Sunday, March 30, 2008

Oven-Roasted Veggie Fajitas

I don't make two-blog nights a habit, but I just made something that's so good that I have to share. I had some old veggies in the fridge that I needed to use and I needed to make a bulk lunch for this next week, so I took the following:

  • two green bell peppers, chopped into strips and then halved
  • two white onions, diced into fajita-sized pieces
  • six or seven button mushrooms, sliced thinly

I covered them with olive oil (just a little), sea salt, hot Mexican chili powder, cayenne pepper, and cumin, and roasted them in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes and at 400 for another 15. I'm having them all week with 1/2 cup brown rice and some ro-tel (drained). Yum!

We also made green smoothies again tonight: this time with the following:

  • four ripe bananas
  • 4 cups spinach
  • frozen peach, honeydew, and grapes

They had a smoother texture than the ones we make with apple, and a very sweet banana flavor, and were this awesome bright green (the apple skin makes the others an olive green color).

Good night everyone!

TV Diet Week!

First of all, I'm so disappointed in myself; I planned for us to participate in Earth Hour last night and I totally forgot. So, a little late, but in the same earth-saving spirit, hubby and I will be turning off the lights for an hour tonight instead. I'm ashamed that we missed the group effort, but we're not going to let it pass just because we were stupid. I was also a little disappointed that our local paper, The Charlotte Observer ( ) put the article about Earth Hour at the end of the front section. I would think that an event of such a large international scale merited at least a small feature on the front page.

Anyway...on to the significance of my title today: during Preacher Mike's sermon this morning, he discussed how we can get drawn away from the faith because of "worries of this world" and "other things," namely, entertainment. He was quick to point out that entertainment in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but that we are a society that needs to be entertained constantly, and thus we're putting things in our head that aren't always the best. He singled out TV, and that hit home because even though hubby and I have been much better about not letting it rule our lives, we still have it on most of the time that we're at home.

I decided that we would try a "TV diet" this week....we will not watch any TV other than the news in the morning (for the weather and traffic report) and Joey's classes on DVD (that are required since he's taking a distance class online). Instead of coming home in the evening and turning on the tube, we'll look for other things to do to enrich our minds and grow our relationship. We'll try new recipes, take a walk, play cards, read, talk, whatever.....we're going to focus on making a conscious effort to keep TV from ruining our minds.

This, hopefully, is another step toward a more simple, contemplative life. I did the raw food detox last week, which ended with a five pound weight loss and a new-found resolve, both to incorporate more raw foods in my daily diet, and also to begin to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle so that my eating habits are more in line with my personal beliefs.

Join me for my week of TV withdrawals; hopefully they will be less painful than the caffeine withdrawals!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snottiness and Stuffiness

Blah.....I've had a scratchy throat since Thursday of last week, and while I don't think I have had a cold or anything contagious (if you know anything about spring in NC, you know about pollen), I have been stuffy and snotty nonetheless. I'm staying home from choir tonight and am trying to rest up my voice for an impending recording session tomorrow night (yay!!) with the band!

Here are a few pics for you...just a random glimpse into my life...

This is our band

This is when Shelli was a baby

This is a very large Black Widow that Joey and his dad found while checking on the water line at his dad's house. I'm very scared of spiders, but found this to be an impressive pic.

Monday, March 24, 2008

An Unfortunate Dining Experience...

Otherwise known as "Gazpacho." *sigh* I wanted to love it so badly, with its raw food-y goodness; it seems to be a staple meal for the raw fooders and they love it so. Sadly, I have come to realize after making a good three servings of it, that I do not like it at all.

I choked down a bowl, added some brown rice to make it edible after zapping it in the microwave for just long enough to knock the chill off. I'm hoping it will be better tomorrow, because I'll have to eat it; can't let the veggies go to waste.
Anyway, I found a blog today that I really enjoyed reading:

This woman decided to try the raw food thing just to see if she could, and has been at it for almost three years now. You can find photos of her journey, along with regular postings, including a very interesting (still in progress) series of posts relating her life story. What I appreciate most is that she's so up-front about her journey at the beginning; she's very clear to say that she doesn't guarantee that she'll keep this up forever, or that she'll even make it to 100% raw (although she does in just a matter of weeks). It's also amazing to see listed just how much food is required in the raw food diet to allow us to meet our daily requirements for calories, fat, and protein....but the awesome thing to see is that it *is* possible.

I'm definitely not at 100% raw myself...I'm still learning, trying new things (like the nasty gazpacho...blech), and making lots of mistakes (like accidentally buying dry roasted almonds instead of raw almonds). I will say, though, that in general (other than this crappy sinus issue I'm having right now), I'm feeling better than I have in some time and I'm seeing my body change before my own eyes, which is exciting. That alone is enough to keep me trying at it for another week.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Here Comes Peter Cottontail...

Well, it was a half-raw Easter. We went to Chili's for lunch today, and the only salads they have are covered with chicken, so I ended up getting a veggie burger with mixed vegetables on the side. It was relatively tasty, although we've decided that we're not going back to Chili's again. It was overcrowded and the music was too loud, and we also felt like we were being rushed out, and at this point, the place really has to be worth our money for Joey and I to decide to go. It's not worth it to me to not be able to hear the person I'm with and have mediocre food on top of it all.

Anyway, it's been a strange Easter; I guess because it was so busy and I've been feeling puny, it just didn't feel like Easter at all. My voice held out and singing went fine, but I'm finding myself at the end of the day looking back and thinking, "was it really a holiday today?" Maybe that will change when we have kids, but frankly, I'm a little disheartened by it all. Christmas didn't feel like Christmas this past year and now Easter didn't feel like Easter either.

Oh well...we had tasty green smoothies for dinner tonight, which was the perfect ending to the day. and I've lost 3.4 pounds since starting this raw journey, so I'm satisfied overall.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day Four and Still (Mostly) Raw

Like the picture? That's the green smoothie I made today for lunch. My Green smoothie consists of:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple (sans seeds, but with skin)
  • 1 slice frozen peach
  • 2 frozen strawberries
  • water
  • 2 cups spinach

It was very tasty and filled me up, which is good since we're having an early dinner at a Mexican Restaurant tonight. It'll be fun to figure out what I can eat there; I know the salsa and guacamole are okay, but other than that, I'm not sure what they'll have.

I've been only probably 50% raw for the past twelve hours because of dinner at Joey's parents' house and breakfast at my parents' house this morning. I hope the scratchy throat goes away hasn't turned into anything bad, just this irritating sore throat, but since I have to sing tomorrow, I'm nervous that I'll wake up in the morning with no voice.

Anyway, enjoy your day; try a raw green smoothie for a snack today!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Raw Food Detox, Day Three

Yay! Another day into the Raw Food Detox, and my caffeine headache has finally broken. Last night, Joey and I made some AWESOME green smoothies with frozen fruit, banana, water, and lots of spinach. It looked a little strange, as it was this dark, olive green color, but tasted like banana and strawberry, and it made me feel healthier just looking at it!

Today, I'm super-hungry. I wish I had some nuts or seeds in the house, but I'm afraid that we have nothing. Tonight, we're having dinner at Joey's parents house, so I'm taking my brown rice/raw veggies with me.

I don't know that I think this diet is entirely sustainable; I've read several raw-foodists' blogs today and I'm undecided on the matter. Of course, those who are passionate about the idea and naturally enjoy raw foods are going to promote it as a completely sustainable lifestyle. I don't know that I really get behind the claims that it can "cure cancer," but I do believe that it's a healthier way of eating than we generally do in our Standard American Diet.

I can honestly say that the benefits that I'm experiencing thus far are worth the boredom of chowing down on the same salad every day for lunch. I feel more alert and aware, and I feel as though I have more energy. I do have a sore throat, which is either me trying to come down with something, or a side effect of the raw food detox (I read that allergy-like symptoms can result). Either way, it's not as bad as it would have been if I were getting sick, so I have to declare the Raw Food Detox a success thus far.

Bring on Day Four!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Raw Food Detox, Day Two

Today has been much more successful than yesterday; as a reminder, I'm only eating about 80% raw, because I'm afraid that I would not get enough variety of nutrients. I'm continuing to have a boiled egg white in the morning and some brown rice with my raw veggies at dinner.....and the occasional tiny chocolate egg (which are very hard to resist as we just had an Easter basket brought to the office).

Today, I noticed greater mental clarity and greater ability to focus on tasks at work. I finished my work much more quickly than normal, and I didn't feel as though I was rushing through anything. My caffeine headache finally eased off around mid-morning (although I did take some Tylenol this morning because I could not handle the pain). I have felt hungry a couple of times, but I feel as though I've eaten ample amounts today to satisfy.

Here is a rundown of what I ate today:
  • 1 boiled egg white
  • 1 small orange
  • 1 large salad (iceberg lettuce mix with carrots and purple cabbage, fresh spinach, cucumber and tomato with balsamic vinegar and olive oil)
  • 1 6-oz cup of protein drink (20 g protein)
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper strips
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 box of raisins
  • brown rice
  • fresh broccoli and cauliflower

I may have some more fruit after dinner, but I'm not certain as I'm feeling rather puny (I so hope that I'm not getting a cold. Blah).

Anyway, thus far, I'm relatively satisfied with the way I'm feeling on the raw food detox. I see a lot of sense in the raw food diet, although I don't know if it's something that I could sustain long-term. I'm doing it right now to improve my overall health, to help me with some weight loss, and to improve my self-discipline. If nothing else, I want to be able to say that I decided to do something and stuck to it.

It seems that I've had this psychotic relationship with food throughout my life; it's been comfort, something to do when I'm bored, a way to name it, and food has been that. There have been very few times in my life when I've made a decision to eat a certain way and really followed through. Usually, I'm left feeling disappointed and as though I've failed. The Raw Food detox was the only time when I've really committed to doing something like this, and the only reason I stopped before was because we had a catastrophic family emergency.

So, that leaves me preparing to enjoy a bowl of rice and raw veggies. Onward to Day Three!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Raw Food Detox, Day One

Now, mind you, I haven't been on this detox since summer, and I've not been particularly successful with any of the detoxes I've tried since. However, for the most part, I'm doing pretty well (with the exception of three tiny chocolate eggs today at work). I am eating about 80% raw right egg white in the morning, some protein powder at lunch, and brown rice at dinner, just so that I'm feeling relatively satisfied.

The biggest pain thus far has been coming off the caffeine; I'm just now getting to the point where my headache is bearable, and I'm hoping that it will only get better tomorrow as my head was literally pounding all day. Honestly, I'm mad at myself that I've let a substance have that much control over me.

I've also got to figure out a way that I'm not too exhausted when I get home to write. I could go to bed very easily right now, and I don't think I'm getting up excessively early in the morning (5:30). Something's got to give, or at this point, it'll end up being me, I'm afraid.

Anyway...time for some brown rice and garlic and raw broccoli and cauliflower. Yay!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Easy Come, Easy Go...

We went to a birthday party today; it was so much fun to get to spend time with some friends that we haven't seen in a while, but it also brought to mind how easily friends can become disconnected just because they don't see each other on a regular basis. Several of the people at the party were from a Sunday School class that we grew out of once it got too big, so we haven't had the face-to-face encounter each week that we used to, and as a result, we've grown somewhat distant. It reminds me that sometimes when we step away from our comfort zone, we end up losing contact with those who stayed. What it also brought to mind, however, is how blessed we are to have the new circle of friends that we've acquired since taking our step of faith, and, while it was much easier to be in a group of ready-made-friends which never required us to pursue new friendships, we're probably in a much better place with how much we've grown through the painful process. It seems that the periods of greatest growth are often born from the times of greatest pain.

On a totally unrelated note, I've spent the past half hour making "ham and cheese pinwheels" for my office party that we're having tomorrow for Saint Patty's Day. My recipe is as follows:

  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 2 or 3 large cucumbers
  • 2 8 oz containers of chive cream cheese
  • 1 large pack of deli ham (thicker slices)

I slice the cucumber long-ways and remove the seeds....the rest is simple: Spread some cheese on the tortilla, add a couple of pieces of the ham, put a strip of cucumber at one end and start rolling. I usually refrigerate them overnight and then slice into small "rolled" discs. Great party appetizer.

I'm going to do a raw food detox this week; I bought the veggies today and I'm going to go ahead and plan out my menus (I did get some protein powder and will probably have an egg each morning and some brown rice with dinner). I'm just ready to clean out my system and I liked the way I felt when I was on the raw food detox the last time (but had to stop unexpectedly because my dad went into the hospital unexpectedly).

Otherwise, I just need to get my teeth cleaning over with on Tuesday and I'll be good to go and ready to face the week!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blogging as Practice...Blogging as Therapy?

I've tried my hand at the narrowly-defined-topic blog, which I enjoyed greatly--until I tired of the topic and had little else to say. I blogged about frugal living, which is a subject near and dear to my heart as my husband and I are trying to be good stewards of our money all while he's going to school for his PhD (so essentially, we are living on one income). However, as a result of blogging about such, I found that my reputation among my friends became of the "stingy miser" who doesn't want to part with any of her money. And, once I ran out of things to say about frugal living, I was left with a very dry blog.

In thinking about my life lately, I've been considering what kind of person I want to be and figure out how to get there. I've always wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but over the past four years or so, I've managed to get caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life, and I noticed some months ago that I've hardly written a thing since I finished college.

As a result, I'm starting up this inner thoughts and ramblings with an overarching theme of my ever-evolving journey toward living a more simple and natural live, all while trying to somehow achieve the dream of becoming a writer. If you're still here, I thank you for reading!