use a resistance band to get the same effect.  It’s great and doesn’t leave me feeling inadequate.  I actually loved ALL of the workouts and am so pumped to make it to Week 4 and see what our new workouts will have in store for us!

I’ve confessed to you guys before that I’m a cardio junkie because I’m hooked on the after-effect, but I truly can’t say enough positive things about weight lifting.  It’s so vital to a healthy lifestyle and while many detest it, I truly love it.  I can see changes in my body if I ever slack off.  It also helps me to feel strong and confident.  If you don’t incorporate weights into your routine, please consider it SOON.  The benefits will outweigh the negatives.  I PROMISE! 

Okay, enough of that.  Let’s talk about FOOD.  It’s always way more interesting, isn’t it?

Breakfast was a little funky this morning.  I decided to mix protein powder into my oats, which I’ve done before without issue.  The new protein powder I showed you guys last week has issues with the microwave, I’ve decided.  Remember when I told you I tried to create a “protein cake” from a recipe I found?  The other blogger’s looked light and fluffy and mine was like lead.  Completely inedible.  I assumed I did something incorrectly with the recipe, so I didn’t think twice to add it to my oats.  Thankfully, it was funky, but not disgusting.  It just wasn’t what I was looking for.  I’ve officially learned to stick to the EAS brand for any type of cooking.

“Thankfully” is actually a severe understatement as to how happy I was that I was able to eat these oats.  After all, I was dealing with OATS IN A JAR!  You know how difficult it is to knock down those nut butter jars!  After making my no-bake protein bars, my White Chocolate Wonderful container had seen better days. 

Bad for the jar, but great for my tummy!!

I couldn’t wait to devour this thing!

In the mix:
·       ¼ oats
·       ¼ water
·       ¼ cup almond milk
·       1 scoop protein powder
·       ½ tbsp chia seeds
·       1 tbsp flaxseeds

Toppings:

·       ½ banana

The finished product:

For slicing and topping at the office:

I didn’t think I would need the vanilla extract because the protein powder is already sweet, but I missed it.  Note to self:  This is a KEY ingredient.  And, as stated, the protein powder got funky, i.e. slightly fluffy in the microwave. It’s almost like the protein wanted to form a pancake consistency (except not a very good pancake).  Thankfully, the banana and peanut butter saved the day.  Oh, and the chia seeds.  I can’t forget those!  The mix tasted great, but the texture threw it off for me.  It makes me wonder if this brand would be good for actual protein pancakes with some egg whites, oatmeal and applesauce?  Hmm.  I might try this out soon!

I will forever remember today’s lunch in my heart.  Why, you may ask?  I ate my first LARABAR.  I know, I know.  The nerve, right?  Larabars have been a healthy eating staple since for-ev-ah and I’m just getting around to them now.  I’m not sure why.  After eating said Larabar, I can tell you I’m officially OBSESSED and making it my mission to try each flavor and rank them.  Stop laughing.  I’m not kidding.  I would never kid about such a serious matter.  The funniest part about this new obsession is that I ate it unexpectedly.  (Sorry…no pic.  You know what they look like!)

I packed up a killer tasting salad today:

·       Spinach
·       Arugula
·       2 slices of smoked turkey deli meat
·       Mushrooms
·       Caramelized onions
·       Dried Cranberries
·       Goat Cheese
·       Pineapple

Drizzled with some BBQ.  Apparently, I’ve had BBQ on the brain lately, huh?  This salad was AWESOME.  The tangy BBQ sauce with the sweet pineapple and salty goat cheese was pure tastebudded (Err, new word!) bliss.

On the side, I snacked on another amazing navel orange.  So good.

When I got back to my desk, I didn’t feel satisfied.  I thought back to my lunch and realized that the volume was large, but the actual protein/”good” fat content was rather low.  I would have been better off with more turkey (the slices were very thin) or a handful of walnuts tossed on top.  I didn’t want to dig into my snack and leave myself with nothing for the afternoon and then it dawned on me: I had a Larabar in my purse! 

I bought a box of the Apple Pie Larabars on Friday.  I stuck one in my purse to ward off any cravings while running errands on Saturday, but Mr. KD and I ended up hitting Dunkin’.  I was excited to try it and just LOVED looking at the ingredients list: Dates, Almonds, Unsweetened Apples, Walnuts, Raisins, Cinnamon.  Don’t you just love that?  Not a single strange ingredient and it tasted HEAVENLY.  It was legit apple pie in a bar.  Now, I’m going to have to resist existing solely on these bars!  It won’t be an easy task, people!  Do you think Pineapple Chobani is going to be jealous? 

As you would imagine, this lunch held me over until about half an hour past my normal snack time.  I did get hungry about 4:00 and pulled out some berries and non-fat Chobani.  This time, I drizzled it with honey and topped with cinnamon.  It’s still only okay for me.  I wish I could tell you I was in love, but I’m pretty much only eating it at this point because it’s good for me.  I figure if I share the time between the regular and the flavors, I’m compromising instead of eating the flavors all the time.

Dinner was leftovers!  Stuffed chicken breasts!  Mr. KD insists on corn with this meal, so we had some of that plus a few roasted baby bellas and broccoli.  Love, love, love.

Roasted broccoli goodness. 

This, my little Sweet Tarts, is the first of many leftover and/or random creations in the coming days. 

When I got home on Friday from the store, I was so frazzled by the money I had spent.  I feel as though food keeps getting more and more expensive and I refuse to settle for cheap, boxed meals.  Let’s face it – produce is expensive (even the frozen kind now!), but it’s essential to healthy living.  I asked Mr. KD if he would be up for complete randomness in the coming days.  I want to see how long we can survive without going to the store AND sacrificing our healthy lifestyle.  Granted, we may have to bop in to the store to get spinach.  I just want to see how long we can go without a full-blown shopping spree.  I actually have no expectations for how many days I’d like it last.  Don’t forget – I’m going away this weekend, so that’ll make it a bit easier.

I guess I want to show myself that I don’t have to make a big, extravagant dinner every night.  I love to cook, but now that the summer is approaching, it’s the perfect time to indulge in lighter fare, such as tuna salad (always have tuna that gets no love), tortillas (healthy wraps, anyone?), brown rice (you can do SO much), etc, etc.  I am viewing this as a personal challenge to myself to rely less on recipes and simply get creative!  If we can make it to April 23rd, I will be SO impressed with myself.  Like I said – stopping at the store to buy ingredients for a salad does NOT count.  Lettuce only lasts so long, people!  I’m not trying to get e. coli!  I just want to reduce the amount of stuff in my fridge!  When I finally do hit the store for a big run, I’m going to be more mindful of ingredients I have on hand and try to plan around these.

Mr. KD thinks it’s funny that I’m this bothered by the grocery bill.  His thought on it is that we hardly ever eat out anymore (we used to dine out at least twice a week), so obviously our grocery bill will be more expensive.  He argues we’re saving money in the long run.  He also understands that we eat healthy and while I do the best I can to eat in-season, it’s still extremely tough to keep prices as low as I’d like to see them. 

I had a very interesting conversation with the attendant in the check-out line on Friday.  She was ringing up my range-free, organic eggs and making a comment about how she won’t eat the “other” eggs.  I stated that I will never buy them for myself, but wouldn’t FREAK if I found out the eggs I ate at someone else’s place were not (moderation, moderation, moderation).  From here, she told me her boyfriend’s family actually owns a farm, so she’s ensured organic and healthy eggs at all times.  How cool, right?  This resulted in a friendly conversation about the price of healthy food and its direct correlation to America’s obesity epidemic.  It’s extremely shameful when apples cost more than macaroni n cheese.  It honestly breaks my heart to think about.  I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it truly does.

I consider myself so lucky to have a passion for a healthy lifestyle.  So many do not and also don’t realize how their poor food choices affect their physical and mental well-beings.  They also don’t realize what an impact it has on THEIR CHILDREN.  I would love to preach to the masses, but understand people’s frustration when it comes to the monetary value of their food.  I’m not saying it’s an excuse to eat poorly.  I still think you can slather peanut butter on some whole-wheat bread for cheap money.  But, I’m not naïve enough to think that it doesn’t have SOME kind of effect on the choices people make. 

Think about it – I’m complaining to you about spending too much for TWO PEOPLE.  Imagine a house with 2, 3, 4 kids?!?  It becomes extremely difficult to keep costs low. 

So, I think this little experiment will also help me to see that when I do have a family someday, there is always something healthy you can whip up.  You simply have to be resourceful!  That, and you must have a BJ’s or COSTCO card, which we’re thinking about doing very soon!

Holy tangent!  Sorry that I just talked your ear off for seven paragraphs.  Woops! :grin:

We’ll be chatting again tomorrow.  It’s Plyometrics day!  My favorite!  Yes, yes, yes!

Question of the day: Are you frustrated by the price of your grocery bill?  What are your favorite tips to save money?