Friday Fun Fact #6

Ahhh, the end of another week.  The other day I got to thinking about how routine and schedule oriented I am.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday I blog.  I have a green smoothie on my way to work (as opposed to a hot beverage).  I do weight training at the gym.  Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a hot beverage during my commute and I do only cardio and abs for my workout.  Saturdays are reserved for grocery shopping and church.  Sundays I look forward to my coffee date with Healthy Hubby.  Wow!  Either my life is really boring or I have gotten in a huge rut!  This is not to say that these are the only things I do on these days, but it just made me think about how I tick off the days of the week by what my activity is for that day.  And each week is the same.

Okay, that was just a bit of nonsense that really has nothing to do with anything, but thought I would share.

And now… for the Friday Fun Fact:

You know, as we get older we reminisce a little bit more.  Or maybe that’s called dementia and we just don’t remember we’ve already talked about something when we repeat it and call it reminiscing.  But anyway, I was reminiscing yesterday.  I was thinking of a lady who, together with her husband, were wonderful friends of my parents.  They met through my father’s professional organization and I traveled with my parents for conferences sponsored by that group.  Like most conferences, we would join the rubber chicken circuit and eat mass-produced food.  You know, undercooked chicken with half raw potatoes and totally overcooked peas.  There was always that garnish of wilted parsley on the plate.  Well, the wife friend of this duo would eat her parsley.  As a child I thought that was odd.  Isn’t parsley a garnish?  She would then pick the parsley off of the plates of those near her and eat that too.  I also thought that to be extremely odd.  But, you know, I think this lady was on to something.  Parsley is incredibly good for you.  Who would have known?

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I have recently gotten hooked on parsley.  It’s going in salads, in my smoothies, sprinkled on top of almost everything.  But what do you do with it besides fancy up your soup, garnish your stews and top your salads with it?  I have a bunch of it hanging out in my window sill in a glass.  It likes the relative coolness of that area, I guess.  You can also store it in your refrigerator in a plastic bag after being rinsed.  But when I do that, it gets pushed to the back and when I find it in a couple of weeks, well… it’s icky.  I know the stuff grows like a weed and I could buy it as a plant, but I’m trying to get it to root, like my basil and mint are, so I can plant it outside.  But if not, at 49 cents a bunch, it’s not an expensive vitamin on a stalk!  Check out some of the benefits parsley packs:

  • Vitamin K (be careful if you’re on blood thinners)
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluable antioxidant and provides additional support against free radicals, helps prevent atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes and asthma.  Vitamin C is also an anti-inflammatory agent and is important in building a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate, the natural source of Folic Acid (which should be avoided in supplement form), is one of the most important B vitamins and parsley is a good source to get your Folate.  Want a healthy heart?  Don’t forget your Folate.  It’s also important for proper cell division so it’s important for prevention of cancer in two areas that have rapidly dividing cells… the colon and cervix.
  • Iron
  • Parsley also contains two components that provide health benefits.  Volatile Oils have been shown to prevent tumor formation in animal studies (particularly in the lungs).  Those volatile oils may also neutralize some types of carcinogens, such as those found in cigarette and charcoal grill smoke.  The other component contained in parsley is flavonoids.  I know you’ve heard or seen that word before.  What does it mean?  Flavonoids in parsley act as antioxidants and protect our bodies from free radicals.

Conclusion:

Do you think that parsley looks a little like those inner leaves on your celery?  Well, that’s because parsley and celery are in the same family.  So as to not bore you anymore with details, I’ll end my Friday Fun Fact there.  The bottom line is it’s really good for you!

_DSC9726Did you know there’s a couple different kinds of parsley?  I prefer the flat or Italian style.  It’s a little milder and less bitter.  This last week, I made a smoothie with spinach, parsley (duh!), lemon juice, a frozen banana, fresh pineapple, water and ginger.  It was so refreshing!

I hope you will try something new with parsley.  When you do, come back and tell me about it!

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Goats, Desserts & lots of Mumbling, oh my!

Hello, YOU!  I hope you enjoyed a long weekend.  I took the day off from blogging Monday to relax my mind lay on the couch and be lazy.  Healthy Hubby and I spent a couple of days at Lake Chelan in search of warmer weather.  It was a tad warmer and I must say it was drier than on the west side of the mountains.  Here’s a picture of me getting kissed by some goats at one of the many fruit stands we came across.

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They were so darned adorable.  There were kibbles available to feed the little kids, and they ate as if they were ravishing.  I later found out from one of the employees there that the goats are later sold to some locals who buy them “on the hoof.”  Yeah.  We know what that means.  I wanted to pack them up into the Highlander, but Healthy Hubby said they must stay.  He apparently didn’t see the benefit in having four goats in the back yard.  I thought they could help with mowing and other yard work.  We left them behind, with sad faces.

I had a really munchy weekend and I’m not sure why.  Though most of my choices were healthy (oops!  Insert 70% cacoa vegan chocolate bar here), but I merely over ate.  So we’re back on schedule and, as you know, I love routine.  Oh, yes, I do.  So this week I should be good to go crazy healthy for a while.

I’m getting excited about farmer’s markets opening up and the new produce that’s available even in the grocery stores.  Today I had my first nectarine of the year.  Of course, not local, but it was good nonetheless.  So don’t be afraid to pick some up at the store if you see them.  They’re good!  One thing I can’t wait for are the berries that the Pacific Northwest produces.  Our berry season is fairly short.  I think they all go about three weeks with strawberries starting us off.  They should be coming by Father’s Day.  Then we go to raspberries around July 4th and then blueberries, my favorite, will hit in August.  So, you see, if you work it right, you can have a constant flow of fresh berries.  And if you stock up, you can freeze them for deliciousness all year round.  We are still indulging in strawberries from last year.

New purchase:

Last week I broke down and purchased the ice cream attachment for my Kitchenaide mixer.  I don’t seem to even use the mixer anymore since going healthy because I’m not making cakes, shredding cheese, or stuffing sausages (not that I ever did that, but I needed another example of something you can do with the machine).  So I was all excited to make Carrie’s Strawberry Nice Cream in my new appliance until I read the operating instructions.  You must stick the thing in the freezer for 15 hours!  15 hours.  It’s not like you’re going to spontaneously decide you want ice cream one evening.  So I’ll make some tonight and share the recipe later on in the week.

Today’s recipe:

I do have a dessert recipe for you though today.  With the berries in abundance in the grocery stores, mostly shipped from California, I bought a bunch and made a Vanilla Bean Sabayon.  It’s Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe and very similar to the Chocolate Fondue that I made a number of months back.  I think you’ll agree it’s very good, attractive enough for company, and easy to make.  There is a little bit of planning ahead though.  You need to soak the cashews for a bit… like overnight.  But do not fear.  If you forget to do that, go ahead and make it anyway.  It will just take a little more coconut water.  And if you don’t have a vanilla bean, leave your worries behind.  You can substitute 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract for the entire amount in the recipe and it will still be oh, so delicious.  Can you tell I’ve made the recipe twice… once following it to a “T” and the second time improvising and substituting?

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I layered berries with the sauce and it was very good!  Maybe I’ll work on some sort of a biscuit or shortcake that we could include with this.

What are some of your favorite berry recipes?

Well, come back and check out my page on Friday for more news!

Friday Fun Fact #5

Well, here we are at the close of another week.  I think because we have a holiday weekend coming up the week dragged on for me.  But alas, here we are looking it in the eyes.  Healthy Hubby and I are heading off for a little getaway to a sunny spot.  It should be fun.  Even if it’s not hot, at least it will be warmer than the 43 degree rain we’ve been having.

Friday Fun Fact:

So today is Friday and that means a Fun Fact is in order.  I was debating whether to share with you the benefits of eating lots of leafy greens (there’s a new one) or would it be the effects of dopamine when it comes to changing one’s diet style.  Hmmmm.  Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.  Let’s see if I can get the message out clearly about dopamine.

Have you ever binged?  There’s the bag of chocolate chips hiding in the pantry to be used for that “some day” batch of cookies.  Then there’s always that time when you’ve been cruising along on your healthy diet, being really good week after week and then it’s someone’s birthday at work and there’s a cake.  Two pieces?  Sure, why not.  Or maybe it’s not sweets.  Two slices of toast with jam leads to a handful of almonds which leads to a big bowl of popcorn which leads to more toast, this time with peanut butter — all relatively harmless foods when eaten alone.  Why do we do it?  Recently I was at a celebratory gathering where the hostess had made the most unbelievable “scratch” cupcakes with real fruit in the strawberry icing –there were orange ones too!  Yeah. I ate three.  I’m not proud, but I confess.  They were really good!  And to my friend who made them, It’s not your fault.  A part of my brain that desires that kind of food got the best of the part of my brain that tells me not to eat it.  But how does it happen?

It’s all in the dopamine reaction, my friend.  It doesn’t kick in until we actually eat the low-nutrient, high-calorie food.  It’s the intensely sweet, salty and/or fatty foods that set it off.  Dopamine is a neurochemical in our brain that regulates motivation, pleasure and reward relating to certain stimuli, including food.  Over time our brains build up a tolerance, requiring greater amounts of the stimuli (aka food) in order to maintain the “high” that we feel when the dopamine is released.  This can lead to over-eating, bingeing and addictive behaviors.  And this doesn’t apply only to food.  The dopamine system is activated with all types of feel-good activities — shopping, drugs, smoking and even aggression are just a few.  Some people have a reaction just by viewing pictures of food.  I don’t consider myself a food addict (but then again the first step to recovery is acknowledging you have a problem), but how could I eat three of those delectable cupcakes?  (You can read about my sugar addiction here.)  Not everyone who eats unhealthy food is a food addict, but food that is highly palatable (insert “unhealthy”) — and I think the food engineers make it that way on purpose, but that’s a blog post for another day — has physiologically addictive properties that will make any healthy eater feel like they’ve lost control for a bit!  For some people — me, for example — it’s best to just not go there, to not even go down the path of eating foods that trigger a session of overeating.  So I won’t be indulging in any sweet treats for a while.  Perhaps I can put my dopamine system to bed and continue on as a happy, kale eating, healthy vegan!  I don’t quite get the pleasure and reward from a giant kale salad as I do from strawberry cupcakes.  Close, but not quite.

Apology:

So my apologies for no post on Wednesday.  I was really trying to come up with something good, but I couldn’t.  You know, it’s hard to post three times a week.  And since I’ve sort of fallen back on old standbys for my meals, I don’t have anything new, except a dessert recipe… but then again, I refer you to the above paragraph.  Oh, I told you I would share the tamale casserole that I made last weekend.  And I will.  It just needs a little bit of tweaking first.  I’ll try it again next week with a saucier sauce.  The tamale part ended up a little dry, so I’ll try it again.  The flavor was right on, so if you like tamales and haven’t had them since you went healthy, you might want to get yourself some masa flour so you’re prepared.  I found mine at Winco, my favorite everyday grocery store.  They have a large ethnic section and I can usually count on them for ingredients for my TexMex foods.  No special order needed.  Now I’ve got four pounds of the stuff.  I think I’ll try my hand at making some corn tortillas too!  That should be fun.  🙂

Well, have a good weekend & I hope you’re one of the few people who get three days off!  Enjoy & remember to make it healthy!

Check out my new running shoes. IMG_1217 Do you think they’re bright enough?!  I do have to say I can run faster & jump higher with them!

Mumbles for Monday & a Book Review

Hello there.  It’s Monday… again!  Funny how it comes around every week, eh?

Did you have a good weekend?  I was busy, busy.  Saturday started off so fun.  The Healthy Hubby and I took our son’s girlfriend out for breakfast to that same little cafe I mentioned last week.  It was great to eat healthily while we caught up with her and shared tidbits of the letters we each have received from Alex while he’s away at Army Basic Training.  He’s five weeks in now, so he is about one-fourth finished.  I’m so proud of him.  He is doing very well in all of the PT drills and is right at the top of his platoon!  I’m sure it’s because of all that healthy food I had him eating.  Or maybe it’s just because he’s a 19-year-old kid who is strong as steel, can run as fast as a cheetah and has the endurance of an Iditarod dog.  I’m not sure, but it sounds like he is doing great.  I look forward to September when we’ll get to see him again.  I guess no matter how old your kids get, you still miss them when they’re away.  This ain’t no summer camp, baby!

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Just happy as can be!

Book Review:

Do you LOVE your job?  Are you a _______ but wish you were a ___________?  Do drag yourself through the week so you can live for the weekend?  You’re not alone.

I recently read a motivating book.  It’s titled Quitter: Closing the gap between your day job & your dream jobJon Acuff is the author and if you think you recognize that name, he’s the hip and funny bloggerator of Stuff Christians Like.  He’s one happy guy who a few years ago wasn’t so happy in his dead-end j-o-b.  He needed to figure out how to live his dream job and he’s done it.  This isn’t one of those self-help books that gives you a “how to” list of things to do so you can be just like the author.  Nope.  Jon uses humor and his own personal experiences to motivate you to first define your dream job and reminds you that you need to work the day job to get to the dream.  I found Acuff’s ability to keep the reader laughing (he starts off by describing how to change your clothes in a bathroom stall)  but yet remain on task and focused (yes, there are a few “how to” lists, but it’s okay) to be a bonus of the book.  It sure kept me coming back for more information on how I can start on my journey of “being in like” with my day job so I can get serious about following my dream.  This is definitely a book I will keep around and probably refer to many times depending upon where I am in my journey.

I recommend Quitter to anyone who is trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up.  And if you already know what that is, but you don’t know how to get there, you just might want to pick up a copy or check out his website.

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This is my own review. I have received no compensation and I have nothing to gain from it.

Weekend Review:

Did you make a new recipe this weekend?  Try a new dish?  I spent almost the entire day on Sunday in the kitchen.  I prepped and cooked a bunch of dishes for the week so I will have some good options for lunch and dinners will be quick and easy when I get home from work.  I may grumble and complain while I’m hunched over the cutting board for hours on end, but I sure do enjoy the ease it creates during the week.  Let’s see… what did I make?  I made a big pot of Healthy Hubby’s favorite soup, corn chowder; one of my faves, Chef AJ’s 6-minute split pea soup, a tamale casserole, chickpea “crab” cakes, and oatmeal raisin cookies.  Some things were a success, a few others notsomuch.  We could take or leave the “crab” cakes.  But the cocktail sauce I made was pretty tasty.  I just don’t know what I’ll use it on since seafood is not in our diet.  It was a nice addition to the meal, but definitely was higher scoring on the make-it-again scale than the entree.  I will share the tamale casserole recipe later in the week.  One thing I did make that was absolutely to die for was Carrie‘s Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. It is so a-ma-zing.  I hate to say that I made it Friday night and… well, it’s gone!

I mean… look at this!

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photo stolen from Carrie’s blog

Who doesn’t want a slice… or two?

So I’ll call it a day (well, not really… it’s still early) and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.

Make it healthy!

Friday Fun Fact #4

Photo: Eat clean, train hard, and see results

I love this meme.  Wait… let’s digress for a second.  Do you know what a meme is?  I’ve seen them, experienced them, been spammed by them but didn’t even know what one was when I heard the word.  This little picture thing up there… that’s a meme.  It’s pronounced “meem.”  The true definition is, “An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.”  So there you go.

I actually borrowed it from a friend of a friend on Facebook.  Healthy Hubby also posted it on the Healthy Vegan Challenge page over on Facebook.  It’s kind of the subject of my blog today and one that up until about two years ago I hadn’t given much thought to.  I figured losing weight and getting healthy was all about calories in, calories out.  Au contraire.  It’s about the quality of the calories going in.  100 calories of sugar isn’t the same as 100 calories of kale, for example!

As Dr. Fuhrman says, “You lose weight in the kitchen; you gain it in the gym.”  Of course, the obvious also applies.  You can clearly gain weight in the kitchen too if you’re eating high-calorie, nutrient poor foods that contribute nothing in terms of wellness.  I know of people who have lost 80, 90, 100 pounds by changing their diet to one of mostly plants (or all plant-based) with little or no exercise at all.  Many times it is necessary for people to lose the weight before they start a heavy exercise regimen to avoid injury or other potentially life-threatening problems.  It can be done!  When you rid your body of the toxins that come from processed foods and animal products, it is able to rebuild itself from the inside out and in doing so you shed pounds easily and effortlessly!

Eating low calorie, nutrient dense foods is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.  Exercise in the gym is to gain muscle mass.  Some younger people (particularly young men) like to have a muscular body and that’s fine.  At my age, however, I’m going for the lean, toned look that assures me that  my back will continue to hold me upright and my bones will be healthy 20, 30 or 40 years from now.  Yes, you do burn calories in the gym, but the number of calories we burn with exercise is minimal compared to the number of calories that we burn just existing throughout our day.   It is more important to focus on exercise to increase endurance, strengthen muscles (especially your core), and keep your bones strong and healthy.  Pairing a nutrient dense, plant-based diet and a moderate exercise routine will give you the healthiest future possible!

  Just remember:

 

So on that note, I think I’ll wrap up for the day and work on my book review that I promised some time ago.  Look for that on Monday.

Have a great weekend.  Make it a healthy one!

Protein Power!

Hi there!  I’m so glad you are here.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about protein and how vegans get enough to sustain themselves.  Today I will share with you a great salad that I created the other day just working from listening to my taste buds.  I think you’ll find it to be sweet, crunchy, satiating and tasty.  Its main ingredient is quinoa (keen-wa) which is packed with protein.  Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown specifically for the seed of the plant.  As a great source of fiber and other nutrients, quinoa also provides essential amino acids, calcium, phosphorus and iron.

I hope you’ll give this salad a try.  Click on the picture below to be taken to the recipe.

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We are well into Week 2 of the Healthy Vegan Challenge over on Facebook.  Won’t you join us?  Get your body in the best shape for summer and get on your way to a new, healthy lifestyle.

It’s a short post today, but come back on Friday where I’ll share some more Fun Facts with you.

Disclaimer:

Just remember… none of the information in this blog is intended to be medical advice and is purely the result of my own research.  You may find different information to support another view.  The opinions expressed are my own.  You are advised to seek the advice of a licensed medical professional for your particular needs relating to diet and exercise.

Eat your Peas!

Wow! We’re back to Monday again.  I hope you had a fantastic weekend and, if you are a mother, had a little downtime to relax.  Everybody is a mother to some extent, right?  Whether to your own children, adopted ones, neighborhood kids, or the furry type.  They all take work, don’t they?  And I think we’re entitled to a little time off once in a while.  Mother’s Day is one of those days when I don’t feel guilty taking the day off.  And I sure did!

Weekend in Review:

Saturday morning Healthy Hubby and I found a new restaurant nearby.  The Moon Rise Cafe serves traditional breakfast and lunch fare and even has some vegetarian and vegan options.  I was ecstatic to find a tofu scramble on the menu.  They season their tofu with a variety of things including turmeric to give it the yellow that scrambled eggs have.  The flavor was amazing and it seemed as if I were eating eggs and vegetables.  It was such a treat from the usual oatmeal that I get if we go out for breakfast.  I will share more about my attempt to re-create the scrambled tofu.

The forecast was for good weather so we headed out for a 90-minute drive south to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens.  We were hitting the last weekend of Lilac Days and weren’t sure what we’d find.  After all, our lilacs at home just started blooming.  Two weeks earlier would have been the prime viewing and smelling season, but we were not disappointed with what we did find.  Ahhh, the sweet smell of lilacs!  What beautiful gardens they have continued to maintain after the original “Lilac Lady” died in 1960.  It’s a historical landmark that hopefully will remain for years to come.  We plan to go back next year for more variety.  We did come home with two dwarf bushes that will go nicely in a couple of pots on the deck.  They are so fragrant.  Here’s a couple of pictures that Healthy Hubby took.  His photography skills blow me away sometimes!

bee lilac.

It was such a lovely day.

Sunday started off a little sad.  It’s my 11th Mother’s Day with no mother to celebrate with.  But, you know, it’s a fact of life and we must not dwell, so off we go on our “coffee” date.  Sometimes it’s a tea date, sometimes coffee.  The day was sort of lazy, like it should be.  I attempted to re-make the “tofeggs” and it wasn’t a complete fail.  I added them to Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe of California Creamed Kale.   Below is a picture of just the creamed kale (no rice) which by itself is wonderful.  When I added the “tofeggs” I left off the cream sauce and added salsa and avocado for a hearty breakfast.  Not bad.  I didn’t think to take a picture of it.  (I was a little hungry)

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Since it was a lazy day for me on Sunday I took a lonnnnng nap.  Oh, boy!  Did that ever feel good.  I was completely rested, rejuvenated and prepped for the upcoming week.  But that was not the end of my day.  The highlight of the entire weekend came when Alex called to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.  It was so good to hear his voice and know that he is doing well.  I could have talked to him forever, but I knew he only had 30 minutes to talk; and, realizing he wanted to talk to his girlfriend too, we cut it short so he’d have equal time with her.  It was a very special 15 minutes that I will treasure until the next time he can call.  My weekend was complete!  I even got a little emotional after the call.

Call it a wrap!

Well, I’m gonna call it a wrap with this one recipe, but I will have another on Wednesday that you won’t want to miss.  Come back here and check out a coooool summer salad packed with lots of protein!