Red-Tailed Hawk

May 18, 2010 at 11:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I got sucked in to the studying vortex (another Spanish midterm) last night, so I missed posting dinner and other going-ons.

I thought the meal I whipped up was pretty ingenious, even if it was a little odd.

You’re staring down half a sweet potato, topped with half a cup of baked beans and an egg.  Nuzzling up to that bad boy, a red leaf lettuce salad with tomatoes, green peppers, feta cheese and EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  Kind of an odd combination, but it really tasted swell.  I believe in adding an egg to anything.  I will add it to pasta, pizza, beans (apparently), waffles, pancakes…etc etc ad infinium.

My dinner was much more peaceful compared to this hot mess I ate breakfast amidst.

That, friends, would be the explosion of papers, review sheets, flashcards and textbooks that helped me get through my midterm today.  If you can find them (like Where’s Waldo), a cup of strong coffee and steel cut oats hide among the academia.

I made the oatmeal old school style — toppings of cinnamon, a little brown sugar and a handful of raisins.  I felt like I was in elementary school again, coming down stairs to see what Mom had made for breakfast.  I miss those days.  I want footie pajama days again. 🙂

On my way in to campus for my test (which, someone should tell my prof 2 midterms are cruel.  Mid means half way, as ONE midpoint.  ONE midterm.  Whatever.  Deaf ears), I was totally caught up worrying about this exam.  I had prepared, but it was the kind of thing where there was so much information I felt like I had it bouncing around in my brain and if I didn’t hurry up and get it on paper, I was going to lose it all.

That’s just how you want to go in feeling for a major test.

My brain was occupied, but my thoughts were broken when a red tailed hawk flew about 3 feet in front of my car.  I could see every detail of that bird — its sleek body, semi-speckled chest, deep red wings and keen eyes.  I haven’t ever seen a hawk that close up.  I have a thing about hawks — I get it from my grandfather.  My grandpa liked to spot red-tailed hawks on car trips.  See one flying in the air and it doesn’t count — anyone can spot a dot in the sky.  Spy one sitting on a telephone pole, almost blending in with landscape and that’s the one that counts because you had to really search.  Whenever I see one (flying or not), I think of him.

Source

In a way, that hawk flying so close in front of me was a good reminder there is more to life than what we worry about all the time.  Life is full of friendships, family, laughter, memories and the adventure of never quite knowing what will come next.  Life is not about tests, grades, tasks, stress, schedules and interruptions.  Life is as unexpected and as beautiful as a red-tailed hawk.

At least to me.

I hope you have an incredible day.  I hope you have a happy moment like I had earlier and I hope you have a fantastic workout like I’ll be having later (I just know it).

Do any animals remind you of family members or friends?  Do they drum up any happy memories for you?

Boo Monday

March 29, 2010 at 11:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I was having such a nice time yesterday, hanging with my hubby and just generally enjoying a weather-induced “chill” day that Monday has been quite a rude awakening.

So let’s rewind and enjoy some of the weekend a little longer :).

Sam and I hit up a showing of the Bounty Hunter.  Eh, I give it a B-.  Interesting enough, we laughed a couple of times, but overall, it was pretty predictable.  I can’t seem to enjoy the standard fare chick flicks any more — what’s happening to me?  Am I becoming an old married woman who just doesn’t buy that junk any more?

Nah, I just think they haven’t come out with any good ones lately ;).

At the movies, to avoid snacking on popcorn and soda pop, I packed a TLC bar.  Pumpkin pie flavor.  Interesting.  The bottom was crunchy like a granola bar, the top was kind of gooey like pumpkin pie.  The flavor was yummy, but the bar overall was kind of small.  It’s okay.  Beggars can’t be choosers when you’re only eating all natural foods for an entire month.

Post movie, there was some popcorn snacking (I managed to get it in after all…but under my terms!)  This bowl was made with our air popper and didn’t contain any lard or artificial flavoring.  Add some water (I was slacking in the H2O category) and it was belly filling.

After nine miles on Saturday, my muscles were pretty tight, especially my hamstrings.  I pulled out my trusty yoga mat and DVD and flowed out the ENTIRE HOUR of yogAHHH.  I haven’t ever made it through the whole DVD!  This is what a rainy Sunday will do to ya ;).  It was just a day conducive to yogAHHH, I guess.

Dinner was a repeat of last week — polenta pizza bake.  So yummy, so messy looking.  I feel like calling it polenta pizza pile up.  It looks all cuisine-y in the pan and then the transfer to my plate just destroys it.

Trust me when I say this pile up at green peppers, onions and spinach plus a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Oh so good.

Post-dinner meant a little all natural chocolate chip ice cream…

…and some old episodes of The Office via Netflix streaming.  That’s when things got ugly.  I fell asleep while watching.  Not just dozing, full out head on Sam’s shoulder, drooling slightly (sorry, Sam) completely out of it.  I woke up just long enough to brush my teeth and go to sleep.  My body was clearly telling me it needed rest.  I never fall asleep watching tv.  My brain is one of those that gets way to stimulated by tv or music or conversation, it doesn’t just shut off like that.  Maybe I was just so relaxed and limber from yogAHHH, it finally caught up to my mind.  Maybe.

After 8 solid hours, I feel much better :).

Can you believe that today is the last full day of “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March? I can’t.  I remember getting through day 2 and thinking “it feels like it’s been a month already!”  It was just taking so much attention to make sure I was following my rules.  Does it have a mama? Did it grow in the ground?  Can I pronounce that word?  Is that a chemical or preservative? GAH!

Breakfast was some yummy Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats.  I made a double batch because I am ALWAYS hungry now with all this training.  It tasted amazing with a spoonful of natural peanut butter and chopped banana plus a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Sooo good.  Sooo filling.  Check out the nutritional stats — those are numbers I like to see!  Hello fiber, hello protein.

Plus, organic half and half in my coffee with light agave.  Claro ;).  I was channeling my inner Hofbrau Haus with my mug.

I love the guy who stands in front of the band and starts directing.  Right, buddy, you’re the first tourist to ever do that! 🙂

Lunch consisted of Bob’s Vegi Soup mix (which I added too much salt, bleck!), frozen broccoli destined for the office nuker, mango, and the other half of the banana from my breakfast.

I’m off to battle the Monday blues and do some marinating on just how “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March has affected me, my lifestyle, my eating and my outlook.  Remember, I have a full month to wrap up tomorrow! 🙂

Chain chain chain….chain of fools

March 23, 2010 at 7:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I woke up this morning feeling incredibly triumphant!  Why, you ask?  Oh, we’ll get to that…

First, lunch yesterday (for accountability’s sake — we’re coming down the home stretch with the “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March challenge, now is not the time to start slacking!):

Salad (romaine lettuce, avocado, cucumber, carrot and tomato with EVOO and balsamic vinegar), apples, strawberries, Aldi brand multi-grain chips (natural — I checked the label!) and…

My tra-dish-ional 4 o’clock yogurt with some organic flax seed pumpkin granola (now that sounds SUPER crunchy-granola, no?).  See the pumpkin seed?

So far, so good.  Everything either has a mama or grew in the ground.  Check check check.

We had dinner plans with a friend and would be eating a little late, so I munched on a cashew cookie LaraBar between work and dinner.

Ew, blurry picture, sorry!  And please ignore the monster toy in the background.

Some men, when given the green light to take a last minute trip to see their college friend and take in a NCAA tourney game bring their wives flowers as a thank you gesture.  My husband knows better.  A bouquet of LaraBars was my thank you gesture.  What can I say?  Sam knows the way to make me happy.  Um, it’s usually food.

We were meeting our friend, Gifford, for dinner and he asked us to pick a restaurant.  Sam deferred to me since I’m the one with the self-imposed odd eating this month and I boldly chose a CHAIN restaurant.  Yup, a chain.  *duh duh DUHHHHHH*  Remember how earlier this month, I basically swore off chain restaurants because I thought it was a doomed mission to eat at one and honor the “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March rules?  I stared that chain restaurant in the face and laughed.  I am 22 days stronger and wiser.  Hah hah haha, chain restaurant.  Bring it.

How did I manage?  Well, I took control.  I’m the consumer, I should be able to make the changes I want.  So what if they charge me a “substitution” fee (bull! do they NOT have all the same food back there in the kitchen?  is it THAT troubling to heap something different on my plate?  did they have to travel a great distance to accommodate my wishes? whatevah!), I’ll pay an extra $2 for a different veggie as long as I can leave with my conscience clear.  I did just that.

I ordered the “Chicken Fresco” which according to the menu is:

A fresh, all-natural grilled chicken breast topped with vine-ripened tomatoes, lemon-butter sauce, and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. With steamed broccoli and white cheddar mashed potatoes.

I made some changes, though.  No lemon-butter sauce, please.  I don’t know if what you consider butter is what I consider butter.  Oh, and while you’re at it, I’d like double the broccoli instead of the white cheddar mashed potatoes — who knows how processed that cheddar is.

It actually came to me the way I ordered it!  SUCCESS!  TRIUMPH!!!

My favorite part was when the server said, “wow, I wish I could eat that healthy all the time.”  Secret’s out, dude, YOU CAN.

Overall, a great night with great company.  Sam met Gifford through work (Gifford is a retired history professor) and we love to spend time together and hear his stories.

This morning, oats were in order.  I whipped up some Trader Joe’s Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats…

Mmm, fiber… 😉

I threw it in an empty PB jar with banana and cacao nibs.  If you’re wondering what cacao nibs are, according to the box, they are roasted cacao bean pieces that have a nutty flavor and crunchy texture.  They don’t really have any astounding nutritional value, but they’re yummy and add a hint of chocolate taste to my oatmeal.

Of course, no morning is complete without a cup of coffee with organic half and half and light agave syrup.

A morning without coffee is like an atmosphere without oxygen — UN-INHABITABLE.

It’s raining here, but the monsters and I are going to brave the drizzle for a quick walk and then I’m off to work!  A 5 miler is on tap for later tonight (maybe the rain will fade by then…?)  Hope you find a little sunshine wherever you are.

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