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. WIAW … it’s good to be home .

September 7, 2011

Hi friends! How the heck are ya?!

And how has it been ages [read: 5 days] since we last talked? I’m thinking it might have something to do with the fact that I just up and vanished without a trace, and I apologize for that.

But it wasn’t my fault! I was kidnapped!

See, I was innocently going about my daily life as usual, when Mother Nature decided to throw some crazily nice weather our way. Long story short, someone [read: my friend T] decided it would be a good idea to take full advantage of the weather and head out of the city for a day [read: one day].

It sounded like a good idea at the time. Sun. Nature. Fresh air.

Okay, I lie. The main reason I went was for the promise of roasted marshmallows. It’s been ages since I had any, and I was not letting another summer go by without a taste of that ooey, gooey goodness.

Being out in nature was just an added bonus. A very pretty one…

 

In any case, someone also decided that it would be a good idea to turn our day trip into a long weekend trip, so one day became two, two became three, and three ended up as a four day “camping” excursion. I use camping in quotations because we were going through the motions without any of the gear. No tents (we slept in cars). No sleeping bags (thank goodness it was warm). Not much food (mostly  marshmallows and hot dogs).

Not gonna lie, it made me rather uncomfortable and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. Spontaneity has never been my strong suit, especially when I find myself caught in a situation where I don’t know what I’ll be able to eat (due to allergies and ED history).

But I managed! 😀

All I can say is thank goodness I’m crazy smart enough to carry a jar of AB in my purse…

… which sacrificed itself so that I could live. That, along with some fruit, cheese, yogurt, bread, milk, and cereal that we were able to find in tiny convenience stores got me through the weekend.

I kid, I kid. It wasn’t that bad. I ended up having a great time, and I’m proud of myself for being able to roll with the punches and adapt to what was thrown my way. Still, I was more than happy to come home to my bed, my shower, and my food. Absence definitely makes the heart grow finder, which is probably why this morning’s breakfast tasted extra delicious…

I missed my oats! After five mornings without them, I was beginning to experience withdrawals. Shakes. Headaches. Cold sweats. I kid. But I was more than happy to see them again.

I was also more than happy to be able to enjoy some of my favorite morning snacks

 

Fresh summer berries (which I’ll miss like crazy!) – Greek yogurt with honey.

And having access to a blender again meant I was able to whip up my favorite post-workout shake after this morning’s lifting session…

… which gets incredibly thick with the addition of chia seeds.

I have to say, though, that the best part of being able to eat at home again is being able to enjoy actual meals as opposed to constantly snacking on whatever I can throw together in a pinch.

I can’t deny that a few pieces of untoasted bread smothered in nut butter makes for a delicious camp-style lunch, but there’s nothing quite like a good pizza…

… especially when it involves pumpkin and hummus.

And I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss my favorite  afternoon snack

Vanilla ice cream – Cone – Chocolate sprinkles.

… or I guess I should say  afternoon snack(s)

Heaven in a bowl

The thing I love most about camping food is that the most basic things can taste absolutely amazing. It’s like the act of being outside in nature amps up the flavor intensity of everything, making the simplest sandwich taste like it came from a 5-star restaurant.

Still, that effect dims with time, and after too many simple sandwiches, nothing sounds better than a slightly more elaborate warm bowl of comfort for dinner

Eggs scrambled with mushrooms and spinach – Broccoli – Avocado – Quinoa with cranberries.

It was good to get away, but it feels good to be home. Even though this won’t be home for much longer. Eight more days until I move… EEEEEeeeeEEEE!!! Hope you guys enjoyed this week’s party 😀

. – . – . – .

Are you a fan of camping? What’s your favorite food to enjoy while you’re roughin’ it?

What do you miss most when you’re away from home for a while?

Do you ever carry strange snacks around in your purse? Fess up!

. she’s alive! .

September 6, 2011

Hey loves!

Just popping in with a quick post tonight to let you know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m sorry for disappearing without a word, but it was more or less a spur of the moment kind of thing that took me away from the computer for the past 5 days or so. I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, because for now I need some shut eye.

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments, Tweets, and e-mails. I’m doing just fine, and should be back to posting regularly again 😀

See you guys tomorrow for WIAW!

. winner, winner; soup for dinner! .

September 1, 2011

Holy smokes, it’s September. And two weeks until I move. And I’m kind of freaking out about it 😯 I will start packing eventually, but before I do, I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that Hotmail decided to randomly delete all of the messages in my inbox…

… and it doesn’t look like they’re coming back anytime soon. So, if you sent me an e-mail within the last little while and I didn’t respond, chances are it’s because my inbox ate it. I’m doing my best to try and recall what all was in there, but that’s proving easier said then done.

The good news is that today’s the day where I announce the giveaway winner! 😀

Congrats Brittany! E-mail me (runwithspoons@hotmail.com) with your contact info and I’ll be sending out your goodie package ASAP. I honestly wish that everyone could have won, but I had a lot of fun with the giveaway, so there’ll be more chances to win in the future. Just keep an eye out.

For now, though, I have something else to share with you – a recipe for one of my favorite soups.

I know that it’s still technically summer for a few more weeks, but it’s already starting to feel rather Fallish around here, and I’ve really been craving the comfort of a warm bowl of soup as the days become cooler and darker. The combination of warming spices and the seasonal flavors of pumpkin and apple make this soup one of my Fall-time favorites. I hope you enjoy it as well 😀

. – . – . – .

. curried apple pumpkin soup .

Ingredients (serves 1, ~ 2 cups)

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • ½ apple (any variety), thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a white onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • dash of ginger, cloves, nutmeg

Instructions

1. Begin by heating a small skillet over medium heat. Add coconut oil. When it melts and becomes hot, toss in the onions and cook until they begin to brown; ~ 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the apple slices. Cook until they begin to soften; ~3 minutes.

3. Add your spices, stirring well to ensure everything is evenly coated.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and continue cooking for ~ 5 minutes.

5. In the meantime, combine broth and pumpkin in a small saucepan set over medium heat.

6. When the broth begins to bubble, add the apple/onion mixture and bring the whole thing to a boil.

7. Once it begins to boil, cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow it to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. After 20 minutes, remove the saucepan from the stove and allow it to cool slightly. Pour the contents into a blender and blend until smooth. An immersion blender would also work.

9. Empty into a bowl and enjoy!

. – . – . – .

I absolutely adore this soup, especially when it’s paired with eggs and avocados…

… or almond butter and honey…

Sometimes I even like to toss in some extra veggies, beans, and a random grain (rice, quinoa, bulgur) and use it as a base for a thick and hearty stew.

A part of me will miss summer, especially when all of the melons and berries disappear, but I can’t deny that Fall tastes mighty fine too.

Happy September, loves! 😀

. – . – . – .

What’s your favorite way to eat pumpkin? Breads? Muffins? Cookies? Lattes? Straight up from the can? Any recipes that I need to try out?

What was the best part of your summer? Are you sad to see it go?

. WIAW … snacking the night away .

August 31, 2011

What’s up my fellow cereal lovers!  Happy Wednesday to ya! 😀

Before we start celebrating the deliciousness that is WIAW, I need to make one more brief cereal mention because, as of today, I have a new favorite to add to my list, all thanks to a package that I received this morning from the ever so sweet and generous L

 

She surprised me with a baggie of my newest addiction after hearing me lament about the fact that I wasn’t able to find it in any of the stores near me…

Obviously, I had to dig in stat

 

… and… Ohhhhh.mi.gosh. I’m in love. Both with L and Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch granola. The chocolate. The crunch. The kindness. EeeeEEEEeee. I’m smitten…

… and now I’m ready to party

When it comes to extremely serious and life-altering cereal vs. oatmeal debate, most people tend to agree that oatmeal wins at breakfast time…

Eggy bananafied steel cut oats topped with almond butter and pudding.

While cereal wins at snack time…

Blueberry Greek yogurt, Kashi Honey Sunshine, puffed wheat, cocoa ginger snaps.

 

… and sometimes even at lunch time. But today, I was feeling a but more savory when the clock struck noon, so I decided to go with something that I haven’t had in a while…

Tofu stir fry! 😀

All I did was saute some pressed tofu and veggies (bell pepper, celery, mushrooms, broccoli) in toasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce, add in a spoonful of sunflower seed butter (this is key) when it was done, and plopped the whole shebang over a bed of noodles. Speedy. Scrumptious. Satisfying.

After letting that digest for a while, and because I was busy with work this morning and couldn’t get my workout in, I decided it was time to get my sweat on, so I headed to the gym for a full body weight session.

As of last week, I kind of gave up following the NROLFW lifting plan. It’s not that I wasn’t getting results, it’s just that I found myself getting bored and not enjoying my workouts as much. So, I scrapped the plan and came up with my own routines based on whatever I felt like working that particular day.

I made it halfway through, though, which is pretty good considering my issues with commitment. One thing I have no problem committing to, however, is my beloved post-workout snack

 

1 cup frozen mango, ½ cup almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla whey, 1 tsp. chia seeds.

Apparently, I also have no problem scrapping dinner and snacking the afternoon/evening away…

Greek yogurt, Kashi Honey Sunshine, puffed wheat, Cinnamon Puffins, trail mix.

 

Chocolate chip cookie dough balls

Random craving: steamed broccoli, hummus, ketchup 😯

 

Teeccino. Chocolate pudding spiked with cocoa powder and almond butter.

Eggified spelt flakes with cottage cheese and jam.

Yeah. I don’t know either. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and honor those cravings. Speaking of which, I’m feeling a banana&AB craving coming on, so I’ll end the night on that note.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful [insert whenever you’re reading this], and I’ll see you tomorrow with the giveaway winner! 😀

. – . – . – .

Do you always eat set meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or do you sometimes find yourself snacking the day away instead?

Do you ever experience some bizarre cravings? Some of the weirdest ones I get hit with are ketchup, salsa, mustard, and pickles.

. a soft spot for cereal .

August 30, 2011

It’s no secret that I love my oatmeal…

Eggy bananafied steel cut oats with cottage cheese…

 

… and a dollop of almond butter…

Mmm mmm good.

And while we’ve been going steady for several years now, and I can’t see our love affair ending anytime soon, I also can’t deny that I have a huge soft spot in my heart for cereal…

Plain Greek yogurt mixed with coconut milk, banana, Kashi Honey Sunshine.

Me and cereal go way back – childhood sweethearts, if you will. I remember spending countless Saturday mornings watching cartoons with a big bowl of cereal in front of me, looking forward to slurping up that last bit of sugary, and sometimes colorful, milk at the bottom of the bowl.

Back then, our relationship was rather playful. Lucky Charms. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Fruit Loops. Cap’n Crunch. Sweet and fun was the name of the game.

Then things started to get more serious. Raisin Bran. Mini Wheats. Cheerios. Fiber One. We were taking our relationship to a whole new level.

And then we broke up.

Just like that, our romance was over. One day I just up and decided that cereal wasn’t worth my time anymore, and it was at that point that I started cozying up to other things… bigger and better things…

This separation lasted for several years, and while I initially thought I was happy, and tried to convince myself that I didn’t miss my beloved beau, the truth was that my heart ached for him.

His sweet crunch. The way he’d get perfectly soggy in milk. The comfort he would provide me with. I began to realize that he was irreplaceable.

So I went back to him, and slowly our relationship began to mend. But it could never be the same as it was. No. Those days were over. We needed to start out fresh, take a different approach.

So we tried new things…

… got a little more comfortable and adventurous…

 

… and I’d like to think that we’re currently in a pretty good [read: tasty] place…

 

I may never go back to being a cereal-for-breakfast kind of girl, but I’m definitely a must-have-cereal-everyday kind of girl. It’s become my snack of choice as of late, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Weetabix soaked in almond milk, with almond butter and wild blueberries.

. – . – . – .

Breakfast: cereal or oatmeal?… or… neither? 😯

What’s your current favorite cereal? What about when you were a kid?

. a day without veggies .

August 28, 2011

Whereas last Sunday was characterized by one of these:

this Sunday was characterized by a lot of these….

Soothing fennel tea.

No, our weather didn’t suddenly take a turn for the worse, but my stomach certainly did. I’ve been nursing a bloated/wonky stomach since last night, and I think I know who to blame.

Now, I’m not usually one to point fingers or accuse but…

… squash, I’m looking at you!

Call it a hunch, but I have this nagging suspicion that my stomach doesn’t take kindly to eating vegetables in mass quantity, especially when it’s several days in succession. I had a feeling that I should probably lay off the squash while I was making dinner last night, but like the alluring song of a siren, I just couldn’t resist. And I hit the rocks. Hard.

I spent the rest of the night looking like I was 6 months pregnant, and while it wasn’t exactly agonizing, it was certainly uncomfortable and upsetting… especially because I completely lost my appetite and couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating my bedtime snack. Sad face.

(bedtime oat bran ended up spending the night in the fridge instead of in my belly)

It also meant that I decided to pass on my beloved cup of Joe this morning because I was too afraid of upsetting my stomach any further…

… which basically meant that I spent the majority of the day walking around like a four month pregnant zombie and nursing a bad headache (helloooooooo low blood pressure).

My day wasn’t anything exciting in terms of eats either, because the only things that sounded appealing were yogurt messes

Blueberry Greek yogurt, Kashi Honey Sunshine, puffed wheaties, trail mix.

… smoothies

 

1 cup frozen mango chunks, ½ cup almond milk, spoonful of coconut butter.

…  rice cakes

(with almond butter and honey)

… oatmeal

Baked apple oats with yogurt and almond butter.

 

… and english muffins

(with blueberry jam)

In a nutshell, lots of carbs, no vegetables – not even a single kernel of corn. And as for my stomach? It feels fantastic. Good as new.

Now, I love my veggies, but they’re not something that me and my stomach always see eye to eye on. I don’t eat nearly as many as I used to, and I no longer try to fool my hunger by loading up on tonnes of carrot sticks, but it seems like even a “normal” amount of veggies can cause me problems sometimes.

I know the general message in the healthy living community is to make sure to eat your veggies everyday, but sometimes I just can’t… not unless I want to spend some time nursing a well-developed food baby and dealing with other less than pleasant symptoms of an unhappy belly… which I don’t.

So, some days have to be veggie-free… and that’s perfectly okay with me.

. – . – . – .

Can anyone relate to my veggie woes?

What foods do you tend to eat when your stomach isn’t feeling too great?

. to gym, or not to gym? .

August 27, 2011

Remember how I said that when I like something, I really like something?

Well I really like ice cream…

And, apparently, I really like kabocha squash as well. So much so, that I decided felt compelled to go out and pick up another one after finishing mine off with last night’s dinner.

 

In my defense, however, I did need to buy a bit more than just a squash…

… like a couple of cantaloupes and some bananas…

… mushrooms, broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocados…

… kefir, almond milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, rice wraps…

… and possibly the cutest thing ever

EeeeEEEee!

 

It just brings the mini spoon thing to a whole new level… and makes me crave eggs, which sounded like the perfect addition to the snack plate that I wanted for lunch…

Softboiled egg – Baked lentil chips – Yogurt mess with a peach and cereal – Cottage cheese and salsa.
A whole lot of yum. 

Maybe it was the eggs, or the ice cream, or both, but I found myself with tonnes of extra energy this afternoon. Weekends are usually my rest days, but I felt like I would go crazy if I didn’t get a little bit of movement in, so I decided to throw in an unplanned workout. Hey, if I can take unplanned rest days, then why not an unplanned workout? It’s all about going with how we feel, right? Right.

But the thing was that I did not feel like heading to the gym. It was a Saturday afternoon, meaning the gym would have been packed, and I just wasn’t up for dealing with big crowds.

Solution? The home gym, in all of it’s glory…

Welcome to where I work out when I don’t feel like going out. A little dismal, perhaps, but it gets the job done. Some free weights, a stability ball, a mini rebounder, and a couple of mirrors propped up against a wall so that I can watch my form. Oh, and an unpictured treadmill and yoga mat behind me.

Nothing fancy, but extremely functional.

I don’t believe that you need an expensive gym membership to get a good workout in. Sure, it’s nice to have the extra motivation of the gym environment, and the fancier equipment isn’t anything to scoff at, but it’s not a necessity. My gym membership expires in a few weeks and I’m honestly not sure whether or not I’m going to bother renewing it.

Why?

Well, it’s pricey for one, and not exactly convenient for another. They say that finding the motivation to get your butt out the door is the hardest part of belonging to a gym, which is definitely true for me. Now, try finding the motivation to get your butt out the door when its -24 and your car is buried under half a foot of snow. Yeah. It’s gets quite a bit harder. My gym attendance declined last winter, and I’m assuming that it would do the same this coming one. Besides, the building that I’ll be moving into (in 19 days!!!) has an exercise room with some machines and free weights, and I’ll only have to walk down a few flights of stairs to get to it. Yay!

Finally, I’ve really been loving body weight workouts lately, which you only need, well… your own body for. One site that I’ve been frequenting quite a bit is BodyRock, and what I love about that style of workouts is that you can finish one in the time that it would take you to get dressed and drive to the gym, and still feel like you got a really good workout in.

So I don’t know.

To gym or not to gym, that is the question. And the answer will most likely be not to gym.

. – . – . – .

Do you prefer working out at home or in the gym? If you work out at home, what kind of equipment do you keep on hand. And do you use DVD’s, magazines, the Internet, your own routines, etc?

Have you done any BodyRock workouts? Do they whoop your butt like they do mine?