Movin’ on up…

30 10 2011

Head on over to my new blog…


No excuses

20 06 2011

I wanted to get back to blogging, but I wasn’t sure how. When I first came up with the idea for this post, I was on a run…surprise, surprise.  Isn’t that where many of us are most inspired? As I ran, I thought of everything that has happened to me in the last 5 months. Well, I say everything, but what I really mean is a life changing event. My uncle was shot and killed while working undercover to catch a couple of very dangerous criminals.  He gave his life protecting the citizens of Livonia- his family, friends and mostly complete strangers. We always thought him to be invincible, but he worked hard at being invincible.  He was a loving family man who spent just as much time involved with his two sons as he did lifting and working out at his local gym. He worked hard to treat everyone he arrested with dignity and was in the minority when he smiled in his file photo for the police department. He trained himself physically and mentally to be the best he could be and made the ultimate sacrifice, gave the ultimate gift to the community in order to catch the bad guys.  He did, by the way catch the bad guys that day.

As I ran, I thought about how I have been awash with grief and, outside of my place of employment, have at times found it hard to function.  I wondered why I haven’t fallen back on physical exertion as an outlet for my pain and anger.  I look back at how MOTIVATED I was for a portion of last year and how I let a few bad races turn my motivation around into complacency.  I thought about my uncle, his wife, his sons, my mother and her other siblings, my grandmother and the rest of my family.  I thought about my coach in college, jabbing at the picture of the runner with prosthetic legs and exclaiming “Be the best you can be, there are no excuses!”  “You’ve got it easy,” I told myself, “What is your excuse?!”

Since that run last week, I’ve come to realize that perhaps I am too hard on myself.  Not the fact that I push myself, but the fact that I am so hypercritical of myself that I push myself to NOT push myself. Starting over takes a long time.  I am not the person I was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.  I am me and it is now.  All I know is that with a little hope and love, I am invincible. So now when I have a bad day, or a bad race, I need to keep going, even if that means scaling back and remembering why we all do this thing to begin with. Semper invictus, just like badge number 450 was, and still is.

And the winner is…

30 12 2010

Better late than never! But I am proud to say that I was the winner of the Real World Real Food Challenge hosted by Go Sonja and Endurance Meg.  Check out the links to their posts that listed the participants and their own thoughts on the challenge. Thank you ladies for hosting such a fun contest!

So…how is it going, post-challenge, for me? Well…the holidays are rough for everyone, but I’d like to think I helped spread the Real Food love by bringing the juicer to Christmas brunch. In addition, since two members of the family have gone gluten free and the fact that my father in law is on a very strict, heart healthy diet, our holidays have gotten pretty darn REAL.  Everything is made from scratch with minimal fats and use of good fats whenever possible.  So while I do admit to eating quite a bit during dinner and brunch, I think it is safe to say that at least it was on good-for-me things.  In fact, I didn’t even have 1 cookie over the course of two days. Hope you all had a happy holidays and have a safe and happy New Year!

Making a usual

How much food can I possibly eat?!


Final Real World Real Food Update

20 12 2010

Well, the Real World Real Food Challenge put on by Go Sonja and Endurance Meg is now coming to a close.  I’m sure those two did not expect to get people talking, but WOW! I can’t believe the positive (and negative) feedback that has been pouring in.  This is not the end for me, but simply a start.  It (along with meeting up with Jackie) has given me a new motivation to blog more regularly again, which in turn has given me more motivation to treat myself right- even when life tries to get in the way! To everyone who has tried something new these past few weeks- stick with it. It takes at least 30 days to make a new habit stick, but it only takes a heartbeat to loose all of that hard work.  You CAN do it!

Now…I know you’ve all been waiting for the food.  I had a big day planned, including a short, 11k ski and a busy afternoon in my classroom.  My husband and I wanted to spend some of our day off together though, so I whipped up a massive breakfast before we skied. It included eggs from a farm about 20 miles away, bread baked at the Marquette Bakery (for me), leftover sweet potatoes from the night before chopped with grated potatoes and onion from 20 miles away.


The citrus from the challenge also gave me a great excuse to break out my juicer.  I purchased a Jack Lalanne juicer 2 years ago when my post surgery directions indicated that I could not have food containing particles for about 10 days! This juicer was my saving grace. I ended up using all of the fruits in the picture, plus a grapefruit because it didn’t end up yielding enough juice for 2 pint glasses.  You do have to peel the citrus, but fruits such as apple, pear, etc. can be put in the juicer whole!

When I use my juicer, I ALWAYS save the pulp that comes out of it.  This particular day, I got about a cup of pulp.  It is quite dry and is great for using in breads AND smoothies. I just scrape the pulp out of the holding tank and into a freezer bag or glass container.

As I mentioned previously, we were pretty busy yesterday, so I whipped up some of the zucchini from the challenge along with some chicken and shrimp from the freezer to toss in with rice pasta.  I ended up also tossing in some of the leftover collards from the night before!

It wasn’t the most colorful meal ever, but it was 8:00 and I was beat.


So, here is to a wonderful close to 2010 and a new year of healthy choices all around.  Thanks again to Sonja and Megan for giving us all a jump start for 2011!


Real World Real Food Update

19 12 2010

So, I have to admit that I am a fan of The Biggest Loser. Pretty much a superfan actually.  This summer, we found that we were wasting time on beautiful summer nights watching TV so we made the decision to cancel our cable, so now I catch the episodes online.  It is so much better than TV because there is no channel surfing and no getting sucked into other shows.  Anyhow, I was watching the finale the other night and one of the competitors that was back for the final weigh in discussed losing most of her weight at home with 5 kids. One thing from her interview that really stuck with me is that she said that there is NO excuse for not making good decisions every day. Well, let me tell you, having bought a bunch of produce last week and THEN participating in the challenge on top of it has forced me to make better decisions every day- especially when it comes to snacking.

Tonight, I had a special request for burgers from Sammy, so I cooked up some grass-fed beef from about 60 miles away and served it up on a gluten-free bun.  Sides were sweet potato fries with red wine vinegar and collard greens with onion, garlic and roma tomatoes.  What you should know about me, though, is I’m not much of a recipe follower.  I love just throwing things in a pan or baking dish and add things until it tastes good. I’ll do my best to recreate the recipes for you.

Sweet potato fries

Thinly slice or julienne 2 large sweet potatoes or yams and soak them in ice water for about 10 minutes. In a baking dish, toss sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, a sprinkling of cumin. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes with just a splash of water in the dish, stirring and flipping occasionally. Then sprinkle the sweet potatoes with red wine vinegar (or any other vinegar of your choice, I chose this because it was the only gluten-free we had at the moment), and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Collard greens with onions, garlic and roma tomatoes

Let me preface this by saying that I have NEVER cooked collard greens like this before.  When I have gotten them before, I’ve usually mixed them in with other veggies for pasta dishes.  This was a brand new endeavor for me.

Chop about 1/2 onion and sautee with 1 tbs. of olive oil until soft. While onion is cooking, add minced or chopped garlic and add in chopped collard greens (with stems removed) when onions are almost done.  Pour in 1/2-3/4 c. chicken broth. After 5 minutes, add 2 chopped roma tomatoes and simmer until greens are tender.


I have to admit that I totally screwed up and accidentally used broth that wasn’t gluten-free, so Sammy wasn’t able to partake in the collard greens (although I think secretly, he was happy about that).  My other mistake was not looking for my camera prior to cooking.  After I was done, I was hungry and this picture I snapped with my phone does not look super appetizing (but trust me, it was delish).

One final thing that I noticed about snacking on more fresh fruits and veggies throughout the day is the fact that I get fuller faster during meals.  Out of the picture above, I ate most of the greens and sweet potatoes, but ended up picking a lot of the bread from around the burger (I used 1 piece split in half as a bun) and didn’t finish all of the meat because I was stuffed! Gotta love natural portion control!

I’ve been having a great time checking out what everyone is doing with the same fruits and veggies. I think tomorrow morning, breakfast will be quite adventuresome so check back for updates! For an update of a few more of the competitors, check out this update from Go Sonja

Here is my running total of fruits and veggies used thus far:

  • 2 pink lady apples (eaten whole)
  • 1 pomegranate (eaten whole…well, only the seed parts. 😛 )
  • 1 navel orange (eaten whole)
  • 2 pears (eaten whole)
  • 1 kiwi (eaten whole)
  • 1/4 c. bean sprouts (in a salad)
  • 1/2 cuke (in a salad)
  • 1 gala apple (eaten whole, was in place of the pinova)
  • 1 bunch of collard greens (see above)
  • 4 roma tomatoes (1 eaten whole, 1 in salad, 2 in recipe above)
  • 2 large yams (see above)

For an update of a few more of the competitors, check out this update from Go Sonja

Real World Real Food Challenge

14 12 2010

So, today, we had a much anticipated snow day here in Marquette (Michigan).  We live in the land of snow and ice, so we are used to winter weather, but on occasion it slams us out of nowhere or hits us so relentlessly that the school districts finally give up. Don’t get me wrong- I love teaching and my students but I am like a kid on Christmas when it comes to snow days. This time around, I was lucky enough to get the call the night before, so I was able to sleep in rather than keeping myself awake with anticipation and subsequent excitement. On the agenda for the day was a little bit of work and a whole lotta nothin’.  My free time gave me the opportunity to catch up on some blogs that I follow. I was especially curious to see how Megan is doing on her new adventures in St. Louis, MO now that she has finished her doctorate degree (Does this mean I have to call her Dr. Killian?). I had just finished posting about my failed Whole Foods challenge when I stumbled upon her posting about her Real World Real Food Challenge. “Wow!” I thought, “This is a sign that I need to keep up with trying to treat my body well and fuel it properly, even when winter time carb cravings nag me.” Click on the link for the full details, but the following are the basic rules from Megan’s blog as well as her picture of the list:

  • Everything must come from the same store, during the same shopping trip
  • Everything must be organic. If you can get it local organic, that’s even better
  • Buy only what is on the list, in the same quantities
  • Keep the receipt

The challenge was born out of Sonja Wieck’s experience with Door To Door Organics (She is in Colorado, but I posted the Michigan link). Unfortunately, they do not deliver to the Upper Peninsula (also known as Canada 😛 ), but I enjoyed getting a box of produce a week for the price of about $400 a year from Seeds and Spores, our local CSA farm. The boxes were great, but in the U.P. the fruit and veggies are pretty far and few between once the snow flies.  They have the option of winter shares, but this fall I was struggling from skipping a few weeks of pay during a job change.

Today, I decided to boost my mood and give the challenge a shot. I headed to the Marquette Food Co-op. I love our food co-op, but I REALLY love the Keweenaw Food Co-op about 90 miles away for the simple fact that they have a fabulous deli! Marquette has a grab-n-go cooler, but nothing beats the soup and other yummies they offer at the Keweenaw Co-op! One thing that I absolutely love about local food co-ops, including Marquette, is that they are always willing to share new products and I am always surprised by finding some gem, old or new in the store. This time, it was gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread from Rudi’s Organic and Gluten Free Bakery It was to die for and I can’t wait for Sam to try it!

Oops, but back to my reason for venturing out in the winter wonderland…when I headed to the store, I totally expecting to go over the $38 price tag from Door To Door Organics and the $51.18 from the Whole Foods in St. Louis. **Update: I should add that I have always been skeptical of buying fresh produce from the Co-Op because everyone always comments on how expensive it is.  In the past, I’ve only stuck to staples and gluten-free goodies for my husband** So, how did I do? Drumroll please……


My trip was a success, granted, I do have to say that the advantage that DTD Organics has over the Marquette Food Co-op is the fact that I had to leave the house, in the aftermath of a snowstorm, to get my produce. Everything was organic and I only had a few substitutions: 2 gala apples instead of pinova, 2 large yams instead of 3 smaller sweet potatoes (they are big, see the pic), and a alfalfa/broccoli sprout mix instead of bean sprouts.  The box of bean sprouts has at least 2 cups in it, however.  There were also way less bags involved! I did use a bag for the collard greens and fennel because they were pretty wet, but the bags will serve a good purpose.

"Mom, I'm ready for my walk"

After I got home, I unpacked my colorful goodness and gave everything a home in a fruit bowl that my brother-in-law and a “new to us” fridge that was given to us last week by my in-law’s.  It is amazing with HUGE, clear and accessible produce drawers. It definitely has inspired me to cook more these last few days (the extras in the bowl were things that I already had at home).

So, I did it, and proved that things DON’T always cost more in rural areas.  So now what? Where do my efforts from the challenge go next? Well, now I hope to keep the ball rolling by documenting what I DO with all of this seemingly random produce.  Stay tuned for the best part of the Real World Real Food Challenge…cooking and eating! For now, I’ll leave you with photos of where two of the first items went…

Nom nom!


13 12 2010

Wow…so it really has been a while, hasn’t it?  If you are wondering how I did on my HAFC, I didn’t do. Plus with the holidays coming up, I just don’t see myself doing much better in the next 30 days. What do you think? I guess the question is, how bad do I want to do it? Not that badly until after the holidays? Maybe January 1st is the day and until then, good choices at home.  Am I wussing out?

That being said, I am not much of an inspiration here, am I.  I did, however, find some motivation reading Megan’s blog today. She has a lot of neat things going on such as her Larabar giveaway and the Real World Real Food Challenge.  I am down in the dumps as far as nutrition goes right now, and reading about her excellent choices reminds me about what is important.  So head over to the links and check them out.  You might just get lucky and snag yourself some schwag while you’re at it!