Brownies don’t bring bliss

Recall my presentation this afternoon on stevia? It went pretty well. It helps when you bribe people with brownies…

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Lucky for me there were leftovers. I gave the staff I see every day on my way to class the leftover “good” brownies (the ones from the box with sugar) and ended up with a couple of the stevia “brownies” left. In the mix: applesauce, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, dark chocolate chunks, vanilla and flour. I took the recipe from a site I searched out on google even though it didn’t get the best reviews. Simple. Not really dessert, if you ask me.

More like snack…

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I was hungry before my hair appointment today so I went for it and had one of the goodies. I liked it, even if most of my classmates were not quite as into them. 🙂

In the past, a brownie for a snack never would have happened. Today, it did. And if it had happened in the past, you know what would have happened? Not the “bliss” I’d expect (the emotional soothing) but probably self loathing or a binge. While the brownie didn’t bring me bliss this afternoon (I don’t think even the best brownies in the world could do that), a couple of things did:

  • getting rid of my mullet

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  • a really good smoothie for dins (pumpkin, yogurt, soy milk, flaxseeds, pumpkin pie spice, and spinach, topped with oats)

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  • an evening at Starbucks with an impromptu study partner (a friend from the gym who has a knack for bringing my stress levels down and making me laugh)
  • a mocha (’nuff said)

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  • finishing a project that’s due tomorrow
  • getting my last source for my article that’s due tomorrow (thank god for helpful people and admitting that you’re a student journalist in a bit of a pickle/rush!)
  • TMI warning!!!!! … a visit from Aunt Flo, NO PILLS/RING/ANYTHING required 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
  • not letting myself get stressed right now even though I “should” be

a little extreme, but you’re laughing. and it’s true.

  • tomorrow being Friday!
See what I’m getting at here?

Your take-aways from this post:

a) Focus on the positive.

b) Eat brownies.

c) Liberate yourself. Cut your hair, run in your sports bra, do something that makes you different.

d) Put spinach in your next smoothie.

e) Smile.

🙂


What brought you a little bliss today?
Have you ever baked with stevia?

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Splish splash and some smiles

Oh hey there. Remember how I decided to have a beer last night after calming myself down?

Well I had two.

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…and they were big. And I felt them.

Oh well! I had fun and when I got home some crackers helped soak em up.

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After a good night’s sleep, I did a bit of work this morning (it’s a miracle) after breakfast.

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oats, egg whites, apple, cereal for crunch, brown sugar, and some soy milk

I’m mostly working on my assignments and still haven’t studied. But that’s okay. Each thing is worth not very much at all I realized, which just made me feel even less worried!

Since there were thunderstorms this morning, my riding plans got cancelled. I decided to go to the pool instead. I looked on my daily mile and saw that it’s been a month since the last time I went–oops! In my defence, it was closed for two weeks of that month and I needed a break after all that swimming with my injury.

I had a snack to tide me over, but FYI rice cakes are mostly air so when you have two and feel hungrier, feel free to have three more as you head out the door. Note to self: throw down some almond butter with them next time!

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My swim was pretty good! I really prefer having friends to swim with but lots of people are racing/away/busy this weekend so I was on my own!

I’m not going to lie, I started to think about lunch partway through the swim so when I got home I threw together a quick salad with spinach, more turkey sausage, some goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes. It was delicious but I got a bit of a tummy ache after. Weird!

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Now that I’m starting to feel better, the roads are looking dry and some of my friends are riding so I’m obviously choosing biking over books again and am gonna get my spandex on ASAP. Obviously in my world:

BLOGGING > BIKING (toss up) > BOOKS

And it kind of looks like I’m going to be “winging it” tomorrow, doesn’t it?

Do you like rainy days? What do you do with yourself if you can’t get outside?
What’s your favourite post-beer, bedtime snack? Do you crave salt or sweet or carbs or fat or what?  

Things to do when you can’t sleep

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…NOT. I am stressed. I know this for many reasons including the fact that I can’t sleep. For someone used to going to bed at 10:30 and waking up at 5:30, being awake at 2:30 (I tweeted to mark the time) is not ideal. I tossed and turned for a while and finally got hungry enough to just get up. I admittedly had a real coffee later than normal yesterday, but I think my mind racing had more to do with not being able to sleep. Eventually, I unset my alarm and got up, snacked, and worked on my take home exam/essay some more. Things to do besides worry about not being able to sleep:

  • read blogs
  • write in your journal
  • embrace the opportunity to have a true “midnight snack”
  • research wild trips you’ll likely never be able to go on—or find one you actually want to try! (I am particularly drawn to the semester long treks through NOLS)
  • finish the draft of an essay you’re worried about
  • read a book
  • paint your nails
  • clean
Those come from experience. Enjoy.

My midnight snack of choice was a boring bowl of greek yogurt that got more exciting when I added a spoonful of peanut butter. I think there’s a saying that a spoonful of peanut butter makes life complete? 😉 20120410-073052.jpg I almost repeated my morning snack, which was similar—greek yogurt with honey, cocoa, and a few Mini Eggs. I think my thoughts just caught up with me at night because I was going all day and didn’t have time for them to sink in or swirl around my head. After my morning post yesterday, I ended up spinning at the gym before heading to The Gazette. I ran into Nina and ended up eating lunch (turkey sandwich with leftover kale chips). I love seeing her, but realizing we are almost done this semester and that she might not be here next year makes me uber sad and reminds me of all the other good friends who are going to be friends from remote locations after this year :(! I worked for a bit but I started to get really anxious about my assignments so I went to the library. I saw Ellen, who has a knack for making me happier, and sat in the less stressful cafe part of the library where eating my afternoon granola bar wouldn’t piss everyone off and where my stress levels wouldn’t increase by association. 20120410-073032.jpg Afterwards, I went for a swim! Luckily I had company, otherwise I’d probably have bailed. I did a short set with more kicking than was originally planned to save my shoulder a bit of stress. It really didn’t hurt much, just felt tight, so I don’t know what to do. I have a massage (for my hip, mostly) on Thursday, but I think I’ll see if getting her to loosen up my oh so stressed back/neck/shoulders helps things out. I also have physio on Friday so I can bring it up there too! After the swim, I had dinner with Nina (spinach salad with leftover sweet potatoes, salmon, cranberries, and pecans) and after arming myself with Mini Eggs, we met Angela for a night of studying at Starbucks. Studying with friends makes me more likely to smile and not to go into tunnel vision about “never finishing this essay” or about “having nothing to do in the summer”—common worries for me during the final stretch here! So, even though it’s kind of a stressful time, I’m trying really hard to spend as much time with people as I can and to enjoy the last bit of time here! I had a few “OMG I AM SO GLAD I’M COMING BACK NEXT YEAR” moments yesterday. Not only does taking time to see people and to just slow down keep me sane and make me happy, it also is important since the semester is coming to an end and I’m realizing how much I’m going to miss these folks. And, tear. 20120410-073036.jpg This morning I woke up a little full from last night’s middle of the night snack, sad that I missed swim, but ready to get on with my day. I started things off with a few of my favourite things: cereal, coffee, and blogging. It’s on to working on my exam, trying to make it to campus, spinning, and teaching bootcamp. Busy is better than bored! Do you get stressed when things end/change? What do you do if you can’t sleep? What kind of trip would you go on if you had unlimited money and resources?  

Gimme a break

I don’t need a break any more…I need to get down to work, but I’m clearly prioritizing and getting you guys caught up before I get down to busy.

Yesterday after class I went to a meeting with my TA about this big term paper I am writing for next week. I felt MUCH better after. I have an idea of where I’m going with it, at least, and am actually a bit excited to write it! I know if I give up the perfectionism I’m so prone to and just get started, I’ll have a draft soon enough. I’ve got lots of background information, tons of ideas, an episode (the season 13 premiere) of The Biggest Loser and I’ve been paying attention (sorta) to my sociology prof…so analysis, let’s go! It’s kind of cool   nerdy when you actually want to write an essay, don’t you think?

I went to yoga yesterday afternoon. It was WEIRD, but WEIRD can be good. Not your typical power class, not that challenging in a physical sense, but for me the class was a step outside of my comfort zone, and Sabre got through to me with her anecdotes/ideas again. She was talking about challenging yourself, about how people often look around to see what a pose will look like instead of just doing it (to see if they think they’ll be able to), and I distinctly remember her saying something like

“In your life, see where you find challenge. And try to think about that challenge as an opportunity. And then go after it.” 

I told you Sabre’s the best!

After yoga I went in my stinky-ness to Joe Fresh at the far far superstore. And I got a migraine while I was there. Which means there was no way in heck I was driving home, so I took a cab and paid the 30 dollars to get back to my apartment. I slept for a while, woke up, cooked myself dinner…”Fish and Chips” (salmon with sweet potato and kale chips — topped with cranberries and maple syrup), worked on my project, ate an apple (exciting), and slept again.

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As you know, migraines frustrate me but they’re definitely a sign that I was too stressed. Usually when I start to relax, they hit me. That means I need to destress on a regular basis…easier said than done!

This morning I woke up and had a normal breakfast even though I felt so out of it from the medicine and the migraine and the weird sleep (I read about migraine hangovers for the first time today and I definitely think I have one). Then I went to get my car and to the pool. I was starving so I had a Kashi bar — haven’t had that many lately, and it was either stale or just crunchier than I’d remembered and not my fav — and then swam about 2500m! I was glad Angela drove me to get my car and even gladder she wanted to swim so I had some external motivation to get to the pool (no tri club friends or cute boys forcing me there ;)!).

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After coming home and having leftovers in a salad for lunch (soooo good!), I made up my mind to go to the shower! I made the drive and saw friends I haven’t seen in a long time. This was my first baby shower. So many “aweeees” 🙂 and Lori is ADORABLE all the time, but as a pregnant woman she is even cuter, if that’s possible! I miss my Sarnia friends a lot and it was really nice to see some of them, even if it was (too) short but sweet! There were cute baby shower games and tons of food.

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snacks of choice...plus some hershey kisses (I should have known better than to eat lunch BEFORE an Italian baby shower!) 🙂

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After the shower, Tanya and I spent a few hours at Starbucks (same study spot, different city), chatting  and “doing work”. I probably could have gotten more done on my essay, but at least it’s in progress and I really miss my friends, so the quality time was worth it! I saw some other familiar faces too, which is always a bonus. Besides my hair, there’s been  lots changes since I was home at Christmas (the last time I saw most of my friends).

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When I came back, I threw together a quick dinner that I really can’t call a recipe but that is probably going to be a new fav 4 ingredient base for all kinds of delish: almond butter (all good recipes start this way!), quinoa, spinach, and chick peas. Don’t hate it, just try it. And report back.

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Tomorrow is Around the Bay, and it’s been almost 12 weeks since I got hurt. I’m choosing to send all the good vibes in the world to the people running tomorrow and remembering that I am at least starting to feel better! Not to mention, think of all the insight that’s come out of this hip issue!?

My goal for the night is to do as much of the other things on my to do list besides my essay as possible. My goal for the week is to keep smiling, and to put things in perspective. I’m going to finish this essay and I’m not going to fail it. I’ll probably do better than I think. I often get incapacitated because I feel overwhelmed by big tasks or by a ton of little ones, but if I just do one thing at a time and remember that my best is all I can do (and that stressing = migraines = sucks), I might be better off!

Have an awesome night. 🙂

How are you spending your weekend?
What’s the best random bowl you’ve thrown together in a while?

Have you ever been to a baby shower? What’s your favourite game? (I liked guessing how big her belly was with ribbon–I was close!)

I think I have a hollow leg

…and I’m filling it with carbs.

Delicious and nutritious, ones, mostly!

Today Rachel was kind enough to give me a few of her fav books about vegetarianism. She is lucky to have a mom who is a dietitian (yay for RDs!) and thus a wealth of knowledge at her disposal. Rach is one of those people who knows her stuff–she doesn’t take being veggie lightly and she is really smart about her nutrition. It pays off because in case you haven’t heard, she is FAST. 🙂

I think after reading through them a bit when I was waiting at physio and while I had my acupuncture today I would like to buy “Becoming Vegetarian”…this one’s by an RD and I like how it’s written. After reading it (I ate it up, pardon the pun), I felt smarter and EXCITED about things. Sometimes I think when you consider becoming a vegetarian or making some changes to your diet, it can be scary and signal restriction. The truth is, deciding to go vegetarian or just in my case to eat less meat (I still say if I knew where it came from and felt okay with it, I’d be okay with eating some meat here or there) is a reason to EXPAND your options! I never thought of it that way…but when I wrote the article for Canadian Cycling Magazine about just this topic (I sent it off today so hopefully it comes out in June/July’s issue!), I got that from one of the guys I interviewed–you actually end up LOOKING for variety and things get delicious.

I also noted something: I really really really depend on nut butter and nuts to get me through. My LARA bars are made up of nuts and dates, mostly. So that means usually 2 meals and at least one of my snacks involves nuts and nut butters. I think I’m worrying too much about getting enough protein, which is kind of a waste of time (deficiencies are rare). The vegan cyclist I interviewed said total calories and especially carbs are the nutrients to focus on getting enough of. So I started to think and I really realized that I am for some reason not eating as many carbs as I could, should, might need to.

So naturally, that translated into a hungrier me. Or maybe it was just the really good swim I had this morning? I dare say I felt fast! I think I found my rhythm with the set and I haven’t swam in a few days since the pool was closed so it just felt good to be in the water from the second I dove in.

Speaking of diving in, here we go with the eats I tried to fill that hollow leg with:

Before swim, I snarfed a bowl of yogurt (and had coffee, obvs):

After the super duper awesome swim, I was hungry for my overnight oats (which were a mix of porridge oats, cocoa, almond milk, a banana, and almond butter).

My lunch was good—a cheese and spinach sandwich spread with light mayo plus some carrot sticks on the side– but didn’t fill me up for long, so I ate an apple as dessert.

I had an afternoon snack attack and dug out a Clif bar I’ve been saving for just such an occasion. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these bad boys, and I used to reserve them for when I was about to train/when I was on my bike/etc. but I realize that’s a food rule and it’s based on…nothing?

I ran errands this afternoon (bank, returns, retail therapy where I forgot to buy the things on my list but got a new lulu tank and a few headbands instead – but it’s justifiable because I just picked up the money I’ve made working at the Gazette over the last few months that I FORGOT I was getting paid for) and another snack attack struck. I was planning on making a new recipe tonight and needed millet (I’ll keep you in suspense til I make it) so I went in Bulk Barn. Going in there ravenous is a bad idea. I bought a bunch of goodies – tahini (a new food for me), the millet I needed, oat bran, spelt flour (I want to make muffins), kamut cereal, rice cakes, and some chocolate – and I downed about half the pack of rice cakes. Maybe a third. It happens—they’re mostly air.

pantry, consider yourself stocked!

When I got home I was too hungry to cook the recipe I had in mind so I went with an old faithful instead: my squash mix with almond butter/almond milk and spinach, raisins, and maple syrup. And yes I do eat it all together, and it is DELICIOUS.

Three chocolate nibbles and I’m set—the leg is finally full. Assume homework-ing blogging position on my futon, with a second cup of tea.

That’s the excitement of my Monday munchies. I went ahead and put them in my FitDay account to see how I did on the carb/energy front. Turns out I was pretty spot on for my activity level…even though I felt like I ate non stop! It was a little high on the fat % but that’s like I said–so much nut butter–and I am not willing to worry about it! Note to self: listen to your body cuz it’s working.

In other news, I got into Ryerson today. Acceptance letter folded and put with the other ones.

I am going to go and decline the offers all at once. It’s a big step! Thanks for the support. It’s still tough to hear people congratulate me and then say I’m not going, but it’s not so bad now that I’ve decided to be proud of my decision. Owning it! 🙂 The more I talk about it and think about it, the more I’m getting excited for it, actually! Even the summer school part will be good. 🙂

I’m a monster

A SPINACH MONSTER! The title comes from a discussion I’ve had with a few different people about how Cookie Monster jumped on the “healthy train”  (ridiculous in my mind if this is being considered a legit way to address obesity/health issues amongst kids)…and from the bag of spinach that I dominated tonight. Granted, it was going to go bad, so it had to be used–and my favourite ways are to make spinach chips (a la kale chips) OR to toss it in a smoothie. I had bigger and better plans than a smoothie for dinner, sooo spinach chips it was!

You should eat the whole bag chips

 

Ingredients:

spinach
olive oil
salt or other seasonings

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Toss spinach with olive oil–all the leaves should get some love but shouldn’t be damp.
On a cookie sheet, bake the spinach in a single layer til it gets a bit crispy.

Enjoy!

I also made a burger—meatless Monday (or lifetime, :)) approved! And the tastiest part? The nutritional yeast (nooch, my new fav word) “cheeze” I made. I have so many ideas for this stuff–pasta or maybe macaroni and cheese sauce (a la Oh She Glows), some ideas from Love, Veggies, and Yoga, nachos…I thought I was STUFFED after dinner but I just got hungry.  You should probably try these recipes!

Perfect Portobello “burgers”

Ingredients:

Portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
olive oil
onions, diced
garlic, diced
Ezekiel bun, toasted
cheeze sauce – see recipe

Directions:

In a frying pan, sauté olive oil, onions, and garlic.
In the microwave, cook mushrooms til tender (about 2 minutes).
In the meantime, toast Ezekiel bun and prepare cheeze sauce.
Spread cheeze sauce on bun, add a mushroom cap, and top with garlic/onion mixture.
Enjoy!

Cheeze sauce
My take on the “How It All Vegan” recipe

Ingredients:

½ cup nutritional yeast
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients.
Heat over medium heat, stirring with a fork constantly ‘til melted.
Remove from heat – “cheeze” will firm up as it sits.

The rest of today’s eats were far less photogenic:

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pre swim greek yogurt with a splash of chocolate soy milk and some kamut flakes for crunch

my lunchbox: a spinach/maple/sweet potato/almond butter salad (lunch), an oatmeal/chocolate soy milk/banana/almond mix (breakfast), and an apple (snack) -- the LARA bar survived, mostly because someone brought Hershey Kisses to the office!

I’m just at Starbucks now with Nina (love this girl) about to get down to a bit of writing I have been putting off all day. I’ll blame it on all the love I poured into this morning’s post about my recovery — and that’s not a bad thing. Thanks for all the feedback and love, guys!

Whatdya think about Cookie Monster switching over to Veggie Monster?
How was your Monday?
Did you go meatless today?

Have you ever tried nutritional yeast? Thoughts?