Writer’s Block

Why is it that whenever you actually have a bit of time to write, you can’t think of anything to write about?  All day long I get these random thoughts and ideas for things I want to get on paper, but then, I stand at my computer, and…blankness. I stare at my nails, contemplating removing the polish.  I think about doing homework.  I think about sleeping. I think about doing dishes. I think about doing anything but staring at a blank computer screen.  So I just start typing and see what comes out.

I haven’t written for TWO weeks!  It’s not because I’ve been lazy, I swears!  I went to Florida for 6 days for work.  While on the trip I got to go to the Magic Kingdom.  It was an interesting experience, and I’m glad did it once, but once is enough!  The older I get and the better I get to know myself, the more I realize that waiting in line for a train to take you to a park where you can wait in line to get in, where you can wait in line to sit in a car and look at electronic creations move and sing and dance is not really my cup of tea.  For the time and money, I would much rather be walking, hiking, biking, or lazing in some natural space with trees or oceans or mountains.  But, again, I’m glad I’ve done it once so I won’t always wonder, “how much better would my life be right now if I had gone to The Magic Kingdom?”  Now I know.

I’ve also started the edX Science of Happiness class.  It’s a very interesting class and very well done. I’ve already learned tons of good stuff :

  1. Happiness is found in freedom from desire (Stoicism, anyone?).
  2. The pursuit of happiness can entail struggle, sacrifice and pain. In fact those experiences are necessary to be happy.  Yin and yang.
  3. The more positive experiences you have, the more open you are – you physically SEE more things.  You see the bigger picture and are more creative.  Happiness biologically changes you.
  4. If you think happy thoughts before a test you do better on the test.
  5. People replace 1% of their cells each day.  Every 3 months we replace 100% of our cells.  It takes about 3 months to form a new habit.  ????
  6. We get used to things that make us happy (hedonistic adaptation). My MacBook will not keep me happy forever.  🙁
  7. Sources of happiness:  exercise, sleep, sense of achievement, social connection & kindness (aka I need more good friends).
  8. Touch is super important to happiness and health.  Our culture deprives us of this.  I need to move to Puerto Rico.
  9. Behaviors that indicate divorce: contempt, criticism, stonewalling, defensiveness.
  10. Behaviors that help relationships:  humor, gratitude, forgiveness, disclosure (accept the emotions of others instead of pushing back).

And that’s just from the 1st two weeks.  I’m already a week behind and not likely to catch up anytime soon.  I’m not going to sweat it, though. I will learn what I will learn.  It’s a fantastic, very interesting class though.  It should be required learning for every human being.  🙂

Yoga is going well too.  I signed up for a 30 day yoga challenge at www.DoYouYoga.com.  It helps me do a little bit of yoga every day (10-15 minutes).  Plus, the instructor, Erin, is super fun and pretty.  Pretty people keep you coming back!  I’ve also been to several classes at Indigo Wellness with several different teachers. It’s very interesting to see all the different teaching styles.  I read somewhere (probably on www.mindbodygreen.com or www.doyouyoga.com) that you should write after every yoga class to help you get more out of it.  I’ve yet to do that – always in a rush to get home, I guess. But I see the value in it.  At each class I learn something, whether it be a new pose, or a style/method I liked or didn’t like.  Writing these impressions would help me remember them.

And on to the final topic I usually cover in my posts – food.  I ate a bunch and drank a bunch in Florida that I should not have eaten or drunken.  I’m trying to get back on track this week.  I tried this new recipe:  Sweet Potato & Leek Omelet.  I have bad, bad luck with omelets, so I made this into a scramble and served it with bacon and kale chips for supper. It was deeeeeelicious.  I’ll definitely make this again.

And that’s my update for now.  Sorry it’s a little incoherent and scattered, but that’s life right now!  Hope you are having a fabulous day!!

Mourning Summer

We had an absolutely beautiful summer here in Iowa this year.  Some would say we didn’t have hot enough weather, but those some are retarded. It was gorgeous most of the time.  While we didn’t take a normal, long summer vacation, we did get to spend tons of time outside biking, running, and relaxing.

But now it’s over.  It’s Fall. I love Fall, but it means winter is coming. It means I’ll lose my tan. It means I’ll become vitamin D deficient. It means that I’ll be coooooold.  It means summer is over.  But, to be philosophical about it, there is no sense in resisting the inevitable. I’m just going to embrace it. I may end up actually going to a tanning bed, but winter will not beat me this year.

ANYWAY, it’s been an eventful week or so cooking-wise here.  I tried lots of new recipes – some good, some bad, and I will tell you all about them forthwith post haste.

Broiled Zucchini:  An excellent friend of mine at work, Lisa,  gave me loads of zucchini and acorn squash. I attempted to use some in this recipe.  I don’t know if I sliced the zucchini too thinly or what, but I burned most of these by over-baking them for like a minute or two.  In my opinion there are easier and more fool-proof ways to eat zucchini!

Fermented Gingered Carrots: Ever since my foray into water kefir, I’ve been getting more interested in fermenting.  I ran across this recipe in my RSS feed, and for some reason it sounded really good to me. I tried it, and it did turn out tasty! It’s mighty salty, but we think it would be good mixed in with other stuff – like in a coleslaw or potato salad.  It was super easy to make, too.

Beet Kvass: Since the carrots turned out so good, I thought I would try another fermented veggie – beets!  This looked absolutely beautiful in the jar. It was the most perfect shade of red I have ever seen.  However, when I took off the coffee filter covering, there was a layer of grey scum over the top.  It didn’t look too dangerous, but to be on the safe side we pitched it and decided to make it again, this time using an airlock cover.  After pitching it, we did some research and found out that the mold is harmless and can be skimmed off.  🙁  Bummer!  At least we will know for next time. I have another  batch brewing (this time with the airlock to be safe).  We’ll see how it turns out.

And here are two recipes that I’ve made before but that are sooooo good, they deserve another mention.

Lemon Basil Cookies: We had our annual “Wellness Week” at work this week, and that means we have a “healthy” potluck. Since most people are confounded by that restriction, they end up bringing fruit. 🙂  I made these cookies and Chunky Monkey muffins to help people see that gluten-free treats can be super tasty.  They were a HUGE hit. I had 5 requests for the recipe, and several more people commented on how good they were.  Tim said they taste like gourmet cookies.  My green basil is flowering (much to the delight of our local bumble bees), so I used purple basil that my mom gave me that was planted later in the season. These turned out sooo good. Tim and I also broke down and bought a real zester.  I cannot believe how much easier it makes zesting.  It makes me wonder how much better my life would be if I caved and spent $30 for an immersion blender…

Meat Sauce: I can’t link to this recipe because it’s not listed for free online. I got it from the 21 Day Sugar Detox.  It’s a combination of ground meat, celtic sea salt, garlic, tomato, and basil.  I made it and put it over butternut squash. It was soooooo tasty, and it made the kitchen smell delicious.  We reheated the leftovers and ate them with two over-easy eggs on top.  Super delicious.

And there you go. I didn’t do much meal planning this week because we still had a bunch of groceries in the house come Sunday.  And thanks to Lisa, I have a tons of safe starches on hand, and thanks to my free spending at the Farmer’s Market last Saturday, we have tons of ground meat on hand.  And with those two things, you can make tons of quick and easy meals.  Which is a very good thing because Tim has been crazy busy at work (working 12 hour days), and I’ve been busy trying to ramp up my yoga practice so that I don’t look like an inexperienced fool when I start yoga teacher training in January!  I’m trying to get in 5 days of yoga (2 classes at Indigo and the rest at home using YouTube videos like this one), 2 days of weights, and 2 days of running.  I’m running out of time though!!  I also signed up for 2 edX classes (Science of Happiness and Behavioral Medicine: The Key to Better Health), both of which I am super interested in, but have yet to find the time to actually DO!

Tim and I discussed this predicament and decided we need to quit our jobs so we have the appropriate amount of time to pursue our hobbies and interests.  If any of my readers are wealthy and want to become patrons, let me know!!!

I hope you have a great Saturday night, and thanks for reading!

 

 

Liver Bomb

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, by using www.paleotrack.com to track my food intake, I’ve realized that it’s really hard to get the RDA of minerals.  In an attempt to rectify this (without having to take 10 different pills each morning), I’m trying to incorporate more liver in our diet.  I ground up a pound of chicken liver in the food processor, and every time I made a ground-meat dish this week, I added in 1-3 tablespoons of liquefied liver.  It looked pretty gross, but you can’t really taste it.  I didn’t use up all the ground liver this way, so I spooned the remainder into ice cube trays and froze it.  This way I can add a cube or two to meat as I cook it.

The vendor at the Farmer’s Market sells the liver in 2 lb batches, so I used the other pound to make Deli Chopped Liver.  First of all, handling liver is pretty disgusting. It’s red, bloody, and looks like huge leeches.  Secondly, it took about 4 days for the liver and onion smell to get out of the house.  Thirdly, the resulting product was just OK.  I only ate an appreciable amount the evening I came home from having a couple of drinks with some friends.  Deli Chopped Liver is the kind of thing that just doesn’t really sound good until you’ve lowered your natural defenses with some alcohol.  Fourthly, I took some up to my parents’ so that my Dad, who likes and will try everything, could try it.  He did not like the looks of it AT ALL.  It is a pretty unappetizing shade of tan, admittedly.  But, trooper that he is, he tried it.  He did not like the taste of it AT ALL either.  He made some weird, “hewwww hoooooo” coughing noise when he ate it.  Consequently, due to the aforementioned reasons, I will never make this recipe ever again. I will just continue to grind up the liver and sneak it into meat dishes. You are forewarned now, if you ever come to my house for hamburgers or meatloaf.

I tried another recipe this week that turned out disappointing: Cauliflower Muffin Bites.  This recipe sounded really good, and I almost always like recipes from www.marksdailyapple.com, but neither Tim nor I were fans of this one.  First of all, it created a ton of dirty dishes – food processor bowl and blade, glass mixing bowl, muffin pan, towel for wringing out the excess water, etc.  And the resulting product did not have a ton of flavor; it was pretty bland.  It wasn’t worth the effort, IMHO.  This morning, however, I broke up 4 of the muffins and sauteed them in some bacon grease with more salt & pepper, and some cinnamon.  We ate it with scrambled eggs doused with hot sauce.  That was pretty tasty.

I tried another new recipe that was a roaring success:  Southwestern Frittata.  I printed this recipe out ages ago but just never got around to trying it.  The recipe seemed so simple and basic – how could it be THAT great?  Well, I finally tried it this week, and Tim and I absolutely LOVED it!!  It is super easy to make, uses ingredients I almost always have on hand, and it makes A LOT.  We got at least 3 meals out of this.  This will definitely go into our regular rotation.

And there’s my recipe update for the week.  We did good eating at home this week, but for some reason we still have a lot of food in the fridge!  I think I might be able to get by without a major grocery store trip until mid next week.  Oh!  At the Farmer’s Market I picked up some really nice-looking beets.  I’m going to try my hand at Beet Kvass.  I’m excited to see how it turns out.  My water kefir is doing amazing (I’ll write another post on that later), so I think my fermenting luck has turned.

Hope you have a great Sunday.  It’s 75 and sunny here in Iowa.  Tim and I have tons of plans for relaxing today (biking and sitting outside by a fire).  I can’t wait. 🙂