Showing newest 11 of 27 posts from March 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 11 of 27 posts from March 2010. Show older posts

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My 200th Post and More Pictures

I can't believe this is my 200th post already! This vacation is one of the best I've ever been on...Danny and I decided that it's like having really rich parents and staying at there beach house when they aren't there.  The staff to guest ratio is 3:1 and all they want to do is make every guest happy.  The set up of the hotel is family style. There are only 5 rooms in the entire hotel and everyone eats breakfast and lunch together. Normally that wouldn't be our speed, but we have meet amazing people here.  

All we have done is sit by the pool, drink smoothies, eat amazing food and do yoga. They are super accommodating about me being particular and I'm kind of enjoying my egg whites cooked in butter for the week! :) 

Haven't left this pool yet...tomorrow we may go to the beach...maybe.
view from pool.
hummus, pico de gallo, carrots and pita chips
an abundance of these...
his and her eggs
walk around the perimeter
amazing selection of fruit, watermelon, pineapple, mango and papaya

Enjoy the pictures! Mom we are being not moving ! :) 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We made it!

We made it! After waking up at 3:30 am and getting on a flight before 6 am, then stopping over in Panama City and having a 3.5 hour lay over in San Jose and taking another hour flight in a puddle jumper, we are here! It is glorious here. I will write more when I have time, but here are some picture highlights for you! 

we were of 6 people on this flight
in the clouds
tamarindo airport...yes literally that's it...and my fav...
baggage claim!
now we are here!

The food is unbelievable!! and so is the coffee...Culver's and Mom & Tony, we are hoping to bring you back some! Went for a walk and did an hour of yoga this morning...loving life. Drinks and fresh smoothies are unlimited too...okay going to lay by the pool.

I'll be posting some more pictures eventually, the internet is fast here for some reason! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Re-cap

I usually don't post on Sundays, but I know that my blog posting will be lacking this week, so I decided to post today.  In less than um...8 hours we will be on a flight to Costa Rica!! I don't even care I have to wake up at 4 to leave for the airport. We have a long layover when we get to San Jose unless by some miracle we get in early and we can catch the earlier flight to Tamarindo. (I'm staying positive and thinking we will...) I will miss reading your blogs, but I will have 2 days when I get back to catch up on what I missed.  

Thank you for all the amazing, wonderful and thoughtful comments on my post yesterday. It was hard to write, but I knew it had to be written. If you missed it, make sure you check it out. It meant so much to me to read what you thought, I really just felt like if one person could learn a lesson or pass on something to a loved one it was worth it. And I know Aunt Louise would feel the same. I have such wonderful readers!

Yesterday I went to a wedding shower for my friend Meg. I couldn't write anything about it before because it was a surprise! It was at a beautiful place and we had a great time.  Here are some highlights from the day:

The beautiful bride after she walked in.
While we were unwrapping presents. 
We were like a well oiled machine, each one of us had a job.
Hat designer and flower maker. They did SUCH good jobs! 

The next time I post I will be in sunny Costa Rica! Can't wait to get there and be in the sun, pool, beach, sand, etc. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Health First, NOW.

Happy Saturday everyone! I have been an absentee blogger and blog reader for the past two days because I have been packing and I had a wedding shower today!  This post may be a downer, but I have to write it. 

Yesterday was my dear Aunt Louise's birthday, she would have been 53. I don't often write directly about her, but when I write about my family life, values, love of cooking, creativity, food, etc, it is largely because of her. On December 26th, 2008, 4 months after the best day of my life (my wedding) we lost her to stage 4 lung cancer.  She was (is) my God-mother and never married or had any children, so my sister and I were her kids and everyone knew us as such. She spoiled us ROTTEN, always buying us things whether it be Halloween T-shirts, Christmas pajamas, gas in our car, my first Louis Vuitton bag, she was always there.  She helped put me through college and started to help my sister, she had savings accounts for us, bought me my cake and wedding flowers and made all my bridesmaids gifts. There was not a selfish bone in her body.  I could go on forever about her, but there is a message to my telling you about her.  

A week after Danny and I married, August 30th 2008, we went by to see her.  She had already bought me supplies to make Halloween cupcakes for my class. She was laying on the couch, coughing and had a swollen ankle but didn't know why.  Danny and I went to get her cough medicine and told her she needed to go to the doctor.  Fast forward 2 days later she was being rushed to the hospital.  That was the start of our lives changing.  She had a blood clot in her leg and since she was a smoker they were doing all sorts of tests.  Fast forward again to finding out she had lung cancer and they had to remove 2 liters of fluid that were surrounding her lungs. She was intubated and barely conscious for awhile, my sister came home from college and things were not good.  After she came home from the hospital we went to see many doctors and all the signs pointed to stage 4 lung cancer. She knew it and we knew it before it was official.  I don't need to go anymore into details, but she died after trying to fight for 3 short months.  Christmas was her most favorite holiday of the year and she hung on, in the hospital for that day.  Everyone got to say our goodbyes to our dear Aunt Louise.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I sharing one of the most important people in my life, someone who helped make me who I am today? Because I want to celebrate her life and I want you all to take away an important lesson.  Aunt Louise was a giver. She didn't really spend time thinking about herself. In retrospect I saw some signs she was sick a lot in the last year of her life. She was sweating a LOT and always had a bad cough.  Since she was a smoker, I thought it was that.  She did not go to the doctor regularly enough and didn't push to find out an answer because I believe she was scared. 

The point is, we need to take care of ourselves.  If we are a little selfish and worry about ourselves than it will help us to take better care of the people we love in our lives.  Take time for yourself, go to the doctor.  Make yourself a priority and you will be here longer.  Eat well, go for walks or runs, do what you have to, to keep yourself in good health. 

I hope we all can learn a lesson from Aunt Louise.  Smoking is toxic and kills every single day.  If I could go back in time I would be more persistent to get her to quit and take control of her life.  I was too young to know any better or to see any warning signs.  But if you or a loved one smoke, than stop NOW. Celebrate life and take care of yourself. Make today the day you get healthy. 

This post wasn't easy to write, but I needed to, to celebrate Aunt Louise's birthday. I know this won't be easy for my family to read, but I know they will take a second to remember fond memories her, I know I do every single day. I am so lucky to have so many things about me that remind me of her. Love you Weiz, Happy Birthday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

HAPPY FRIDAY! I don't think anyone is as happy today as the teacher's who have off for 7 school days in a row! There is only about 7 school hours between me and freedom! I know you probably are sick of hearing about my days off and vacation, but trust me school has been TOUGH. My poor students are being test prepped up the wazoo and they need a break too! 

Yesterday I went to the gym to run off some work stress. I was looking forward to running outside, but it was very windy and not that warm so I went to the treadmill. I did one of Fitnessista's treadmill workouts and it was so hard. It normally is challenging, but I just couldn't find a groove and couldn't get into it. It was one of those runs where I was counting down minute by minute but I got through it.  (I don't know how!) I was SO glad when it was over and I could go home! Do you ever have those days, where it's SO hard to get through a run?

I know I have posted a ton of stuffed pepper recipes, but this is definitely a new one for me. I just kind of dreamed it up. I had some peppers I bought and I am currently using everything in my fridge up, so I wanted to give these a try. I knew I didn't want to use rice (like I did for Danny's) because I was having leftover polenta pizza with them. I took out all of my veges and looked at my food processor and knew it was meant to be. 

mixed until chunky in food processor
add remaining ingredients and mix well in bowl.
spoon into peppers. 
(Danny's peppers had long grain brown rice, chicken sausage and mozzarella cheese.)

Vegetable Stuffed Red Peppers

1 large (or 2 small) red peppers cut into halves (and de-seeded)
a handful of fresh spinach
1/4 eggplant, cut into slices
1/4 red onion, cut into slices
4-5 button mushrooms
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup ezekial breadcrumbs 
1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add spinach, eggplant, red onion and mushrooms to food processor. Pulse until chunky. Transfer to a bowl and add lemon juice, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and egg white and mix well. Spoon into peppers and cook at 400 for about 25-30 minutes.

These are a perfect main or side dish. They were very filling, especially with polenta pizza! After school I am off to be pampered with some pre-vacation treatments (aka manicure/pedicure!) Tonight I'll be needs to get done!! Any suggestions on what to bring?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

Good morning everyone! Thank you for all the comments on meat verses no meat yesterday! You all are so insightful and I think we all basically feel the same way. Meat should be bought responsibly, as much as possible, which is why when I get back from vacation I will be buying up a whole bunch from Whole Foods. (Like some of your suggested!) I feel bad sometimes that Danny is getting gypped from eating meat at dinner most nights of the week; then I think about how it cuts carbon emissions when you reduce the amount of meat in your diet and I don't feel as bad. 

Yesterday I went to the gym after school to hit up a quick session on the elliptical. I caught some of Jessica Simpson's, The Price of Beauty and watched some of Ellen. The Price of Beauty seemed really interesting, she was in Paris learning about what beauty means to them, which is confidence. I only saw about 10 minutes of it, so I can't really give a full report. And then I watched the beginning of Ellen. Did anyone else see this? I was laughing so hard at the gym with the blind folded musical chairs. 

When I got home I did some yoga stretching and then cooked dinner. It was quick, but I was pretty impressed with it. I decided to make vege stuffed red peppers and some black bean burgers.  I had a recipe from Aviva at The Scramble, which she so nicely sent me.  I didn't have all of the ingredients, since I'm emptying out my cabinets this week so I improvised. I thought this may come out like my last flop, but it didn't!

Vegan Black Bean Burgers!
adapted from The


15 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup diced tomatoes OR 1 Tbsp. tomato paste or salsa (I used diced tomatoes)
1/4 red onion, minced (1/2 cup) 
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs of flax seeds, in 2 tbs water (let sit for 10 minutes)
1/4 cup dry polenta
sea salt and pepper
5 Mary's Gone Crackers, crumbled up OR 1/4 cup whole grain breadcrumbs

Mix ingredients in food processor until chunky. Form into about 6 patties. Preheat a pan on medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook patties on each side for about 6-7 minutes. 
Obviously I ate WAY more than this..

I need to start packing for our vacation asap. The lists are flowing. What are your essentials for vacation packing?? Have a great Thursday, 2 days till the weekend!! 

And a special CONGRATS to my sister who got a 2nd interview for an internship with MTV this summer. Let's keep our fingers crossed she gets it!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To Eat Meat or not?

Hump Day! I'm up early to do some Jillian Michaels, No More Trouble Zones. Have to keep up the weight training, I will be in a bathing suit in 5 days!! 
3 days until vacation (from school) and I need it more and more. With "the test" coming up school is getting more and more stressful. I had a meeting after school yesterday so I didn't get home until late, so I made some whole wheat pancakes. I was pretty excited when I got home because in my mailbox was a cookbook (Secrets of a Skinny Chef) I won from Meghan @ Travel Eat Love.  Thanks Meghan! 

I made a batch that came out to about 10 pancakes, I had 2 and Danny basically ate the rest.  I didn't end up baking a cake because my colleague already made one, so I got off the hook there! I was kind of glad because as much as I love baking I wasn't really in the mood when I got home.  
egg whites with mushrooms, red onion, zucchini and spinach omelette 
and one blueberry pancake (one un-pictured).
Danny's plate. 

Pancake recipe:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk 

Mix together and make pancakes!

I have a question for you. Do you buy organic meats? Do you even buy meat at all? I haven't eaten meat in a little over a month just because I haven't felt the need to. I eat a ton of fish and I don't really want to fit under any label of vegetarian, vegan, etc. I am just doing what I want to do feel good about how I'm eating. I've been reading, "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollen and on the cover is the quote, "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." The whole book is mind blowing with the age of nutritionism. I plan on doing a larger review when I finish the book. Michael Pollen talks about how every dollar you spend in the food store counts as a vote. What you buy is what you are voting for. Most of the things I buy, I feel great about. I buy organic lettuces and various other organic vegetables. However in the area of meat I haven't felt so good about my purchases. We switch up where we buy our meats from, sometimes Whole Foods, sometimes Stop and Shop. I thought I was buying organic meats from Nature's Promise (at Stop and Shop), but after examining the meats (after buying it for almost a year!!) I realized they aren't organic.  They say naturals NOT organic. I did some research only to find, naturals mean nothing. There are no regulations on naturals. So since I can't get to Whole Foods every week, I have been buying significantly less meat. Danny hasn't been complaining, but I think it freaked him out when someone told him he had lost weight. (He eats meat for lunch, I can find organic turkey meat at Stop and Shop.) So anyways, I have been looking into doing a coop or a CSA and trying to get some organic meats that way. I really am not comfortable eating meat that isn't organic at all (or letting Danny eat it either) right now after watching Food Inc. and reading books about the meat industry. Does anyone else agree? or disagree??

I can't wait to read your opinions! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raw Dark Chocolate Balls!

Good Morning! I am writing this post late today because I fell asleep pretty early last night. I think walking around the city after my conference wore me out! I got to meet Danny for a late lunch and then went to JCREW and Best Buy. We finally bought a new camera. We were deciding between a Sony and a Cannon and after talking to the guy at Best Buy there was no question. He didn't even flinch when we asked him which one was better. So now we are the proud new owners of a Cannon Power Shot SD 1400 IS (whatever all that means). I had my last Sony for 4 years and it did me well, but I knew I needed an upgrade! 

I've been making lists of things to bring to vacation and I am going to bring a few snacks. I already posted the no bake granola bars from Averie and this next recipe is from her too! I always drool over these every time she posts them on her site and they seemed so easy so I wanted to give them a try! The only reason why I adapted them was I could NOT find raw cashews! I was disappointed, but I figured walnuts would work too.

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Balls
adapted from Averia @ Love Veggies & Yoga

1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
1/2 cup dates (I used medium medjool dates, about 7-8)
1 tbsp dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
before the cocoa was mixed in
you MUST taste these!

I put the walnuts in the food processor first to chop them up even more. If you have a Vitamix and can get it into a powder that's ideal.  Add the dates and the cocoa powder.  After it mixes up well, shape them into balls. (Or in my case lumps.) The food processor does a pretty good job, and they taste INCREDIBLE, so I'm not too concerned with the fact they didn't ball up to well. I individually packaged them in cling wrap and stuck them into a ziplock to keep them fresh. On my trip I'll be able to pop one (or 5) when I need a snack!
  all individually packaged and ready to eat!

I love my new camera! I can really see the difference in the pictures and it is so much smaller and easier to use! I'm so excited to keep using it. 

Okay, must go to my "real" job now! Tonight I'll be baking a cake for a colleague's birthday. Anyone have any good cake suggestions???
Have a great day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

No Bake Granola Bars!

It's here, the final countdown till vacation. 7 days! I need to get my butt in gear and start to pull out bathing suits, warm weather clothes, get sunscreen, passports, etc.  I already am thinking of what snacks I am going to bring for the plane and for the week. I have a couple in mind and I don't want to stick with bringing a million bars, so I gave granola bars a shot.  I am thinking I will individually package them before we leave and then have them handy for the entire trip. I also want to make some of Averie's raw goodies for our trip.  I have to say our hotel seems amazing. They already emailed us asking if we have any special diet requests, so I am not really worried about food there. All of the reviews rave about the food and how fresh and wonderful it is.  

The ingredients in the mixing bowl.
spread out in an 8x8 pan
cut into 16 can see in the top right where I took a nibble.
No Bake Granola Bars

1/2 ripe banana, smashed
1.5 cup oats (old fashioned)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used 1/4 cacao nibs, 1/4 cup 70% cacao dark)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup slivered (or any type) almonds
2 T chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cut a piece of parchment paper to match the size of your pan. Mix together and spread out in pan.  Freeze. Turn over and out on a cutting board. Cut into 16 pieces using a pizza cutter. I put these back in the freezer so they stay fresh.  

The great thing about these is that they are customizable. You can really add whatever you want to them to make them taste great to you. These are really really tasty as it, but you could swap agave for maple syrup, or dark chocolate for white, or even almond butter for peanut butter. 

Today I am off to Columbia for a workshop.  I'll be eating a late lunch with Danny somewhere outside, maybe in Bryant Park.  Then some shopping MAY ensue.... 

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Visit with the In-Laws

What a weekend! We woke up this morning and walked out to our living room and it was amazing. The sun was streaming in and their was an amazing breeze. This weather just makes me (like so many) so happy.  

Yesterday we took advantage and woke up and went for a great run through the park near us. We ran about 6 or 7 miles, we never know how long it really is and haven't clocked it. It was a struggle, we both weren't feeling great but we stuck it out, walking a couple of times. 

After we got back Danny's parents came. We decided to drive into the city and go to the upper west side. We basically found a restaurant right away on Amsterdam and ended up at Monaco. It was delish, I got a warm goat cheese salad with portobello and roasted red peppers, with a side of hummus (of course). I should have snapped a pic, but I'm just not there yet. Then we went through Central Park and walked around for a little bit. People were out in droves.
This was taken with Danny's iphone, pretty good right?

We went to Fairway to buy some food for dinner. That store is pretty nuts, but they have a parking lot, which we were SUPER happy about. This Fairway has a huge room that is a freezer. It is just a ridiculously low temperature and they store everything out in the open. They have jackets to put on, but Danny's mom and I were grossed out by them. I also snagged some homemade organic peanut butter that I can't wait to try! We ended up spending more than we wanted to on our weekly groceries (because we were going to clean the cabinets this week), but that's okay.  

Dinner was very successful. I made lemon rosemary salmon with butter sauce, a mix of white and sweet potato fries, a big salad and some rolls.  I didn't take any pictures :( I just forgot.  Danny's parents are learning more and more about healthy choices and foods. They take a big interest in my blog and the things/foods/recipes I write about. I really enjoy talking to them about food and recipes. I think I have convinced Danny's mom to get an immersion blender to make smoothies. (Ellen that's a recipe!) 

I'm off to do some errands and enjoy the outside! Have a fabulous Sunday! :) One week until COSTA RICA!!
P.S. Love Veggies and Yoga is having an amazing lunchbox cooler giveaway! 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Happy Friday! I am so late with my posting today because I usually write most of the post the night before and upload my pictures. Last night I had a terrible migraine so I was out of commission. I went to bed before 8 (okay I usually go to bed around 9, so it's not a huge stretch for me)! After I got home from work yesterday I went for a run, thinking it would help. I got through my run migraine free but as soon as I stopped running it came back. Since I went to bed at 8, I woke up at 5 ready and raring to go to spin. (sorry, that's kind of nauseating, I know)

When I got home from work I was ready to bake. We are almost out of muffins and scones, so I wanted to make some before the weekend. Danny's parents are coming tomorrow for the day, so I know we'll be busy hanging out with them! :)  I had to have an ice coffee before I started. 


First up was pumpkin chip scones. 
The batter. 
I decided this time to use a round 9 inch cake pan.
topped with milk and a little bit more of sugar
Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Scones 

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plain greek 0% yogurt 
2 1/2 tbsp 1% milk (or whatever you have)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp milk to brush scones
1 tsp sugar (for top of scones)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine flours, sugar and salt. Stir in baking power and baking soda.  Add pumpkin. Then stir in yogurt, milk and vanilla. Stir. Add chocolate chips. Stir until dough is thick. Spray a 9 inch cake pan with non stick spray. Spoon the batter into the cake pan and spread it out evenly. Lightly brush the top of the scones with milk and sprinkle it with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Let cool in pan on the top of a cooling rack for about ten minutes. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 12 pieces. Remove from pan and let cool. 

yum! I had 2 of these right out of the oven!

Thank you so much regarding the amazing comments and conversation that went on regarding ADHD and medication. As a teacher and a person who isn't really an advocate of medication it can be a slippery slope.  It's hard to watch children that have severe ADHD struggle in school, but I can imagine it would be hard to put my child on medication. I agree with you all that medication is an absolute last resort. Sometimes people can be quick to judge and say the words "ADHD" when it's just an overzealous child. I am interested in the Feingold diet, but don't really know anyone on it, so if anyone knows anymore send the info my way! Thank you all for contributing to it! 

Enjoy the rest of this beautiful day! I am going for a walk as SOON as Danny gets home! :) 


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