Primal Day 1

I started out the day in a depressing fashion, by taking my weights and measures.  Ugh.  My weekend of debauchery (aka eating pizza and pasta and drinking beer) definitely took its toll.  I weighed in this morning at 149.3, which is higher than I have been in at least a year.  I’m hoping it was mostly water weight, and I’ll be back down to 147ish, which is where I’ve been hovering lately.  And for the measures – 36-31-43.  Sigh.  I have my work cut out for me!

Breakfast!  I sauteed cabbage & Swiss chard in coconut oil, fried 2 eggs over-easy, and added some avocado.

Lunch!  I made a delicious salad of organic herbs and greens, with green peppers, avocado, walnuts, sardines, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

For supper I made what was essentially a taco salad.  I cooked up a pound of grass-fed meat, adding home-made taco seasoning and used it to top off a salad of romaine hearts, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocado.  I have to say, it was not my favorite meal.  I think I broke up the hamburger into pieces that were too small – kinda got lost in the shuffle.

So, the day in retrospect – My stomach felt good.  My energy was good all day.  I didn’t get hungry between meals really.  After lunch I got snacky, but that was more psychological than pysiological.  I ate some pumpkin seeds, and they were delicious.  In my limited experience eating primally off and on over the past month or so, adding good fat to a meal really does make it last longer.  I used to always eat oatmeal mixed with raisins and cinnamon for breakfast, and I was always hungry by 8:30AM.  For exercise, Marta and I took two walks around the bank, and I took a walk around the block over lunch.  I am wicked sore from doing planks & squats yesterday.  Ouch.

I think it’s going to be a struggle to plan ahead and to have the right groceries in stock.  Already, after Day 1, I’m a little screwed.  I didn’t take anything out of the freezer yesterday, so I’ll probably need to go to the store for some meat tomorrow.  Also, I wanted to make cabbage pesto slaw.  I got half the ingredients, but the recipe called for 4 cups of basil, which would cost like $12 at HyVee.  So I have cabbage but no pesto.  Have to figure that out.

I’m sure this will get easier eventually.  Hopefully.  As for tracking the progress on the blog daily, I’m going to have to reconsider that – at least reconsider the level of detail.  I’m already bored just writing about 3 meals.  No one is going to want to read that everyday.  So, going forward, I’ll just hit the highlights.

Day 1 down, 20 to go!

Back in Bidness

As is my custom, I have gotten out of the custom of writing in my blog.  Again.  I’m not sure why.  We’ve had quite a bit of “action” lately.  The Beentz was here for a visit, Tim’s mom was here for a visit, I took a watercolor class at the Figge, I agonized over getting a smart phone and finally broke down and got one and then traded it in for the iPhone 4s, my mom bought me an awesome $15 standup desk from Salvation Army, we ran a 5K.  What else?  Hmm…  I found another school program I am interested in – Human Computer Interaction at Iowa State University.  Maybe I’ll do it?  That’s about the past month or two real quick-like.

On to the present, today we are cooking!  This morning I tried a roasted chickpea recipe from Fitness Magazine.  They probably would have turned out deliciously if I hadn’t over cooked them by at least 5 minutes.  The chickpeas that were not reduced to ash were actually pretty tasty.  I’ll have to try that recipe again.

Right now we are cooking up some delicious minestrone and acorn squash.  I made the absolute best chocolate chip cookies on Thursday, and I froze half the dough, so I might bake up some of those up tonight too.  Once the cold, windy weather sets in, I’m all for keeping the oven on all day.

Tim and I played a game of Carcassone, ate some Buffalo Wild Wings, and listened to some great music this afternoon.  Did some laundry, kissed Lucent on the head lots, dyed my hair dark brown.  Overall, it’s been a pretty excellent Sunday.  Here’s to me getting back on track with blogging and with healthy eating & exercise habits (which have been absolutely disgusting lately).

Take care, and don’t forget to the watch the Simpsons Halloween special tonight!!

Healthy Beans & Rice

I ended up working from home today because the internet at work was out.  That meant, amongst other things, that I pretty much ate everything that was edible in the house.  So for lunch, I had to get creative.  Tim had made some delicious brown rice on Sunday.  He mixes a little wild Ojibwa rice (from Greatest Grains) with some brown basmati rice and then cooks the whole bunch in chicken broth.  Wow, I almost wrote, “chicken juice.”  Chicken juice sounds gross, but chicken broth sounds delicious.  Yet they are exact same thing.  Ah, the power of language.

ANYWAY, Tim made some delicious rice of which we still had plenty left over.  I got creative and mixed the rice with about 1/2 a can of Aduki beans (excellent for a weak spleen) in a pot on the stove.  When it was all hot, I put it in a bowl, drizzled it lightly with olive oil, doused it thoroughly with Sriracha, and peppered it heavily with salt.  It was, I must say, absolutely delicious.  Feel free to steal my idea.

Artichoke Walnut Hummus

I just made the most delicious hummus.  In the food processor, I combined an almost full can of rinsed garbanzo beans that had been chilling in the fridge for a couple of days, 1/3 cup tahini, 1 full fresh squeezed lemon + enough water from some canned artichokes to make up 1/4 cup, 1/2 teaspoon of Real Salt, 2 cloves of garlic, 3 or 4 canned artichoke hearts, a swirl of olive oil, a hefty pinch of cayenne pepper and about 6 walnut halves.  I blended the crap out of it for a few minutes.

We have no tortilla chips, so I spread some of the hummus on brown rice cakes.  DEEEELICIOUS.

Super tasty breakfast

Yesterday Tim and I ran (well, I walked/jogged to be precise) the Race for the Cure.  The weather was perfect for running – cool and slightly overcast.  Tim did excellently – ran the whole way.  I, on the other hand, ran the first mile and then walked/jogged the rest of the way.  I also got confused as to where, exactly, the finish line was located.  I assumed it was under the huge balloon arch that designated the starting line. After crossing under the arch, I wandered around for a bit, looking for Tim.  When I couldn’t find him anywhere, I realized that beyond the arch was the huge number 3, designating the third mile mark.  And… people were still running.  I flowed back into line and ran the 1 or 2 minutes to the real finish line, just up and around the corner.  I was super frustrated with myself for not catching on immediately and adding 5 minutes to my time, but it was a still a great experience.  The Race for the Cure is a very happy/sad experience.  It’s amazing to see 9,000 gathered together in a stand against a disease, exercising together and supporting each other.  It’s also super sad to see the long lists of loved ones who have died from cancer pinned to the backs of people’s shirts.

To cap off our 5K, Tim and I decided to take a bike ride.  We mapped out our route, from Rapids City, IL to a certain jog in the road that we biked to last time.  According to Googlemaps, the round trip route was about 22 miles:


We loaded up the bikes on the Civic and headed out.  Again, it was a perfect day for biking – cool, overcast.  As long as we didn’t stop in one place for too long, the bugs were not too annoying.  We started off in Rapids City and biked through Port Byron, past Cordova, and to the jog in the road.  It sure seemed much longer than any other 22 mile ride we had taken, but we chalked it up to being tired from the run.

We finally returned to our car, never so happy to see it before.  Our shoulders, necks, taints – anything that was in constant contact with the bikes was throbbing.  Once we arrived home, we looked at the map more closely and realized that we originally mapped the wrong jog!  We actually biked 13 miles further than we intended:


No wonder we were so exhausted!!  It really was a great ride, though, and a good training experience for RAGBRAI. We learned the importance of bringing snacks (dry-roasted peanuts), lubricating delicate body areas that you DO NOT want chafed, and taking breaks to give your shoulders and arms a rest from the unforgiving road bike tires.

To reward ourselves for all the exercise, we had a delicious supper of fried mushrooms and pork-T at Filling Station.  We continued the healthy eating spree with a super delicious, cooked-by-Tim-with-love breakfast this morning.  He cooked up some spicy chorizo and combined it with scrambled eggs, cheese, avocado, fresh green onions, and Salsa Brava and rolled it all up in a chewy, toasted tortilla.  It very well could have been the tastiest burrito I have ever eaten.

So that was Saturday.  Today is Sunday, and I have a list of like 30 things I would like to get done today.  We’ll see how long the coffee buzz lasts…

Celebration of food

Tim and I are having an all-around lovely weekend, and like all lovely weekends, it was capped from start to end with deeelicious food.

Ben and Leah visited us for the weekend.  It’s been months since we’ve seen them – I last saw them before I became an accountant and now I am already almost not an accountant – more on that later, maybe.

Anyway, they arrived Friday night, and we were all starving.  We’ve been hearing good things about La Rancherita in Rock Island, so we headed off.  It was a cool, brightly lit Mexican restaurant with tasty pico de gallo and delicious tacos.  The crowd was very eclectic – a mix of races and styles and party sizes.  We saw everything from hipsters to gangstas.  For dessert we introduced Ben and Leah to the joys of Checkers apple pies.  We got 4 for $2.12, and they were perfectly delicious.

For breakfast on Saturday, Tim made his ultra-tasty egg, cheese, Canadian bacon, and  English muffin sandwiches.  He fries the egg perfectly, so that the yolk is the perfect state of gelatinous.  After doing a little shopping at Greatest Grains and the mall, we returned back to the house for a snack lunch of $7.00 Tillamook cheddar cheese, braunschweiger, saltines and cans of Great River Pale Ale.  While the boys played video games and Leah busted through advanced Soduko puzzles, I made guaucamole using this excellent Allrecipes.com recipe.  The freeze-squeezed lime juice gives it a tasty, fresh snap.  After contaminating all of my dishrags and utensils with tiny bits of chopped cilantro, I made chocolate chip cookies, using the recipe from the Nestle Tollhouse bag.  The trick is to get the butter at the perfect level of softness.  About 2 bursts of 10 seconds in the microwave gets it to the stage where it creates tall, fluffy, chewy cookies.

For supper Tim made amazing tortilla soup from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.  The soup, paired with the gaucamole, made for an excellent supper and uncomfortably fitting trousers.

While we digested our Mexican feast, Leah and I soundly beat Tim and Ben at euchre and then retired to watch Despicable Me.  About 30 minutes into the movie, Tim and Ben were both sound asleep.

Tim treated us with another delicious meal this morning by making buckwheat pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Ben and Leah are cast iron snobs.  Ben, unheeding my warnings, convinced Tim to cook the pancakes on our fairly unseasoned cast iron griddle (which weighs about 30 pounds).  Ben convinced Tim and that a little butter and oil would cause the pancakes to not stick.  He was wrong – stick they did.  But they were still delicious.  I am right now re-seasoning the griddle and our cast iron pan.  I have already set off the fire detector.  We have several windows wide open, but the whole house is still quite smoky.  It better be worth it.

Besides eating, we spent the rest of the weekend playing video games, drinking excellent beers (Hopalicious!), doing lots of dishes, and just all around enjoying each other company.  Hanging out with family is so awesome.  It really makes me wish that we lived closer to Ben and Leah, and/or my brothers.  Someday…

La Rancherita 2

Tim and I were lamenting the lack of really good Mexican restaurants in the Quad Cities these days.  Los Agaves used to be good, but the quality of their food has nose-dived as of late, likewise with the Aztecas.  It seems as if they all offer the same things – cheap ground beef inside a lackluster pocket of fried corn meal, smothered in cheese and the cheapest tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream that can be bought.

I resorted to using Yelp in my own home town to find something new and better.  I stumbled upon a couple of good review of La Rancherita  2 on Elmore Ave (by Wal-Mart).  Tim and I had actually tried to eat there right after they first opened, but they do not take credit cards, and we never carry cash, so we walked out.  Well, I had $24.00 in cash on me for some reason, so we decided to give it another shot.

The restaurant itself is nothing to write home about – except for the chairs, that is.  The chairs are the hugest, sturdiest, most colorful things you will ever see.  They look as if they belong in a play-room for giant-sized children.  They are pretty awesome, actually.  On the downside, the outer door opens directly into the restaraunt, keeping the innards very chilly.  You’ll be warmed up stat by the delicious chips and salsa, however.  The salsa is fresh pico de gallo, and it is spicy and delicious, as are the chips.  On Saturday they were selling $2.75 Mexican import bottles, so Tim and I chased our lunches with Corona.

Tim got 3 steak tacos in corn shells.  They were delicious, especially once they were coated in the red hot sauce that is brought to your table with the chips and salsa (by pretty Mexican ladies in Santa hats). I got a torta (always searching for a torta in the QC that can rival El Olmito’s in Muscatine).  It was good, but it lacked El Olmito’s  jalapenos and carrots and ultra- crispy chicken tidbits.  Truth be told, I think that El Olmito’s torta is better because it is all around crispier – the chicken is crispier, the torta is crispier.  Which means that El Olmito must slather everything in oil and/or butter.  It’s probably why my cholesterol and blood pressure is up over last year.

All-in-all, Tim and I really liked La Rancherita.  They also serve breakfast, so over Christmas break, we are going to check it out.  I can’t wait to try some of that pico de gallo on eggs and toast.  Deeelicious.

Beauty and reconnection on the weekends

Work has been really busy lately.  I know that millions around the world work 50+ hours every week without a second thought, but I’m not used to it.  Not used to it yet.  I feel as if I wake up, drive to work, work, drive home, eat supper, read for 15 minutes and fall asleep.  That is my week-day life.  So, like everyone, I really look forward to the weekend.  I get to see my husband again.  I get to see what my house looks like in the daylight.  I get to spend time thinking about things that don’t involve numbers.  It’s quite pleasant.

On Saturday Tim and I finally made it back to the gym.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in the blog, but Tim came down with an “acute viral infection” a couple of weeks ago that landed him in the ER for 6 hours (his family practicioner was worried Tim had menningitis).  It took several days before Tim felt well enough to go back to the gym.  I was off my normal schedule due to the NY trip and the long work-days, so I didn’t go all last week.

It felt great to go back to the gym.  I did my leg weights and the Precor.  I could tell I was out-of-practice because I was sooo tired afterwards.  I have reverted back to the fitness level where working out exhausts you instead of giving you energy.  But I know it’ll get better.

After the gym we headed to 11th Street Precinct for some grilled pork T’s, which were delicious as always.  It was a beautiful, weird fall warm day, so we took a walk along the bike path after lunch, admiring the river, the geese, the lily-pads, and the mansions overlooking River Drive.  We crossed River Drive, so that we could get a better look at the houses on the way back.  They are so huge and beautiful.  One even has an English telephone booth (it looks like the Tartis) on the front patio.

The rich and privileged even get better moths on their grounds than do us lowly peons.  Tim and I saw the most beautiful moth.  Its wings had blue ovals on them that looked as if they had sunsets hidden in them.  This is the closest picture I can find on Google.  It was the most beautiful thing I have seen in weeks.  I don’t know how people can truly believe there is no God, when beauty like that exists in the world.

Today Tim and I have been warding off the back-to-work blues.  So we are making the ultimate comfort food – autumn harvest soup and double corn corn bread.  Cutting up vegetables while listening to a Tim-engineered mix of Modeselektor, Radiohead, and Nightmare Revisited is my  idea of a perfect Sunday.

For desert we bought some Banquet fruit pies.  They were only $ 0.60, so even if they are extremely terrible, it won’t be devastating.  The ingredients actually look fairly good – fruit, wheat flour, brown sugar – heck, these might even be good for us!  Tim and I figure these are the perfect pies for us.  We can never eat a whole pie, nor should we.  These should be perfect for one piece each.

While it’s back to work tomorrow, at least we have next Saturday and Sunday to look forward to.  We have no plans yet.  Maybe I’ll finish my Mom painting.  Maybe we’ll start on our novels.  November is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve read that one should write about what one knows.  Since I know very little and lead a quite, unassuming life, I’ve always believed that my life provides little fodder for writing.  However, I’ve been listening to Romancing Miss Bronte on my way to work, and it’s helped me realize that having an active imagination and un-lazy mind is more important than living an adventurous life.  Emily and Charlotte Bronte grew up in a parsonage and traveled very little, yet they wrote two amazing books that shattered the literary world of their time.  If they could write books out of minds that were raised on fecal-laced water and rotten rice pudding, I should be able to write something worth reading on a mind raised on Iowa goodness and autumn harvest soup.  Unfortunately, I lack inspiration.  I enjoy the actual physical act of writing – of scratching a pen across paper, of filling up pages and pages in cool notebooks.  I just need a good idea…  I have 7 days to think of something.

I’m baking a chicken

And it smells delicious.  Timmy Tee is fighting a cold, and I had a weird almost-fainting spell whilst bicycling this afternoon, so we need some comfort food.  I’m using a recipe I got from Real Simple years ago.  You basically cut up 2 lemons and 1/2 a head of garlic, shove it into the chicken’s innards, rub down the whole thing with olive oil, salt and pepper the hell of out it, and then toss it in the oven.  It’s super easy, and the skin turns out crispy and delicious.  I’m surprised no one has tried to sell oiled and baked chicken skin by the bag.

It’s been another excellent weekend in the Longoria household.  Tim and I haven’t seen much of each other, since I was in NYC last weekend and in Lakeville Wed – Thursday, and Tim was doing trips the other nights.  So on Saturday Tim drove me to Iowa City where I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen forever (ate tapas for the first time ever at Devotay), and then we did a little shopping at Coral Ridge.  Tim found 3 pairs of chinos at Banana Republic for $7 to $20!  I didn’t find much, but it was so nice just hanging out with Tim, spending time together, laughing together, drinking strawberry smoothies together.

We made it back to Dport in time to feed the dee oh gee and then headed to Biaggis for our favorite meal combo – messina salad and chicken piccante pizza.  It was delicious.  The crowd in the joint was pretty interesting – it was full of a bunch of elderly folk and teenagers.  Apparently it was some school’s homecoming, so the place was chock-full of high heels, tans, and awkward hair cuts.  I wonder if we were that annoying at that age?

Today after reading the morning news, we headed out for bike ride.  I don’t know if it was the 3 cups of coffee or the cold wind on my hot face, but once we reached Emeis Park, I felt really not good.  I had to lay down for about 10 minutes while I decided if I was going to throw up or pass out or both.  I didn’t do either, fortunately.  I was able to bike home, albeit at a much slower pace.  It was really weird.  I hate it that my body is so temperature sensitive.  It makes me panic in situations where I get too warm.  Pass Out City, man.

Anyway, it was a great weekend – exactly what I needed after a stressful week of work.  Now, only five more days before the weekend comes again…