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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Personal Challenges.

I think that one of the reasons that I feel so “off” today is because I’m alone for the first time in five days. Mike was home sick for most of last week and I kept myself busy going to the gym and taking care of him. Time always seems to fly when I’m with someone. Today is the first time in a few days that I’ve been alone with my thoughts and it’s very overwhelming.

There used to be a time when I loved being alone. I could sit and read a book or write or daydream and it was pleasant. Ironically, this was a period in my life when I was the most lonely. I was past the point of wanting to be with someone just to be with someone and my mind was clear and I could breathe. Sure, I didn’t like feeling lonely, but it was better than being with the wrong person.  I always thought it was annoying when someone told me “you just need to learn to like being alone” when I was sure they were talking about loneliness. I am well aware of the difference between being alone and being lonely. I know all too well what it feels like to feel lonely in a room full of people, but that isn’t what I am talking about here.

What I have been going through today is being alone. I’m alone with myself and my thoughts and it is SO. DAMN. LOUD. inside my head. It makes the silence in our apartment that much more apparent. I long to be able to sit with myself and feel the calm that fills the room. At least when Mike is home, I have someone to talk to. Someone to listen to me. Someone to try to understand why it seems I can never relax.

I really don’t know how I turned out this way. I think I’ve always been like this, though there have been periods where I have enjoyed being alone. Maybe it comes from never having a real emotional outlet. Maybe I’m too screwed up to be alone with my thoughts. Maybe I’m too afraid to work through the issues at hand.

I know that Mike and I are under a huge amount of stress right now. I know that I feel out of control and I hate that. I know that I’m tired of everyone telling me that it’s going to be okay when they have no idea what we’re going through. I know that I need to get help. I know that I need to be better to myself.

I hate starting the week like this so I am determined to turn it around. One way that I’m going to do this is by doing the Lean & Mean Challenge hosted by  Tera on Girl Gone Healthy.

 Source.

I’m excited to do this challenge because it is something that I’m doing for myself. This is the first online blog challenge that I’m attempting and my goal is just to do my best. I think that my main focus for this challenge will be on my fitness. Our fridge has been a little empty lately and I’m working with what I have at the moment as far as food is concerned. I think this is a big step for me as far as personal progress. I’ll be posting updates throughout the challenge to let everyone know how I’m doing.

Thanks for reading,

R

Sunday + Emotional eating.

Good evening, readers. I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Yesterday was a great day for Mike and me. When I went to sleep last night, I was motivated and had every intention of sleeping in, waking up when I was ready, getting some sort of exercise (even though I wasn’t planning on going to the gym), and getting some things done in the house. This morning, however, I just felt crappy. When I woke up I felt really tired and my body felt heavy. Mike even pointed out the bags under my eyes. Thanks, honey! Once Mike left for work, peeled myself out of bed and took a shower. My stomach has been bothering me recently so I had a peach Chobani for breakfast and worked on writing a little bit. Around 11:45am I was actually hungry and made myself a plate of fruits and veggies with some homemade hummus.

This just screams "summer!" to me.

After I ate I sat and stared at the computer for a little bit. I have had the writing bug recently, and there are a lot of posts that I want to do for Everyday Folks, but this morning nothing was coming to me. Around 2:15pm, Mike called on his break to let me know a few things going on at work. He found out that he’ll be able to work a little bit of overtime this week. That’s good news, considering he hasn’t been able to work any OT recently and we really need the money. I can’t help but think that now we’ll have less time to spend together, but I know that he’s doing this for us and our little family and I really need to pull my head out of my ass. Around 3:00pm I had some leftovers from last night and a small piece of leftover homemade pizza. I also had a small bowl of ice cream. I’m not typically an ice cream fiend, but it’s been so hot outside that it really hits the spot lately.

I spent a lot of time reading blogs today. I love reading other people’s stories and seeing their writing styles. It often is exactly what I need to get myself writing again. There is something therapeutic about writing out your thoughts. I talked to Mike again around 5:00pm (he always calls on his breaks) and then decided to make an early dinner.

I usually wait until Mike gets home around 10:30pm to eat dinner with him, and I know I decided to eat early tonight out of boredom and emotions. Food is, and always has been, a comfort to me. I am highly self-aware of my emotional eating, yet it’s so hard to stop. It fills a void that nothing else can really fill. I hate that I engage in these unhealthy behaviors and I know that it does more harm than good to my body. This is something I need to work on desperately.

For dinner, I had an egg white sandwich on an onion Western Bagel with a thin slice of Havarti cheese and a slice of tomato. I served it with the rest of the tomato and some watermelon. This meal was light, healthful, and filling. Despite the fact that I ate early for the wrong reason, I’m proud of myself eating healthily instead of for polishing off the ice cream or eating six bags of chips. 

I’m going to try to make the most of the rest of this day and do some laundry and prepare for the two interviews that I have tomorrow. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep (God willing) and show those people why they want to hire me. All thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated, as always.

Thank you for reading!

R

Heat Wave!

To say that it was hot outside yesterday is an understatement! After the gym, Mike and I went to our favorite farmer’s markets. One of the reasons why I love living in the area where we live is because of it’s close proximity to two nice farmer’s markets. Mike and I try to go every Saturday morning. It’s kind of our thing. Awwww.

Mike and I at the Farmer's Market last fall.

We were already sweaty from the gym when we got there around 11:00am. The heat was just ridiculous. I am a native Floridian, born and raised in south Florida, and I can’t remember ever feeling so gross from the heat. The minute you get out of the car, the heat and humidity hit you in the face, your clothes start sticking to you, and you’re sweating profusely. I checked the weather and it said it was only 87 degrees at the time. It felt so much worse.

Anyway, enough complaining. The Winter Park Farmer’s Market is a small, but well-organized farmer’s market in the heart of Winter Park. There are a good number of vendors for such a small space. You can find everything from fresh made crepes and local honey, to cheeses and organic eggs, and of course lots of fruits and vegetables. Because we’re on a VERY tight budget at the moment, we only picked up a couple of things. I knew that I was going to make hummus for lunch, so I grabbed two beautiful and fragrant lemons. I also picked up some beefsteak tomatoes, yellow onions, and some flat-breads for quick and east homemade pizzas. The vendor where I got the flat-breads is one of the most popular at the market. She makes delicious breads and pastries, and some of the best granola I’ve ever had!

Beautiful beets.

Vibrant Japanese eggplants.

Beefsteak tomatoes.

On the way out we grabbed some kettle corn because I absolutely can not go to the farmer’s market without some of this delicious treat. We all know I’ve been on a popcorn kick recently, and this stuff is SO much better than that cheesy deliciousness crap I’ve been eating. They don’t use any butter or oil while cooking it and it is completely trans fat free. It is served warm straight from the kettle and Mike and I usually devour it within 10 minutes.

When we got home we we ready for some A/C and some lunch! I whipped up a batch of fresh hummus using garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. I served it with some carrot sticks, fresh from the farmer’s market tomatoes — which were AMAZING, and some leftover homemade pizza from earlier in the week (I have no idea why we still have some left. I think it’s reproducing in the refrigerator.) I love making hummus at home. It is quick and easy and can be customized in so many ways. We sometimes add roasted red peppers or kalamata olives. I polished off my lunch with a little bit of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

My Shamu bowl from Sea World.

After lunch, Mike and I both took a nap for a little while and then we Mike cleaned up a little bit because we were having company for dinner! Kelly is one of my best friends and was the maid of honor in our wedding. She lives a little over an hour southeast of us in Palm Bay. She loves it when I cook for her and when she told me about her Shrimp Creole recipe, I asked her to return the favor. We ran to the store for a few last-minute ingredients (and more watermelon to feed my belly) and got to cooking!

Kelly and I at our wedding.

While Kelly warmed some bacon grease in a pan, I chopped one large sweet onion and a few stalks of celery. Once the pan was hot, we added the veggies to the bacon grease and let them soften. Kelly used water and flour to make a slurry that would thicken the sauce later on and added that to the vegetable mixture. She added two cans of stewed tomatoes and seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, and red wine vinegar. We let that simmer on the stop to let the flavors melt together. After about 20 minutes we added the shrimp. Kelly used already cooked, peeled, and ready-to-eat shrimp, but I’m sure any fresh shrimp would work perfectly in this recipe. Once the shrimp were heated through, it was time to eat! Kelly serves this dish over white rice with corn muffins on the side and that is just how we ate it. It was so delicious!

Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed our guest chef! I will definitely be making this meal again in the future.

Today, Mike is working and I am staying inside to hide from the 95 degree high. I’ve decided to take the day off from the gym and work on some things here (like packing…fun). I do have a few things to add to the blog that I’m excited about, so look for those soon!

What are your favorite ways to beat the summer heat?

Hope everyone is having a great weekend and staying out of the heat!

Thanks for reading,

R

Slim Pickin’s

Good morning! I am up incredibly early for a Saturday morning because someone was making noise in the kitchen. I won’t name any names, but I caught him red handed with a spoon in the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. He has a gift of being able to immediately fall back to sleep, while I, of course, am wide awake. He’ll be jolted in a few minutes when the alarm goes off to get up for the gym. We’ll be heading to BodyStep this morning before we hit the Farmer’s Market. First, though, I want to tell you about what I pulled out of my, um, hat for last night’s dinner.

My snack while making dinner. The PERFECT fruit for 3532623574 degree weather.

We have some VERY slim pickin’s in our refrigerator right now. We knew that we had to work with what we had, and after some major whining on my part time to think about it, I came up with something nutritious and delicious. Working with random ingredients makes me feel like I’m on an episode of Chopped. In my best Ted Allen, “All right, you have a guava gummi bear, a shoelace, frozen spinach, and a two by four. You have 19 minutes to come up with a fabulous dessert. Your time starts….NOW.” Okay, so maybe that was a mix of Ted Allen and MacGyver, but you catch my drift.

I knew that we needed protein and vegetables and that Mike loves rice. I pulled some half-rotten green beans that needed to be used out of the fridge and cut them into bite-sized pieces. My new favorite way to cook green beans is to saute them in olive oil. They maintain their crunchiness better this way (I feel) than other methods of cooking. I centered our meal around sauteing green beans. I put them in a pan with some olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. I also grabbed a lone sweet potato and partially cooked it for three minutes in the microwave before dicing it and adding it to the pan with the green beans. 

Once those cooked for a while I added the protein. In this case, a can of garbanzo beans. I seasoned everything with salt, pepper, and Penzey’s Vindaloo seasoning. Vindaloo seasoning is a spice blend containing coriander, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, brown mustard, red pepper, jalapeno, cardamom, turmeric, Tellicherry black pepper, and cloves. It provides a spicy, yet sweet, flavoring and is used in several types of Indian dishes. I may or may not have added a little bit more olive oil and butter to the pan to make sure the chick peas got a little crunchy. I split the entire pan of vegetable goodness over some jasmine rice and bon appetit dinner was served. 

This impromptu meal came together surprisingly well. The flavor was delicious, but my favorite part was all of the different textures. The crunch from the green beans, the soft sweet potato, and the firm and slightly crispy garbanzo beans combined with the pillowy jasmine rice was a Riverdance on my palate. I scarfed mine down in approximately 4 minutes. I wasn’t sure how Mike would react to this vegetarian bowl, but he said he liked it. 

Ted Allen: “Congratulations, you have not been chopped.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a $10,000 check to take home with me. Sigh.

For my pre-workout fuel this morning I had a blueberry Chobani with sliced almonds, some cinnamon crunch cereal, and a few cherries.

Now it’s time to pull Mike out of bed so we can make it to the gym on time! I’ll be back later with tales from the Farmer’s Market.

Thanks for reading!

R

Playing catch-up. (And some good news!)

I went my first day without posting. When I started this blog (just over a week ago), I committed myself to one post a day. I didn’t take coming up with content into consideration. Oops. Because I’m currently unemployed and we’ve yet to win the lottery, I feel my everyday routine is rather boring. I don’t want my readers staring at the same three meals a day wishing I would write something else. I have a few ideas swirling around for posts, and this week I will focus on that. Now, though, I’ll sit down with my snack and fill you in on the past two days.

A little too obsessed with this stuff lately.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, Mike was feeling pretty sick. He ended up staying home yesterday, too. I woke up late and had brunch around 11:00am. I finished off the fruit salad from the night before and toasted up a bagel. I topped that sucker with some low-fat cream cheese and sliced tomato. Man, I love cream cheese. I LOVE it. I found these bagels in Publix after reading about them online. They aren’t that big, but for 110 calories and 7 grams of protein, they do a decent job of satisfying the bagel craving.

I pretty much lazed around all day yesterday until it was time to go to the gym. I think Mike’s under the weather-ness got me feeling a little down in the dumps. This week has been very stressful for us between the unemployment hearing and trying to figure out where we’re going to be moving. We now have only four weeks until our lease is up and no real prospective housing options.

At the gym yesterday, I did BodyAttack. I was pretty sore from doing Pump on Wednesday, but I powered it out and went home to take care of a sick hubby. By the time I got out of the car and to the stairs of the apartment, my legs were begging me not to climb the stairs. That was fun. For dinner last night we had some leftover homemade pizza with a fruit salad identical to the one we had the night before. It was such a great combination that I wanted it again. Plus, the mangoes looked like they only had one day left, lol.

I went back for seconds of both.

Can you believe I was in bed before 9:30pm last night? I felt tired, but of course the minute I tried to fall asleep my thoughts were swirling around. Mike finally got me to sleep with a really boring story around 11:30pm. I’m really glad that my husband is comfortable with the fact that he can talk about things he’s interested in for twenty-or-so minutes and I pass the eff out. He’s a keeper!

I woke up early this morning and had breakfast before my 10:00am BodyPump class. I’m getting into the habit of doing Pump three times a week to be consistent with strength training. I’ve actually been able to increase my weight a little bit, which is awesome. After Pump I did 10 minutes on the arc trainer (my new arch nemesis) and 10 minutes of intervals on the dreadmill treadmill.  

We ran out of tomatoes.

Ready to PAHMP you AHP!

Mike was awake and semi-functioning when I got home. We made a quick lunch of leftover brinner (for Mike) and fruit and a turkey wrap (for me – surprise, surprise). While we ate we talked a little about the future and tried to get ourselves into a more positive mood. That mood carried over when we got some good news! My unemployment decision came in the mail and the original decision was REVERSED! Woohoo! This means that I can get unemployment benefits and that I will receive back-pay for all of the weeks I’ve claimed to this point. It can take up to three weeks for me to get paid, but at least we know that we will have additional income while I’m still looking for work. That’s a bit of weight off our shoulders at the moment and we couldn’t be happier.

Stormy is very much relieved, as well.

That’s about all we’ve had going on the past two days. Mike is feeling a little bit better and we are about to head out to get some moving boxes and stop at the store for something to cook for dinner. Stay tuned for some new posts tomorrow! We’re going to the Farmer’s Market and also having a special guest cook dinner with us!

Hope everyone is having a great Friday!

Thanks for reading,

R

Breakfast + Dinner = Brinner!

The Florida summer heat has been making it really hard to get motivated to turn the oven on. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is a sweltering kitchen to go along with my 90+ degree afternoon. Speaking of the heat, check out this sweet tan line I have from our day at Sea World.

Impressive, huh?

The heat combined with the fact that Mike wasn’t feeling well had me looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner. The inevitable dinner conversation went a bit like this:

Me: What do you want for dinner?

Mike: What do we have?

Me: Not much. Nothing that I want anyway.

Mike: What do we have?

Me: Leftover pizza or breakfast for dinner.

Mike: BREAKFAST FOR DINNER!

Let me tell you, I am SO glad that we went with brinner. For someone who didn’t want anything that we had in the house, I sure outdid myself with this one. After taking a look through the fridge I decided on an open-faced egg white omelet, sweet and baked potato hash browns, and a fruit salad. This may not be a fancy meal, but I assure you, it was delicious. Fun fact:  when I was a kid, I hated it when my mom made brinner. Now, I love it. It’s usually cheap and it can be customized in so many ways. This is a fun family meal that picky eaters of all kinds can enjoy.

To start, I heated a couple teaspoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. To that, I added a loose cup of diced onions. This was the base for my hash browns. While those were cooking, I microwaved two fairly large potatoes (we like leftovers in this house), one sweet and one white. Once they were mostly cooked I burnt my fingers trying to cut them because I am impatient diced them into large, one-inch cubes. I then added them to the pan of cooked onions and sprinkled the whole shebang with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. The potatoes and onions caramelized a little bit from the oil and the butter. Once all sides were to my liking, I transferred the batch to an oven-safe pan and placed them in the oven to stay warm while I worked on the eggs.

For the omelet I sauteed half a thinly sliced onion with olive oil. Once the onions were soft, I added one large diced tomato and half a bag (maybe one cup — very precise) of frozen chopped green beans. I let them cook until all veggies were soft and seasoned them with salt and pepper. In a small dish, I separated six egg whites and whisked them together with hot sauce and capers. I then poured the eggs over the cooked veggies and let it set. I topped it with an obscene amount a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and popped the whole pan under the broiler. After the cheese melted it was ready to eat!

The fruit salad was a combination of fresh blueberries, mango, and watermelon with sliced almonds and a drizzle of honey. This was the PERFECT summer fruit salad and the perfect accompaniment to our brinner. I could eat this all day long!

After we ate I finally took a shower (yes, from this morning after the gym) and Mike cleaned up the kitchen and then ran to the store to get some ice cream. He is such a saint. I’m a lucky lady. I think I’ll spend the rest of the evening killing him letting him beat me in gin rummy and backgammon.

What did you all eat for dinner?

What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

Thanks for reading!

R

Early to bed, early to rise (kind of).

Because I went to sleep so early last night, I was up pretty early (for me). Let me tell you, there is nothing that throws your schedule off like being unemployed. I had originally planned to go to a 9:00am step class, but I slept right through it that didn’t work out quite as I had hoped. I woke up around 9:45 and got ready for a 10:30am Pump class instead. I grabbed a couple of plums on the way out the door and ate them on the way there. I’m one of those weirdos who like their stone fruits rock hard, and these were kind of soft and grainy. Not preferable, but I ate them anyway. I got to the gym with just enough time to set up my bar and bench and stretch a little. Then it was time to work!

Breakfast.

After Pump, I did 10 minutes on the arc trainer and 10 minutes on the treadmill. I have a few events coming up that I need to start training for so skipping cardio is not an option. Look for a goals/events/training page soon on Everyday Folks!

I left the gym feeling great. Sweaty and starving, but great. When I got home, I saw that Mike’s car was still here. Uh oh! My baby is sick and stayed home from work today. He rarely calls in sick to work, so I knew he really wasn’t feeling well. Poor thing. We were both hungry, so I made us a quick lunch. I had what is starting to become the usual. Fresh fruit and a turkey wrap. Hey, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Right? I also had a gallon of water. Pump makes me SO thirsty.

I have a new affinity for drinking out of mason jars. I snagged this one from our friend's wedding last month.

Pre-roll up.

Mike requested hot dogs and a peanut butter sandwich. Not together, don’t worry. To brighten up his day, I did a little something special with his hot dogs. 

Yes, my husband is 31-years-old and he still thought this was awesome.

Shortly after we ate Mike slipped into a coma took a nap and I worked on a few things. I take time out of each day to sit down and scour the Internet for open job postings. I’ve applied for over fifty jobs in the past three days alone. Hopefully something comes along soon. I also did a little writing. One thing I love so much about this blog is having to write at least once a day. I’m sure it would help if I woke up earlier to make more time for multiple posts, but I’m still getting the hang of it. Today marks exactly one week from my first post. Thank you to everyone who reads on a daily basis and to all of my new subscribers and Twitter followers!

Here’s a funny bunny picture for you!

She really enjoys chocolate chip cookie dough.

I’m currently trying to decide if I’m going to go back to the gym for round 2. Hope everyone is having a great day!

R