Adventures in Finding Gas and Soup For Lunch

A week off from work due to the aftermath of Sandy and I am off again tomorrow. The following days will be determined tomorrow depending on whether electricity comes back. Friday I waited on line for an hour and a half to get gas. When there were only about 5 cars in front of me the station ran out of gas and closed! I was so mad. I proceeded to drive around looking for another station. Each one I found had a line longer than the last. Not wanting to wait again only to be turned away  I gave up for the day and went home. I tried again yesterday and after waiting 2 hours I was able to fill my nearly empty tank.

After our adventure getting gas my boyfriend made a delicious minestrone soup! Perfect for a cold fall day.

Diced tomatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, peppers, ditalini, and topped with fresh parsley. The only thing missing was some warm bread to go with it. Soup is always better with fresh bread!


Happy Belated (or should I say early?) Halloween

Here in New Jersey for second year in a row Halloween has been postponed, at least in my area anyway.  Last year’s October snow storm left many without power as heavy snow weighing down trees (that still had leaves attached) toppled over the power lines. Unexpected and hard to believe just a month after hurricane Irene we would have a storm like that.  A year later we know what its like to have a severe weather conditions. To have roads blocked off and schools closed. But hurricane Sandy brought a new level of natural disaster to this area. Homes destroyed. People stranded. The scenes from the Jersey Shore leave me speechless. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I lost power 3 times Sunday night but each time it came back within 20 minutes. Lucky to have food, light, and hot water. My parents have no power but their house is in one piece. A large old tree fell in their backyard but they were lucky- the tree fell away from their house. Some of the neighbors did not have that luck. Roofs caved in as trees invited themselves inside, in one case slicing a house in half.

To those of you affected by this storm I wish you and your loved ones the best of luck with assessing the damage and picking up the pieces. Stay safe and warm.

For a Halloween related Sandy story read this article about a uprooted tree hiding bones and buried caskets being unearthed in Connecticut

Bring it on Sandy

Everything is closed down today due to Hurricane Sandy. So I am spending the day at home glued to the news trying to take advantage of the power while it lasts. Wind and light rain here now but the shore areas are not looking good. I went out yesterday to stock up on some supplies in case the power does go out.

Scored this battery-operated radio from Sears for about $8. All the other stores I went to either didn’t carry them or were already sold out. I got one of 3 that were left!

When I came home I decided to make some granola bars with this awesome granola I bought at Shoprite the other day.

It is honey flavored with chopped nuts. I didn’t really have a recipe in mind so I just kind of winged it adding honey, agave, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. I heated the honey, agave, and peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then mixed in the granola. When it was thoroughly mixed I added a few handfuls of chocolate chips. I then poured the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chilled it in the fridge. I am not going to leave any measurements here because I used way too much peanut butter. I will keep experimenting until I find something that works. But these were still pretty good. They certainly help fill my craving for granola bars and something sweet.

For those of you on the East Coast, I hope you all stay safe, warm, and dry!





Happy National Food Day!

This year marks the second national annual food day. Food day is a “celebration and a movement for healthy affordable, and sustainable food.” It was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  Its goals are to “promote safer, healthier diets, support sustainable and organic farms, reduce hunger, reform factory farms to protect the environment, and support fair working conditions for food and farm workers.”

Many of the leading causes of death in the United States are related to nutrition and are preventable!

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Diabetes

Unfortunately there is not enough healthy food to go around. Many people don’t have access to good quality healthy food. Also in many cases unhealthy food is more affordable. The government heavily subsidizes the corn, wheat, soybean, rice, and cotton industries. These crops are then used in many of the foods that are making us sick. High Fructose Corn Syrup anyone? It is not as profitable or easy for farmers to grow other fruits and vegetables.

We need to push for food reform if we want to start seeing changes in the way our food is grown, the cost of these foods, and the rise of preventable nutrition related diseases and chronic conditions.

Learn more about Food Day here

Also learn about the Farm Bill here

I was hoping to write a longer post on this topic because of my interest and passion for the subject of nutrition.  But two exams this week and work are eating up all my time. 😦  Hopefully I can add more soon!

Veggie Burgers for Dinner

I never really liked veggie burgers until a few months ago when I tried one that my mom had bought from Costco (Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties). She gave them a ringing endorsement. I have been searching for a protein rich alternative to beef patties so I decided to give them a try. These were actually pretty tasty. They don’t stay together too well on the grill but cook nicely on the stove. Since they are from Costco they come in a huge container but they actually freeze pretty well so you don’t have to worry about them going bad. I like to eat them on a whole-wheat bun with mustard, ketchup, and guacamole or avocado slices. Unlike other “veggie” burgers I have had in the past these are not filled with tofu and rice. They are actually made with vegetables. They are great to have on hand for nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.
But last night I was inspired to make my own veggie burgers. I searched the Internet high and low for the perfect veggie or bean burger recipe. Nothing really jumped out at me so I decided I would come up with my own creation.

I used carrots, onions, black beans, breadcrumbs, and an egg white (to help hold the burger together). I had absolutely no idea how these were going to come out and I didn’t want to have enough for multiple patties only to throw it all out. So I started with one small carrot finely chopped, a quarter of a yellow onion finely chopped, about a quarter of 15 oz. can of black beans, mashed with a fork, a couple spoonfuls of breadcrumbs, and one egg white. I also added some garlic powder, black pepper, and chili powder. I mixed everything together with my hands and shaped it into a burger. I cooked it on the stove in a little bit of canola oil for about 8 minutes, 4 minutes on each side. It came out pretty well. I like the taste and the patty did not fall apart in the heat. I do think I used a bit too much breadcrumbs and egg. Next time I will have to make more of the mixture so each burger has less egg in it.

Instead of french fries I cooked some red potatoes in the oven to go along with the burger.

Not pictured is the major amount of mustard and ketchup I added to the burger. Because I think everything tastes better when smothered in mustard and ketchup.

Yay for Fall Weather!

Yay for fall weather! I never thought I would actually say that. As much as I am sad to see summer and the warm weather go I have been looking forward to this crisp cool fall weather we have been having so I can go hiking! Life kept getting in the way or the weather would be too warm. Finally we were all set to go last weekend but I had to go and get sick.  All week was more coughing and being under the weather but finally this weekend I was feeling better. Should I have stayed in and rested so I could get completely better once and for all? Perhaps but instead I spend the beautiful day on this hike.

I actually did a short hike a couple weeks ago but it was like walking along a flat road with a bunch of trees. Kind of pretty but none of the amazing views I saw yesterday. And it was not strenuous like I was looking for.

Yesterday’s hike consisted of about 2 hours of steep uphill climbing followed by an hour of downhill as we looped around to our starting point. Within the first 15 minutes I was heavily panting reminding me how out of shape I am! But after a while I got into a rhythm. Not the longest or most difficult hike I have done but I was tired when we finished and felt like I had gotten a good workout. And the views were absolutely amazing.

Vitamix Love

My parents have a Vitamix and I am completely in love with it! It is every bit as good as everyone says it is. Effortlessly chops, blends, and mixes. Not nearly as messy as a juicer plus it uses all of the fruit/vegetable and doesn’t discard any of the healthy nutrients. Better than a regular blender, you can put the whole fruit/vegetable right in without a lot of chopping. It is also super fast. The only negatives are that it is very loud and very expensive. I also think it takes up quite a bit of space so if you have a small kitchen that could be an issue.

It comes with a great recipe book for drinks, smoothies, meals, and desserts. But my favorite is to keep it simple and make orange juice with a little pineapple kick.


Yoga is for everyone

A little while back I came across this article…

What an inspirational story! I think she has an amazing attitude. I hope that when I am her age I am still active and healthy. It is certainly something to aspire to.

I’ll have to remember her the next time I want to sit on the couch watching tv instead of doing yoga.

My Mission

My Mission

Trying to find the perfect balance between healthy living and not going crazy. I’ll admit this is made easier by the fact that I love to cook and actually enjoy many healthy foods. But I also enjoy brownies, and chocolate chip cookies, and cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. 

I started this journey overwhelmed. In retrospect exercising everyday, going vegan, and ridding my diet of anything containing added sugar was a bit much for someone who eats cereal and MILK everyday for breakfast and for someone who previously wasn’t even exercising one day a week let alone every day. 

I was reading blogs, articles, books and viewing documentaries about the importance of healthy eating and the abundance of chemicals everywhere. I didn’t think marginal or gradual change was enough. I thought I had no right to preach anything I was learning if I wasn’t following my own advice to a T. 

But no one is perfect. I can’t do everything. And I realize that doesn’t make me a bad person, only human. 

So I will continue to read and will try to do what feels natural and right. Attempt to figure out what is good advice in what I read and what is simply a marketing ploy. Introduce small changes in my life that make me happy and healthy inside and out.

A little background

As a kid I was a super picky eater. Even more extreme than most kids. I wasn’t the kid who only ate chicken nuggets every night for dinner because I didn’t even like chicken nuggets. Mostly I ate pasta I guess. With sauce if I had to  but I preferred it with just butter. As I got older the pickiness stuck with me. People would always comment on how I wouldn’t eat. My mom would correct them and assure them I ate a lot! Just a lot of the same few things over and over again. Luckily my eating habits improved at some point. I am still pretty picky but I eat things I would have never eaten in the past.

Freshman and sophomore year of college I lived in a dorm room. No kitchen only a microwave. 90% of the time I was completely disgusted by the cafeteria food. The only food I could tolerate eating in the cafeteria was peanut butter sandwiches, Cheerios, and sometimes pasta. But since Italian night only came around every so often I turned to frozen dinners I could make in my microwave and the more than occasional night of Wendy’s, papa johns, dominos, and the likes.

Junior year I finally had a kitchen. This delighted me to no end. I could finally take two years worth of watching food network instead of studying and make delicious wholesome masterpieces. But the kitchen was tiny, Storage space for all this food was hard to find, and my roommates preferred frozen pizza. So calorie-ridden margaritas and Tombstone became my new best friends.

After graduating college I felt stuck in a rut. Poor eating habits, no exercise, and lack of job prospects were getting me down. I was feeling pessimistic about the future and unmotivated to do anything about it. IT WAS TIME FOR A DRASTIC CHANGE! I wanted to feel good about myself. I started with my diet. With the support of my sports playing obsessed brothers and my gym obsessed parents I started paying more attention to what I was putting in my body, eating more fresh whole foods, and cooking healthy meals for dinner.

I am not on a diet. I don’t have a set of specific rules I follow. I do try to make healthy choices but I don’t let it control my life. When I eat natural real unprocessed foods I simply feel better and have more energy.