Sunday, April 24, 2011


I keep going back and forth in my mind on whether this is a food blog, a lifecasting blog, or somewhere in the middle.  When I walk around I think of posts in my head and snap random pictures but haven't been doing a whole lot of posting lately.  I cook exciting stuff sometimes and I exercise most days of the week because that's just what I do.

I work in the city and we live in the 'burbs but the stress of daily work life often gets to me despite all the yoga and facade of zen that I put on.  Getting away really helps me press "reset" and really appreciate how much I love life.  This weekend we drove up the coast of California to Mendocino, a small rural town that has yet to see the glimmer and lights of San Francisco, mostly by choice. 

Earlier in the week I was freaking out about yet another injury- this time it was my left foot.  Walking was very painful but after visiting my podiatrist (oh em gee- yes I'm 27 and have a regular podiatrist), getting a foot adjustment and learning how to tape my foot, my fam and I were off. 

There was surfing for some of us and walking around the beach for others.

 Tulips and beautiful flowers everywhere.
 7.14 mile hikes along the river.  Map my run and my OCD side love each other.
  Walking on rocks for those of us with better balance (i.e. not me).
 Light houses.  Light houses are my favorite- they must have such stories.
Breathing in the fresh air and scenery.
Long car rides filled with sleeping, talking, and iPod singing.  Also, somebody was a little tired from getting into his first brawl this weekend and visiting the vet for antibiotics.

I slept better this weekend than I have in the last few months. I'm sporting a bit of a sunburn which will turn into more freckles.  Today's 7 mile walk was probably not smart for my foot but I feel completely at peace.  Completely worth it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nutrition- Simple Nutrition

Blogger Disclaimer: I received a gift card from Safeway as part of this blog review.  The opinions in this post are entirely my own.
Safeway was the first grocery store I have ever been to.  Let's rephrase that- Safeway was the first American grocery store I ever went to when I was 5 and my family had just moved to this country.  Even as a wee former-Communist shopper I was overwhelmed by all the products offered at the store.  Back at that time I believe that price was my family's main deciding factor in selecting products.  
Now that I am lucky enough to be able to choose not only which foods I buy, I can choose which nutrients and qualities I want them to possess and Safeway's new program SimpleNutrition helps customers select foods based on their own criteria and nutritional needs. 
According to the website, the store now makes shopping easier by displaying tags showing the key ingredients and benefits of each product.  The store encourages customers to look for the green tags (get it, green for go!).  Below are some of the types of tags I saw on my last trip walking through Safeway:
  • Made with Whole Grains
  • Sodium Smart 
  • Good Source of Fiber
  • Low in Fat
  • Good Source of Calcium
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
Although I was skeptical at first, the guidelines that make up the program are reasonable and legitimate.  According to SimpleNutrition, the criteria are based on "the latest published health guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and food labeling guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA, and current available nutrition science." 

Below is how the program works:

Generally, individual products tagged with a nutrition benefit message such as "Good Source of Fiber" or "Low in Fat" must first meet the following nutrition criteria*:
Total Fat: 13 grams or less per serving
Saturated Fat: 2 grams or less per serving
Cholesterol: 60 milligrams or less per serving
Sodium: 480 milligrams or less per serving for individual products; 600 milligrams or less for meal and main dish products
Beneficial Nutrients: 10% Daily Value or more per serving for vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein or fiber
Sugars: Most products contain limited amounts of sugars. Generally, a baseline amount of sugars is allowed to account for the sugars and carbohydrates found naturally in foods such as milk, grains, fruits and vegetables. Then, a formula is applied to "cap" the total amount of sugars allowed in a particular product category. 
Overall, I think this is a very helpful program to those who are just starting special diets, making their way into healthy living, or any shopper not willing to spend time examining and reading tags for minutes at a time.  We can probably all agree that while we are becoming more aware of our nation's health concerns, a little extra help in that department can't hurt.  I especially liked the information provided on sugars.  I'm always shocked at the amount of sugar in foods that I'm shoveling into my mouth without even knowing it and I really need to watch my intake as I have a high history of diabetes in my family.  I am still hoarding the gift card for a full shopping experience and will write more about it in another post.

I hope you are enjoying your Thursday/Friday.  I'll be going on a road trip with my boys this weekend to enjoy a couple of extra days off.  See you all later!
P.S. Chino says hello

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Double Chocolate Muffin-Cupcakes

The fabulous thing about not following a recipe or attempting to wing it when baking (mostly because you hate authority) is that you get to make up the title of the baked good yourself.  Pretty cool, huh?

My double chocolate muffin-cupcakes are not sweet enough to be cupcakes but a little too sweet to be a muffin.  I'm still considering making some frosting for these guys but they are relatively healthy now so I might only frost half.  And just eat the rest of the frosting some other time.

*Please note this was my first time experimenting with a chocolate muffin/cupcake so the measurements below can be altered based on your preference
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small package of apple sauce (6 oz or so)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 milk of choice
  • Chocolate chips (to taste)
-Mix ingredients 1-5 (dry) together and mix ingredients 6-8 (wet) together in separate bowls
-Add wet ingredient to dry and stir, adding more milk if the mixture is too dry
-Fold in chocolate chips
-Place in muffin tins and bake in a pre-heated oven for 22 minutes


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I am usually a planner- not quite Type A, but kind of like a Type A with a free spirit and a bad memory.  On Tuesday I saw Graze With Me's carrot cake and HAD to make it right right away.  I happened to have all the ingredients at home and made my first carrot cake.  I ate it for dinner on Tuesday.  And on Wednesday if we are being honest here.

I followed the recipe exactly except I used 1/2 of the oil and subbed 1/2 with applesauce.  I also didn't have any butter for the frosting and used agave instead of maple.  Seriously, go make this cake right now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Morning Routines

Another week and another weekend have passed and I've been slacking around these parts.  Last week was a doozy with highs and lows- I had to attend a memorial service for a family friend and we also saw Quidam, the Cirque du Soleil show.  The rest of the week was spent in my normal routine and I really love having a routine. 

Each morning I wake up to the sound of snorting, throat clearing, and full body shaking.  If I didn't get a lick on my hand and know it was my dog I would think we lived with a little pig or something (which is kinda cool because I think pigs are cute).  Whatever it is, it warms my heart.  After the wake-up call, the hubby walks him and I lay in bed contemplating life until I finally drag myself out of bed.

I have been making hubby a hot breakfast for the last few weeks as a reward for being out in the cold- plus I just really like feeding people.  This morning it was pancakes but I also make waffles and french toast.   I'm particularly proud of the pancakes because I made them for the first time in ahem 27 years last week.  I was intimidated by them or something irrational. 

This morning I did something crazy and replaced my almond butter and toast with pancakes and it made my Monday just a little bit sweeter.  Mini pancakes are delicious- I'll have my non-recipe posted soon!

In other news, I am making an effort to eat more veggies this week and to put a few extra minutes into my appearance for work.  I've been slacking a bit in both departments but each of these things just put a little bit of pep in my step- maybe I'll even do a fashion recap at the end of the week ;)
Maybe I'm taking another cue from my puppy, but when you look better, you feel better.  This handsome beast just stares at himself in the mirror sometimes and I can't blame him.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Life Lessons From My Personal Trainer

How the heck did we get into April already?!  I hope it's nice where you are. It's been near 80 for the last few days after weeks and weeks of rain.  Prior to the last six weeks I only checked the weather to make sure that my hair wouldn't get messed up.  Now that we have our furry child I stalk the weather forecast to plan our daily walks, weekends, and his arrangements on weekdays.  I realize we are obsessed here, so just humor me.

While I thought I would get cuddles and slobbers out of our adopted dog, I never knew how much of a personal trainer our little guy would become.  He happily gets my husband out of bed early on weekday mornings and gets me to come home and walk him no matter how lazy I am feeling- even in the rain.  And even in the dark.  Any chance we get we are out hiking and exploring the open space around us.

Besides a certain duck chasing incident that left me flying forward and skinning my elbows, I have really enjoyed the push my guy has given me to get out and even start jogging.  I call him my personal trainer and he does it for free as long as we cover room and board.

Please note Chino's guide to personal training:

1. Make sure you are properly hydrated before, during, and after your workouts.
Get your friends together and head out for exercise- you'll be able to motivate each other.
Admire your view once you get to the top- hiking is hard work!

Reward yourself with a treat after a hard workout.

Stop to pose for a glamour shot and show off your muscles.  Which way to the gun show, baby?