Sunday, November 14, 2010

Autumn Squash Soup

With My CSA- I feel like I can barely keep up with all of the vegetables I am getting each week! 
My recent solution: Soup. Soups are a great way to use up a variety of veggies, and make something warm and delicious. I love the fact that soups are so diverse and you can put essentially anything in them and get a some wonderful product. 
Here is my most recent creation, which came out quite well! 
I'll have to add a picture later.

Autumn Squash Soup

1- medium Onion – finely chopped
~ 1 tb Olive oil
1 tb butter
1 clove Garlic – minced
1- Butternut Squash
1- Acorn Squash
2- Sweet Potato
1 head Green Cabbage
2- Apples (I used macintosh)
1 quart Vegetable broth
Salt if desired
2 cups Low fat milk

* Peel and chop all ingredients

* In a large pot, simmer onions, garlic, olive oil, butter and a splash of water for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.

* Add in all other chopped vegetables and apples, and vegetable broth, and spices. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically.

* Once ingredients are soft, use an immersion blender (or portion out and use a regular blender or food processor) to blend ingredients until pureed.

* mix in enough milk until desired thickness. Dry white wine could also be added if desired (~1/2- 1 cup).

 I just used whatever vegetables I had on hand, I’m sure any yellowish squash/ pumpkin would be good.  I used fresh, but canned would work fine too. 
Other recipes used white potatoes… I thought the sweet potatoes kept nicely with the color scheme, and I enjoy sweet things.

 I do not think the cabbage did anything for taste- I just had it on hand and wanted to use it, but nice way to sneak in a green vegetable and add some more fiber and nutrients J  

This made a very large portion of soup, you may wish to scale down.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trail blazing

This post falls more under the "Live abundantly" section.

My friend Christina has been all into doing new and exciting things (...though, this is the girl who lives on french fries and will not try any new foods.)

But at any rate- we decided to go horse back riding!  Each of us have only been on a horse once in our lives... I was last on one in the 6th grade, so it seemed like a new and interesting adventure. We went to Ridge Valley Stables in Grafton MA. We did the beginners trail ride.

My Grandmother called me while I was on the way there, and I informed her I was going horseback riding, her response was, "I don't believe you."
so... I had to get pictures.  Unfortunately the horses were not cooperating.

I took many shots like this with a horse, where the horse would then move its head out of sight.

This horse Bit me! I was unaware horses just bit at random, but I was going around, patting all of the horses, and this one started nuzzling me, and then nipped my hand. I had to take a picture of the offender, but alas, he like all of the others moved at the last second. 

As for the actual ride I lucked out with a cute little horsey named "Nilla" short for Vanilla Bean. I was happy she was on the smaller side, as some of the others looked extremely wide and hard to ride.

Nilla decided to take up the rear of the pack... she also enjoyed taking the route less traveled by, all of the other horses stayed on the path, she liked to take the "Long-cuts" going in little loops through the trees.

At any rate, it was a fun and interesting experience. By the end I was even just holding onto the reins and not holding on to the saddle for dear life every time she ran! Progress.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seasonal Soup and Salad: The Soup

My last post discussed Jon and I's seasonal dinner inspired by the bounty of my CSA box.

I had made a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cider Vinaigrette, and he made a lovely potato and leek soup.

I generally attempt to make my recipes healthier- but Jon was only willing to do so much tweaking to the recipe...

He used:

1/2 stick unsalted butter
olive oil
2 leeks
1/4 large onion (so.. like one small one?)
3 cloves garlic, minced
~1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled (we used russet potatoes )
1 pt chicken or vegetable broth
black pepper
1 cup heavy cream (Um.... I would not have chosen this. You can substitute 1/2 or all milk, or use a light cream at least)

* wash and chop leeks, garlic and onion.
* Heat a bit of butter and oil in pan (big frying pan/ wok).
* add garlic, leeks and onions. Saute until soft. Set aside.
* peel and thinly slice potatoes.
* prepare pan again with olive oil and butter, and add potatoes. You are not trying to brown the potatoes. Add a bit of broth and cover pan. Cook until soft.
* add in the leek combo, and saute. Add the rest of the of the broth and spices as desired, and let simmer.
* place a large pot over heat. Pour the soup mixture into pot.
* add 1 cup of cream (or milk).
* use immersion blender to blenderize some of the soup until reaching a creamy consistency.
*** note: Jon blenderized quite a bit, but in retrospect we think he should have left some chunks of potatoes etc. So blend to your desired consistency.


We served ours with our salad and a side of french bread.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seasonal Soup and Salad: The Salad

Getting a CSA is a great way to force you to eat seasonally- and eat some what creatively. Normally I just go to the grocery store and buy whatever is on sale or looks good.

With a CSA- I get a box of random vegetables and fruits that are fresh, local and in season. It has also forced me to get more variety in my diet which is always good too.

This weeks box included:
leeks (which I had never had before last week- I had to google to figure out what they were)
Some leafy green (Red Chard?)
lots and lots of potatoes

Jon, as per usual, was pestering me what we were doing for dinner, so I told him what vegetables we needed to use- and we went ahead and googled recipes.

I decided on the Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with cider vinaigrette, and he made a Potato and Leek soup (recipe to follow!).

For my salad I used:
1 butternut squash
3 tb dried cranberries
1 tb pure maple syrup
salt and pepper
1 bunch arugula
1/2 head romaine (I used a whole head and had lots left over.)
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tb apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apple cider
1 shallot
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 apple
fresh parm cheese

* first pre heat oven to 400*
* peel, cut and cube squash
* Place squash on baking sheet or pan, add maple syrup, a little bit of olive oil and some pepper and salt to squash and toss. Roast for ~15 minutes.
* add cranberries after 15 minutes, mix again and continue to roast until cooked.
* add chopped shallot, vinegar and apple cider to a small sauce pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
*remove dressing from heat. Add dijon mustard and olive oil. Mix well.
* wash, dry and cut arugula and lettuce.
* cut apple (add lemon, or other citrus juice to keep from browning.

* prep plates by placing greens, apple, walnuts, parm cheese.
* once squash is done, add some to salad. (I let mine cool for a little bit first.
* add small amount of well mixed dressing to salad and enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cuban Dish #2: Cuban Sea Bass (um… Tilapia)

I am still on the mission to force health eating upon people, along with becoming more ethnically diverse, so I decided to try my hand at another Cuban dish. This time, I simply found a dish that was relatively healthy to begin with rather than editing a less healthy dish.

The recipe was for Cuban Sea Bass. However, when I go to the grocery store, I was unable to find sea bass, so I decided to settle for tilapia.

Cuban Tilapia (or whatever other fish you decide to stick in it)
2 tb olive oil
2 white onions, sliced
1-2 cloves minced garlic
4 chopped tomatoes, seeded
1.5 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup slices olives
1/4 cup drained capers
crushed red pepper
~ 1 pound of fish
1 tb butter
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  1. heat olive oil in a pan/ wok and cook onions and garlic.
  2. Add tomatoes, cook until soft.
  3. Add wine, olives, capers, and red pepper. Allow sauce to simmer.
  4. Add fish to sauce. Cook 10-15 minutes until fish is easily flaked.
  5. Remove the fish from the sauce.
  6. Add butter to sauce and turn up the heat. Add cilantro. Cover sauce, and allow to thicken.
  7. Serve sauce over the fish.

I served my dish with fresh steamed green beans, black beans, and a brown rice/rice pilaf concoction.

It came out pretty good in my opinion. I am not a huge fan of olives, so if I did it again, I think I would omit them, but overall tasty.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eating Healthy for the Busy Person

"If you need something done, give it to a busy person!"

Ah… how true it is. It does seem the more we have to do, the more we get done.
Of course, it's also easy to let certain things go when you are really busy, such as going to the gym and eating healthy.

So here's the key:

My professor always complains that people say they are either organized, or they are not. She states, "Organized people are organized because they take the time out of their day to get organized," which, in the end, saves time!

- plan what kind of meals you want to make for the week.
- make a shopping list
- go to the grocery store
- at some point soon after going to the grocery store- take the time to prep any of the healthy food that requires effort that might later deter you from eating it.

If you set out to chop/ peel/ prep a bunch of stuff at once it takes much less time than going through the process each time you want to eat something. Plus, think of the time and energy you'll save on washing the knives, vegetable peeler, and cutting board.

I personally go through this process not only because I am busy, but because Jordan is lazy, and I know he will not bother to use vegetables if they are not ready to be used.

Last week at the grocery store I bought a 5 pound bag of carrots for $1.99! but of course, whole carrots require a bit more effort than baby carrots, so I took the time after I went shopping to peel and cut them up.

Along with a bag of green peppers, I cut up a few into strips to be used for whatever my heart desired at the moment. They can always be chopped smaller later on if desired.

It also seems we are more likely to go through fruit in our house if it is cut up and mixed together (in this case, apples, bananas, plums and nectarines are all pretty easy to eat anyway, but I do enjoy the variety. It works even better if there is something that required cutting up such as a melon.
Then finally- once I am all done prepping I stick it all in the fridge in tupperware for easy access and quick meal making throughout the week :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I say Tomato, you say Tomahto: Antioxidant Series

Lycopene: Heinz tomato ketchup did a lot of promoting of lycopene, especially in the late 90s, but what is it?

Lycopene, is another phytonutrient! It is the bright red carotenoid pigment. It's usually associated with tomatoes, but it is also found in:
pink grapefruit
pink guava
red bell pepper

Unfortunately for any raw-foodies out there, lycopene is more bioavailable after is is processed or heated. It is even better when consumed with a fat (such as olive oil). The processing is what makes ketchup and tomato sauces a good source of lycopene, whereas raw tomatoes, are not.

As per usual with antioxidants, there is a lot of missing or conflicting research. However, based on empirical data there is an inverse relationship between consumption of lycopene/serum lycopene levels and chronic diseases, including cancer.

Lycopene works it's magic by quenching free radicals on a mission to steal from your cells. In vitro, (like test-tube-lab-studies) lycopene has been shown to decrease DNA damage, decrease oxidative stress, decrease oxidation of LDL, and prevent lipid peroxidation.

In vivo, (in living creatures), lycopene's metabolism is much less understood, and its overall health benefits still remain controversial. More research is needed especially in the area of how lycopene interacts without metabolites and environmental factors.

Nonetheless, as with most antioxidants, the sources of lycopene are healthy overall. (tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit?) If you are getting your lycopene from ketchup, just remember its sodium and sugar content, maybe try a no sodium or natural kind.

So…. how do you say tomato?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My boyfriend's bento

Jordan is the antagonist in my plot to encourage healthy eating. No matter how many little tid bits I give him, or healthy-yet delicious foods I attempt to expose him to, he still insists he must eat the fattening foods he loves because he will not give up "flavor"

I have tried introducing him to new flavors, and incorporating his beloved flavors in a healthier fashion, yet, he still makes dietary decisions to make any dietitian/ health conscience individual cringe.

I have always said the main reason I want children is so I can feed them - which probably isn't the true main reason, but I do enjoy feeding people/ preparing them food, and getting them to eat healthy. So, I am using Jordan as my 'practice child' and I prepare his lunch for work most days.

I love Lunch in a Box blog about a mothers journey of preparing speedy-adorable bentos for her son, so I got inspired and bought a bento box. - as the baker I used to work for used to say "If it looks good on the plate, it tastes good going into the mouth."

So here is one sample of Jordan's Bento box:

* turkey sandwich: whole wheat bread, turkey, lettuce, cucumber, sauteed onion and pepper.
* carrots with hummus
* a cut up plum and nectarine
* reduced fat wheat thins with thinly slices cheddar cheese
* unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
* and a granola bar.

Sure, it's only one meal, but I am making healthy changes to that boy- one meal at a time :) And as per usual-- encouraging frugality, since we're saving money by packing lunched rather than going out and buying them every day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Red red wine… : Antioxidant Series

Alcohol gets very mixed reviews in the health profession. In my opinion, like food, everything is ok in MODERATION.

Red wine in particular has the benefit of being a good source of antioxidants, specifically, resveratrol (RSV). Like AVNs in oats, resveratrol is an phytoalexin, which is important to the grape plant as a form of protection from UV rays, infection, injury, and fungal attack.
RSV is found in grape skin, mulberries and peanuts. Red wine uses the grape skin during fermentation, whereas white wine does not, thus red wine is much higher in RSV and gets more press.

RSV acts as an antioxidant, and helps to activate or inactivate various important proteins in your body. Your body is constantly making new new cells to replace old or damaged ones, RSV plays a role in stabilizing the proteins that help to regulate this activity. This extra stability helps to prevent cancer by stopping mutation, and also has a positive effect on aging.

RSVs also help to prevent cancer in others ways, such as inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX), which increases cell proliferation (we do not want a lot of proliferation), and limits immune surveillance.
In a nut shell: COX is bad, and RSV stops COX. RSV helps prevent cancer, which is good!

RSV is also thought to contribute to the "French Paradox" of the french eating a relatively high saturated fat diet, yet having low rates of cardiovascular disease. Perhaps it is all that red wine they are drinking that is acting as an antioxidant and protecting their cells!? maybe?
…More research is needed!

Note: The Negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption seriously outweigh any of the positives. Alcohol can ruin you physical health, mental health, and social health. If you are going to drink, drink in moderation, (a maximum of 1 drink a day for females, 2 drinks a day for males.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Picadillo is a Hispanic dish. Cubans, Brazilians, and Mexicans (and probably every other South American country) has their own variation on the dish. It is traditionally a dish made with ground beef that is served over rice, or can be made in to empanadas. Since Jordan is Cuban, I've had the great pleasure of trying his mothers Picadillo on several occasions.

Jordan always tells me that his favorite foods are Cuban foods, which have a lot of fat in them. I try to make the argument that he could make some substitutions in the recipes to make the dishes healthier, but he says it will make them lose their flavor.

So... a challenge?

I took this Traditional Cuban Picadillo Recipe I found online, and analyzed the nutrition and modified it. Usually Cuban Picadillo also contains raisins, so I added a cup of raisins to my modified recipe, and to the traditional recipe when analyzing.

My Modified Picadillo Recipe Included:
*4 cloves of Garlic
*~ 2 tb olive oil
* 2 medium onions, finely chopped
* 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 tsp cumin
* 1 tsp oregano
*1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 cup beef broth (can use vegetable/ chicken/ just water)
* 1 Package Shady Brook Farms Lean Ground Turkey (20 oz raw, about 1 LB cooked)
* 2 small cans tomato sauce
* 2 medium potatoes (roughly peeled), diced
* 10 large green olives, cut
*~ 1 cup raisins

1. Saute onions, peppers and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, until softened.
2. Mix meat with spices, then add to pan with vegetables. Add broth, and tomato sauce. Let cook, covered at medium heat for about 15 minutes.
3. Add potatoes. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
** note- I stated 'roughly peeled,' the original recipe said peeled, but frankly I enjoy the peel- and its where all of the fiber is! so basically I just lazily peel a potato so that about 2/3 of the skin is off, so the texture is better but I still can have the fiber and nutrients from some of the peel. You could do as you wish.
4. Add in olives and raisins, simmer until potatoes are fork tender.
5. Serve over (brown) rice or with a whole wheat tortilla!

Note- instead of ground turkey you could use a lean ground beef, ground chicken, or even diced up chicken breast or other lean meat. Megan actually came over for dinner, so I made her a batch that had tofu, and no beef broth- and she seemed to enjoy it as well! So be creative!

According to the website I got the original recipe from, the recipe makes 4-6 servings, which I found to be way off! There were 4 of us eating good size portions, and I'd say I still have at least 1/3 left. So honestly, I would say this makes about 8 servings. But of course, that may have something to do with my adding more vegetables. To be as fair as possible, below I compared the two recipes dividing them into 6 servings each:

The Nutrition Break Down:

The Original Recipe:
  • 400 calories
  • 20 grams fat- 6 grams Sat Fat, 10.5 MUFA,
  • 35 grams carb- 4 grams fiber
  • 23 grams protein
My Modified Recipe
  • 360 calories
  • 12 grams fat- 2.5 Sat fat, 6.5 MUFA
  • 40.5 grams Carb- 5 grams fiber
  • 23 grams protein
So, the nutrition facts do not look that much different, but again, honestly, considering volumetrics, you would not eat as much of the modified version as you would the original version (as in 1/6th of the recipe).
And Saving 8 grams of fat certainly is not too shabby!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Reason to love oats!!: Antioxidant Series

Oats are wonderful for so many reasons: they are a whole grain, low fat, a good source of fiber, full of nutrients, and are a delicious and filling.

Considering the amazingness of oats on a whole, it isn't surprising that they are also a good source of antioxidants! Oats contain an antioxidant called avenanthramides (avns for short).

Avns are part of a group of antioxidants called phytoalexins. They are important to oats as plants because they help make them resistant to diseases. In humans, avns act as antioxidants to help protect our cells from oxidation. Oats and avns are associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (related to prevention of over fed macrophages!) Avns, even isolated from oats, help to reduce cytokines (inflammatory markers) in the body, and help reduce cholesterol.

As with all antioxidants, more research is needed, but overall, oats have everything going for them… but just in case you needed one more reason to eat some- there you have it: avns :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Coffee's Health Benefits: Antioxidant Series

Coffee, is a great love of mine. Its warm, tasty, wakes you up, and is great to dip things in.

Other than all of those benefits, didja know coffee also contains molecules that are antioxidants?? (See my last post for my attempt at explaining antioxidants.)

Coffee contains these wonderful compounds called polyphenols. And in fact- coffee consumption actually provides more than 60% of antioxidants consumed in America.

Epidemiological studies have shown that coffee consumption correlated with less ‘oxidative stress’, aka, less cells with their identity stolen, and less inflammation.

Sometimes coffee gets a bad wrap, in regards to it staining teeth, or its caffeine being bad if you have high blood pressure, but overall it’s hard to really analyze coffee. Many studies looking at specifically at coffee consumption in humans is difficult to translate, because often coffee drinkers also have other negative lifestyle factors such as smoking, or not consuming many fruits and vegetables.

Looking at coffee in animal studies, in vitro (just looking at the cellular interactions), and some human studies have shown positive results for coffee as an antioxidant. Coffee has been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and type II diabetes. It does this through preventing oxidative reactions, or stopping free radical reactions.

Currently there is no absolute proof that coffee is beneficial, however, it is known that the antioxidant polyphenol compound does exist in the beverage. More well controlled human studies are needed.

But in my opinion, if you enjoy your daily cup of java, go ahead and enjoy :) your body just might thank you later.

Photo by Jessica Leibowitz @

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


You know how antioxidants as super foods has been a hot topic now for quite a few years now? Well, do you really even know what an antioxidant is?

An antioxidant is a molecule that can prevents oxidation from occurring in your body. But, that sounds counterintuitive to some, since Oxygen is generally a good thing, why would we want ANTI-oxidants??

Oxidants are also known as “free radicals,” which are molecules with an unpaired electron... which means they are not happy, and they want to steal an electron from one of your happy complete cells! For the sake of it, lets call the electrons the ‘cells identity,’ so stealing an electron is like stealing someones social security card and ruining their credit. Free Radicals are basically like bullies that want to steal your cell’s identity! which would make your cells unhappy :( Also, once the your cell has its identity stolen - it becomes a free radical, and steals an identity from another cell- and the vicious cycle continues.

That is until an antioxidant steps in an saves the day! The antioxidant gives one of its own electrons to the new ‘free radical’ and stops the cycle, so no more cells have their identities stolen.

So why is all of this electron stealing so bad anyway?

Well obviously no one enjoys having their identity stolen, or their credit ruined. Likewise, your cells, and your body as a whole gets pretty angry about this, and it starts an immune reaction and creates inflammation in your body. In general, inflammation in the body is negative, and correlates with a lot of diseases.

For example, in heart disease your macrophages - which are kind of like your pac man cells that go around gobbling things up, are sent out to gobble up your identity-stolen-newly-free-radical cells. If you have a lot of cells that have been oxidized/ identity stolen, the macrophages have a lot to do. They eventually get filled up with confused identity stole cells, so they cannot gobble up any more, and they become a foam cell, and then become plaque in your arteries, which correlates with heart disease.

Thus, If you have antioxidants to STOP the reaction of identity stealing, your Macrophages will not get filled up excessively fast, and this process will not occur. Your cells can keep their own identities and live blissfully happy lives, with their own social security cards.

So, where do you get these antioxidants?? Mostly in your fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy sources of fat!

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which is found in most fruits and many vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.

Vitamin E, another antioxidant, is basically Vitamin C’s compliment (they work as a tag-teaming pair of antioxidants) is found in nuts, peanuts, vegetable oil, spinach, and broccoli.

I am going to posting about a few of my favorite other sources of antioxidants soon- so check back and help protect your cells from identity theft!

Ghreylin would just like to remind you to keep living, and eating, abundantly.

Unfortunately for Ghrey, cork is not a good source of antioxidants.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Welcome Back??

Hello!! It’s been a while. I have been busy with school and work, and also my laptop’s motherboard is died in the beginning of July, which seriously puts a damper on blogging!

Yesterday was my of the fall semester for grad school, and Next Wednesday starts the beginning of my full time clinical internship. From what I have heard-- this semester is going to be BUSY. So, we shall see if this is just a quick hello or not.

The past two days I have had comically bad luck. As aforementioned, yesterday was the first day of school, which consisted of being told all of the assignments we had to do this semester, and how stressful and difficult it would be. We were even given the number to the counseling center (So basically, this program is going to drive us into therapy??)

Some of the girls were going to Acapulco's after class, so I decided to stop by there to be social. Once I got there, my car was smoking. Apparently I have a severe transmission fluid leak.... Thankfully my father was nice enough to come help me out. And I still got to eat a lot of chips and salsa, and do some mingling. In the end I had to have my car towed, and didn’t get home until after 10 pm, exhausted.

Today, I was going to bike to Harvard Sq to get some work done, but alas, my back tire was flat. I decided to walk to Davis Square instead... Some how I managed to fall on my face, then roll over into someones driveway. I am not going to lie- I think it was a pretty impressive fall, and I regret more people were not there to witness it because I am sure it would have invoked a few laughs.

Any way…. hopefully my luck will change and I'll see ya'll soon!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Grad school + work have gotten the better of me!

On twitter @eat_abundantly :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wrong Side of the Bed

Today I woke up in an unnecessarily bitter mood.

Jordan had slept over and had trouble sleeping, and then woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and as the saying goes "misery loves company" so he took me along for a grumpy morning.

Once he was gone, I was faced with a mountain of dishes in the sink, and dishes I had previously washed piled up in the drying rack. Some of these were mine of course, but being in a grumpy mood, I washed them all while bantering madly to myself of how I always get stuck doing everything around the house, when I am the one that has the most to do! Geez I just took the trash and recycling out last night too, and cleaned the bathroom which looks like crap again because Sookie likes to throw litter!

I then took the feminist approach and assumed the boys were leaving all of the house work for me to do because I am the only girl and clearly they must think I am only good for domestic purposes.

After settling down from my pity-party, I comforted myself with a nice breakfast of left over
home-made cottage potatoes (aka homefries :P ) and my last egg, over-easy, with some ketchup and a cup or 3 of Pumpkin Spice coffee. I think its the cold, but I have been craving really "breakfasty" breakfasts lately.

After breakfast I headed out to Framingham to get some school work done and go to class. I brought an apple and nutrigrain bar as some brain food.

Despite my snacking I was definitely in need of some more substantial lunch when I got home. I mixed up some more left over Spaghetti + mixture of frozen veggies + Vegan Chili, and some extra spaghetti sauce, and then added some 50% reduced fat Cabot Cheddar Cheese (currently on sale at Shaws.)

In the mix: Broccoli, Asparagus, Green Peppers, and carrots... I wish I had a few other colors in there, but the chili livened up the mix.

Vegan Chili
(Its always frozen come photo-op time!)

Nomnomnom. It was very good.

I may have snacked on a mini bag of popcorn with chocolate chips and raisins while watching "Charlie Bartlett" and cleaning the apartment (SEE!! AGAIN!)

Tonight I am heading to Gloucester so it I wait that long to eat I'll just go get to steal J.'s food, a rare and exciting treat :)

And just to confirm, I am no longer bitter, and am in a much better mood, and now off to take my Sports Nutrition Quiz!

Tightening the belt buckle

This past week I have been completely freaking out about everything I have to do, and even moreso, about money.

Right now, I am technically doing ok moneywise… I have some savings, and an adequate amount to pay for bills/rent/loans/food etc. etc…. unfortunately- the key word is NOW!

I am doing a lot of forward thinking right now (which is good and bad.)

Next year I will be doing my internship and grad school full time. It is HIGHLY inadvisable to work during... which means, right now I basically need to save up enough money for living expenses and tuition for the next year.

Unfortunately a lot of expenses are nonnegotiable e.i, I do not think my landlord is going to suddenly come down on my rent, and now that I legit have to be commuting a lot more, I have to resign myself that paying for gas is inevitable.

three of the only "expenses" I can really control, are food, going out and shopping. Shopping: I technically do not NEED to go shopping at all... other than for some household items like toilet paper, tooth paste, etc. In regards to going out, I am already relatively frugal, and most of my friends are too (clubs with covers? psht, overrated) so that makes it a little easier... however, based on my mental health, I refuse to become a hermit, so I will be budgeting in some 'going out money'

Finally there is food. I am really good at not spending money EXCEPT when it comes to food (girls gotta eat, you know!) I rarely go out to eat, but I can do some serious damage at the grocery store.

I believe I have mentioned in the past, I have a slight obsession with which is basically a budgeting website.... based on this website I have concluded that I spend about $230 on food (including groceries, restaurants and alcohol) a month (excluding what I pay for with cash,.... which is very rare.)

Since I am constantly talking about the topic of 'Eating Healthy on a Budget' I am going to put myself on a budget and test my own capabilities! I started doing this a bit throughout January-- but for the sake of officially keeping track I am going to start February 1st.

Since I usually spend $230 a month,

(Here's the summary of the last year...)

I am going to attempt to cut that in half and go down to $115. We shall see how this goes....

(You can imagine there is another $100 there. C'mon! If I had $115 to photograph, I wouldn't be in this situation!)

since I am not completely starting from scratch it is not 100% fair. I do have some food on hand. and throughout January, thus far, I have spent $200 on food, which I don't think was THAT bad considering the fact that throughout the month of December I seem to have let myself get down to the bare bones. At the end of the month I'll do a sum up of everything I am starting with.

Also, I have the issue that the $115 is supposed to just be for me. Which, generally I do only shop for myself, however, with two- four other people "living" in my house, it doesn't always work out that way.

On the other hand, I also have the benefit/ problem in this experiment that Jordan likes to go out to eat etc rather frequently, in which case, he pays, since if it were up to me, I'd just cook. I am going to inform him of my plans, and perhaps he'll get on board, otherwise I'll just consider anytime we go out and he pays null, considering how much of my food, etc. he eats/uses. (Perhaps we'll consider it his 'rent').

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back in the Swing of things....

The first two weeks were (1 word, 2 syllables) STRESS-FULL!

But I have to keep telling myself: It's NOT unmanageable! I can do this. Life is really all about balance, and I feel like in week three of school, I am finally feeling like I have at least somewhat achieved that.

I did overload my plate a little bit too much (AGAIN.) with full time school, internship and the equivalent of full time work.... but, it is going to be ok.

I started this week off by spending some time organizing my various syllabuses for my classes, and really trying to figure out what is due when, and comparing it to my schedule to find out when I actually have time to do things. It's amazing how much better you can feel just after making an organized list of what you need to get done! It's just so intimidating when its all floating around your head all mumble-jumbled.

One thing I did this week that definitely improved my psyche was getting a two-week pass to Bally's in porter. As I mentioned, I canceled my membership to Planet Fitness since I never went. It just wasn't for me. So far I have only made it there a few times, but every time I went, I made sure to kick my own butt! I love working out, but I am currently so out of shape. I really need to start scheduling in more workouts, even when I am busy. Exercise really does release endorphins :)

Also, there is hope in sight for the spring! Spring is my favorite season. I may technically like summer better, however, since I HATE winter, spring makes me the happiest. I just become in a significantly better mood. I appreciate the nicer weather so much more after holing up inside and under a million layers for months. And just getting some more sunlight in the day is amazing :D

Let the Tuesdays Begin!

This semester I am again teaching Exercise Physiology. This time I was lucky enough to have all of my labs scheduled on one day; Tuesdays.

I am very happy I don't have to commute to BU multiple days a week, however, it does mean I have to be here for a very long day.

My labs are at 8am-10am, 12pm-2 pm and 6:30pm-8:30pm. Factor in that I have to get here AT LEAST half and hour early to set up, and it takes about an hour to commute by walking and T to get here = Long Long day.

And consequently, since I am working on budgeting my food money better= lots of food to pack!
I was also STARVING last night when I packed my lunch, which might have lead me to overpack a bit....

Since I passed out so early last night, without accomplishing much prep for lab today, I was up at 5 and hit the road by 6! Consequently, I of course started off with some coffee,( pumpkin spice flavored), with nonfat lactaid milk and splenda.

For breakfast I had a nutrigrain bar on the train ride here, and then after my first lab tucked into some Cheerios and Fiber One, with nonfat, plain yogurt, and a big banana.

I also brought some fruity snacks of a small green apple, and 2 lil' tangerines (which were sooo seedy!).

I had several cups of tea to satisfy the need for warmth, and prevent me from buying a cup of coffee. I am also developing a very sore throat (NOT AGAIN!!) So I hoped that would help a little.

For lunch I brought some of my Vegan Chili, with added whole wheat spaghetti and extra carrots and tomato sauce. It was nice and hearty and warm for a cool day in the lab (outside was actually really nice out today, for January, but inside. burrr.)

I also brought a pack of Lorna Doones - in case a sweet craving struck, but alas I wound up eating them mindlessly when I was on hold with the insurance company instead >___<
I am now finally home at 8:30 pm.... and am considering soup for my sore throat. My body is just exhausted and I can't wait to snuggle and pass out.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Rain Rain go away...

Miserable. Sleepy. Cold.

Those are the three best words to describe my mood at the current moment.

It is pouring out!

I had my first day at my internship site this morning (Melrose-Wakefield Hospital), it seemed really nice! All of the dietitians were very friendly, and I got to go on rounds and read medical charts-- and I actually understood 90% of everything that was going on! I was very impressed by myself, though I need to review my medical abbreviations. And of course its only day 1, not too intense so I can't go getting cocky yet! But so far, I am very happy with my placement. So the day started off good... other than the rain.

I then had to drive to Framingham for class. Driving down the highway in that downpour was scary :( Then, it took me a good 20 minutes of puttering around to find a parking spot. I eventually gave up and made my own spot >____<

After class I hurried back to my illegally-parked car (Thankfully, no ticket!)

Upon coming home I informed Ghrey how lucky he was to be an indoor bird today!
I then immediately put on my sweats and monkey slipper socks!

Sookie also appeared to be grateful for her indoor status, as she curled up in her hanging shelves.

I had originally intended on going to the gym right after class, but it was so ghastly out, that plan went out the window.

Speaking of window... This is the view from my window!

I also had a nice hot cup of tea, and made a bowl of oatmeal.

My oats were really just an excuse to satisfy a sweet craving. They included:
~1/2 cup dry oats
1 medium banana
1 tb Almond Butter (Which I know I shouldn't! But I haven't had a reaction to almonds yet and its sooo good.)
1 tsp pancake syrup
2 tb raisins
1 tb butterscotch chips
1 tb fruit preserve
lil bit of vanilla extract
and A-LOTTA hot water!

It was soo delicious-- but as usual just looked like a murky mess due to my insistence on having drowning oats.

After warming up a bit with the tea and oats I did get my butt to the gym. Of course, just my luck, half way down my street my umbrella completely fell apart. But after that- things looked up and I had a good work out, including squirrel elliptical-ing for30 minutes, and a nice, painful (in a good way) whole body circuit.

I am very happy I forced myself to the gym. I really need to kick myself back in shape.

A combination of waking up early, all that driving, the rain and some physical exhaustion made me very very sleepy and I hit the hay by 10 :) noo complaints there! (Except maybe from Ghrey who was not too happy about having to go back into his cage so early. )

Friday, January 15, 2010

Planning ahead!

One of my tips for eating healthy on a budget is to plan ahead!

After the past few days of disorganization and lateness I definitely had the motivation to pack myself a lunch for work. Packing my breakfast and lunch ahead of time generally causes me to eat healthier and spend less money, so overall positive!

I work at Mass General from 7:30 am - 6 pm so the food I bring tends to span me from breakfast to afternoon snack.

Today I brought:

A grapefruit, which I pre-peeled, because inevitably whenever I attempt to peel a citrus fruit at my desk it never really ends well.

a salad including: baby spinach, romaine lettuce, whole wheat spaghetti, two whole carrots, some frozen corn and snap peas, pumpkin seeds, and raisins.

and some multigrain cheerios and a banana.

In my locker at work I also keep a stash of Healthy choice soup, some plain oatmeal, sometimes some granola bars, and of course A LOT of tea bags, for those times (aka every day I work) where I am not actually hungry but want to put something in my mouth.

If you are trying to eat healthier, or tighten the wallet, I definitely recommend buying your own groceries and prepping ahead of time. You are more likely to make wiser, healthier choices, and pay a fraction of what you would at a restaurant or work cafeteria!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Day two of school, and stressed out and exhausted!

Not so much because of school, but more so because of all of the driving I have been doing.

After my extended getting lost trip yesterday morning, I still agreed to go with J. to Gloucester, provided I was back home by 11:30 am to get to FSC for my 12:30 class.

Which made yesterdays total driving: Somerville -> Worcester ->Framingham -> Somerville -> Gloucester = about 120 miles, excluding the trip back to Somerville and Framingham this morning.

Of course we were subject to Murphy's Law when first J.'s mothers car battery died, and J. had to spend the morning fixing it, and the 128 was underconstruction and all backed up... getting me back to Somerville a little late and consequently to class late, again.

Today was two hours of metabolism. ::Yawn:: I do sorta enjoy the topics, but it's a very dry topic. Thankfully the professor is nice and relatively interesting, and helps to make the topics more understandable and interesting, but you can only do so much with ATP, Ribosomes, Kinase, and phosphoinositides.

The worst part about being late today was I was SOOO HUNGRY and tired throughout class. We did have breakfast, but being the frequent snacker than I am, by the end of the class at 2:30, I was not a happy camper. I have also developed an even stronger coffee addiction than usual and I missed my morning cup (or 6) of coffee, so staying awake through two hours of Biochemistry was no easy task!

I had originally been intending to check out the FSC gym after class today, but given my hunger and caffiene withdrawl symptoms, I opted to grab a snack instead.

I had a Mocha Odwalla Bar and a Cuppa Joe (which I took pics of on my phone, however, apparently forgot to save them)

The Mocha Odwalla Bar was heavenly! I had been soo hungry and it fulfilled my desire for food and coffee flavor at once. As I usually say, I am not a huge bar person because I am much more into volumetrics and enjoy eating larger quantities of food, but a bar was perfect for this situation.- quick, easy, nutritious and filling. I have enjoyed every flavor Odwalla Bar I have tried thus far, this and the Green Superfood one are probably my favorites. They have a nice soft, moist texture, and are big enough to make me feel like I have gotten my 200+ calories worth.

I was disheartened by the morning and lost the will to work out (which has been happening far to frequently lately.) so I just headed home instead, where I have since been being lazy and relatively unproductive unfortunately.

I need to get back on my game and get this semester started on the right foot!

Class and Cheerios

Yesterday was my first day of class. Those who know me, know I generally am exceptionally punctual (I am getting better on being late sometimes...) but in general, I HAVE to be early. Sooo... being the first day on campus I left Somerville at 7 am, I made it to Framingham fine, HOWEVER, I did not make it to Framingham State College, so successfully. I somehow got turned around on one road and accidentally wound up back on the Mass Pike and couldn't turn around without going to the next exit and turning around.

Of course, being directionally challenged I was also relying heavily on Dot, my handy GPS. I guess at some point during our journey after I got lost, I hit something on Dot and changed the destination location... soo my GPS sent me all the way back to Worcester (16 miles out of the way...)

Here's the map of what I drove: from Somerville, to Worcester, to Framingham, and then of course back to Somerville.

I finally made it to class 10 minutes late >___<

Thankfully I had planned well the night before and packed lots of snackies for the day.
I brought: 2 tangerines, a banana, some multigrain cheerios, and soymilk

The intent had been to eat the cheerios, milk, and banana together, but the opportune time never came around and they were all eaten seperately throughout class/ running around on campus.

The multigrain Cheerios have been my new thing lately-- namely because they have been on sale at Shaw's for $2.22 the past two times I've gone shopping.

I love cold cereal, but a lot of times I have to swear it off because I can't eat it without binge eating, but these guys don't tend to cause me to overeat. They are lightly sweetened, and more multidimensional than plain cheerios as they are made with five different kinds of whole grain O's. Nutrition Facts wise: 1 cup = 110 calories, 1 gram fat, 2 grams protein, 23 grams carbs , 6 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber.

So, they are not nutritional superstar, but pretty good. I am a fan that there are only 110 calories in 1 cup, and only 1 gram of fat. The sugar could be lower, and the fiber could be higher. But overall, tasty and healthy.

As for class, I had my first Medical Nutrition Therapy Lab, which will be the second part of my internship (Still haven't found out my rotation location), and then my first Human Nutritional Science Class-- which is basically Metabolism/ Nutritional Biochemistry.

I have been really nervous about the Metabolism class, since I was not so stellar at Biochem, but day one wasn't so bad, albeit already boring.