Mindful Eating, Conscious Decisions

Over the weekend I realized something. I wanted nutrient dense foods, I craved some good ol' fruit and vegetables. The past few months I have been working hard to liberalize certain foods in my diet such as chocolate, maple syrup, and donuts. I used to feel guilty about eating them and now it's just another food. I wake up and ask myself if I want maple syrup in my oatmeal. At night, I ask myself if I want some chocolate or something else to end the meal. Sure, some days I still struggle with a twinge of guilt, but most days it's just a question. It's no longer an internal struggle.

Maple syrup in my oatmeal and maple water in my mason jar!

Over the weekend I ate a lot of french fries, movie theatre popcorn, ice cream, donuts, and drank quite a bit of wine. That usually happens when I spend the weekend with my twin sister. We also ran a half marathon and crushed it so clearly we wanted all the food! I also tend to eat fewer fruit and vegetables when I am traveling. There is only so much you can do and you know what? One meal or one day or even one week is not going to make or break you.

One part of mindful eating is accepting that sometimes you need to eat what is available. 

When I was in Portland I ended up having an atrocious time finding parking and a restaurant to eat at. I wanted something nutritious, but knew that I didn't have a lot of time to spend looking for a restaurant and likely didn't have time for a sit down restaurant. I likely should have eaten where my meeting was, but I had to pick up donuts before they sold out (priorities, right?). Then after driving around in circles for close to a half hour I finally found somewhere to park and proceeded to walk around looking for a place to eat. So many people were out and about eating that I finally settled on this fast-food-esque burger place which had no line. I wasn't thrilled about the choice because my body wanted something a bit more nutritious, but I knew I needed food. Therefore, I made it as nutritious as I could by getting the chicken sandwich wrapped in lettuce for extra veggies!

There is a Cabot annex store in Portland, Maine!

Where I wanted to eat but didn't have time...look at the cobblestone!!!

One part of mindful eating is being aware when you are eating for reasons other than hunger. 

After my meeting in Portland I was feeling a bit frazzled. By the time I got back to Julie's I was ready to put on my sweat pants and open a bottle of wine. Being the lucky girl that I am Julie shared a delicious bottle of wine that she had shipped from Napa. It actually tasted like graham crackers! So yummy. Greg also shared some ciders that he bought and grilled up a storm while I prepared a salad. I knew I wanted some vegetables so a massaged kale salad it was. But after dinner I chose to wallow a bit more and enjoy another donut (I had one earlier in the day and I did get 24...) Dark chocolate sea salt blew my mind...even if it was gluten free.

Soaking up those rays.

Could live my whole life in this backyard and be content.

One part of mindful eating is listening to your hunger and fullness cues. 

I struggle with this on a day to day basis. Growing up in a clean-plate-club household dulled my hunger and fullness cues. I also value sustainability and hate to waste food. When things go bad in my refrigerator before I can eat them it's a true moral dilemma. Do I eat the bad food or dispose of it?! Anyways, when I am sick or overly emotional it's that much harder for me to listen to my cues. I basically just tell myself to eat because I know that I need to. Marathon training also has thrown me for a completely new loop.

One part of mindful eating is being non-judgmental. 

Food is food. It fuels our body so that we can do the things that we love on a day to day basis. Food helps me to succeed in school. Food gives me the energy to run my training runs so that I can crush PRs. Some days I eat more nutritious foods or more balanced. Other days I indulge on donuts or have fries multiple days in a row. Some days I listen to my hunger to tell me when to eat. Other days I eat according to a schedule or eat when I am not hungry. Every eating moment is an opportunity. And just like with life, some opportunities are better than others. Just learn from it and move on :)

Now that the weather is getting nicer I am excited to incorporate more salads and fresh fruit and vegetables. I think I've managed to eat all of the Dairy too! Overnight oats are on the horizon!

Portsmouth Stay-Cation

I call visiting Portsmouth a stay-cation because I usually just hunker down with the twin and her pup. We don't explore that much anymore. Sometimes I get antsy by this because I love going out to new restaurants and exploring new places, but I love just being in the presence of my sister. And who doesn't love cuddling with a dog?! If you don't enjoy that we won't be friends. I got to Portsmouth Sunday evening and went for a quick 3 mile run after being in the car forever. I am also trying to stay on top of my training while away which is hard. I cooked up some "power" bowls for dinner (aka quinoa, chicken, roasted brussels/carrots/mushrooms, avocado, and siracha). We of course had some wine with dinner. Monday morning I slept in a bit and got ready for a bit day in Portland. I should have ran in the morning but the weather said it felt like -12 out...no thanks. Instead I spent the time preparing and getting ready (no I do not normally need a full morning to get ready). I also managed to get a little bit of homework done.

Around noon time Greg picked me up to head to Portland. What a guy to be willing to travel with me :) We had a blast (in my humble opinion). For a recap of my eats in Portland please see my previous post. It was a seriously delicious day. We watched Neighbors 2 and then Greg and I also watched How to Be Single. So funny.

Tuesday morning Julie and I got up to run 4.7 miles before the snow storm. It was flurrying but not bad out yet. Then I ventured into downtown Portsmouth with the pup to get a cup of coffee and coffee beans to take home. Why is it that I spend $15 on coffee from Portsmouth, but won't do the same and splurge on Speeder and Earls at home? I don't know, but that is going to change.

I got some homework done while Julie worked from home and then come 2pm it was time to start out movie marathon. First up, Safe Haven. Such a good Nicholas Sparks movie. We had some tea while watching and the electricity only flickered off twice. The wine was insane. It knocked down a huge tree across the street. We also watched Amy Schumer's Leather Show on Netflix and laughed for the whole hour. That evening I made pasta carbonara with chicken, kale, peppers, and onions. It turned out delicious. We also enjoyed a glass of rose that I got this past weekend (thank you Dad!). I had googled what to eat with rose because I figured it would be worth while. We ate that while Julie caught up on Greys Anatomy. Then we watched 10 Things I Hate About You and boy do I love that movie. We ended the night with Chicago Med before we both fell asleep. I would call that a good snow day.

Wednesday I woke up to sun and a dog jumping on me. Is there any better way to wake up in the morning? I decided I would do some homework in the morning while Julie was at work and then go outside for a run and to play with the dog. Well after lunch (leftover pasta carbonara) I ventured outside and made it .36 miles. There aren't any neighborhoods that close to Julie and the sidewalks were nowhere to be found. The roads are also very narrow with the snow and once I was sprayed by a plow twice in a matter of 5 minutes I turned around. It wasn't worth the frustration or the potential danger. Instead I shoveled out Julie's neighbor which hurt my arms so much. And then threw some sticks in the yard for Lyla to chase.

I'm sitting here having a dilemma. I am trying to get my runs in...but it's not going well. I'm not one to go to the end of the moon (that's a saying right?) to get these things done. I am getting better about convincing myself to run on mentally tough days. And while I didn't want to do it, I did make it outside and start before turning around. I called Julie's gym and it costs $25 to go for a day...um poor graduate student over here...I'll only go if Julie goes too because then the price gets cut in half. I'm also cooking dinner tonight to pay my keep as Julie put it...and I want to cook something epic.

I ended up combining a few different recipes to make my own version of Jeanne's amazing lasagna which she said comes from a cookbook called Silver Palate. I switched it up by using a bechamel recipe with olive oil and adding ground turkey and more vegetables and different cheese.

While I was cooking the lasagna we heated up garlic bread from Shaw's because there is no such thing better than bread when it comes to me and Julie. I also bought us some Apothic Inferno, which was soooooo good! Definitely one of my favorites. The bourbon flavor is spot on. I served salads on the side of the lasagna and more garlic bread of course. See below for the recipe.

We ate dinner while watching This Is Us and then watched a movie called Impossible. It's about the 2004 tsunami and it was so moving. I definitely teared up at times and Julie, Greg, and I were on the edge of our seats. Well not Greg so much. Lyla was snoring so that brought us back to reality.

Before leaving Thursday morning I went for an early 5 mile run with Julie. It was cold, but the sunrise was beautiful and I loved exploring side streets of downtown Portsmouth with her. Portsmouth is such a pretty town. Headed out around 8:15am to get to Boston for my informal interview and what do you know...another cylinder in my engine broke. Nothing could stop me from getting to Boston though and it's a perfect excuse to spend the night at home before driving back to Burlington in the morning.

Lasagna for the Soul (adapted from The Silver Palate)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut small
  • 2 bell peppers (I used red and orange), cut small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (look for one without sugar!)
  • 1 recipe for bechamel (Angerer, 2013)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • spices as desired

Method

  1. Cut the vegetables while cooking the noodles according to the package directions.
  2. In a large saute pan cook the onion in some oil for about 2 minutes before adding desired spices (garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, etc.). Then add the peppers and eggplant and cook well.
  3. Once vegetables are no longer crisp pour them into a bowl and cook the ground turkey in the same skillet. Cook until no longer pink.
  4. While the turkey is cooking, mix the olive oil and the flour in a pan for the bechamel sauce. Once combined and no longer lumpy, add the milk stirring consistently over medium heat. You will need to continuously stir as the sauce will thicken and clump/burn. Do not let this happen. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in desired spices.
  5. Spoon half of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Top with the turkey and then the vegetables. Cover with 1/2 of the bechamel sauce and about 1/3 of the cheese. Then add the other 1/2 jar of the tomato sauce before topping with the last of the noodles, bechamel and cheese.
  6. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut into pieces according to your hunger level. Great with a side salad and some crispy garlic bread.

 

 

References:

  1. Lukins S, Rosso J. The silver palate cookbook. New York, New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. 2007. Print.
  2. Angerer D. Olive oil bechamel - the blog. http://www.danielangerer.com/. Published May 7, 2013. Accessed March 15, 2017.

A Weekend with Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad finally came to Vermont and it was the coldest weekend in a long time. Saturday there was actually a wind chill advisory because of temperatures reaching -25 degrees. It was rough. I woke up and lounged around, did some homework, and watched TV while semi-napping. Around 12:30pm my parents texted me to meet them outside that we could go get some lunch. I took them to August First, a bakery that I went to a few years back with my sister. It's a cool atmosphere and the food was very good. Mom and I got the same meal of a cup of sweet potato and spicy sausage soup with a half panini. The panini was huge and I got the special of turkey, pesto, and mushrooms. Dad got the whole panini and seemed to enjoy it.

After lunch we ventured to a maple syrup shack, but unfortunately it was too cold for any sugaring to be happening. We did, however, get a taste of some delicious dark amber syrup before ordering a frosted maple donut and one bowl of sugar on snow to share. I also got a quart of dark amber syrup to go and I can't wait for future brinners (I am thinking french toast needs to happen soon).

It was too cold to do anything outside so we went to Pine Street to hit up some breweries. We went to Zero Gravity first where I was so excited that Conehead with Brio coffee was on tap. My parents each got a flight of four to be able to try all of their beers and of course Conehead, Green State Lager, and Little Wolf stole the show.

Next stop: Switchback. My dad cannot get enough. He loves Switchback and I am required to bring him some every time I go home. He thoroughly enjoyed a pint of their original and mom and I split a flight. I was obsessed with their tiny sample glasses and was able to convince my dad to buy me one. He also treated me to a create-your-own six pack.

For dinner we went to Farmhouse. We started out chatting in the lounge next to the fire and I treated my parents to a round of beers because we hadn't had enough already...oops. For dinner my dad had the chicken and biscuits, I had the beef duo (iron!) with creamy grits and roasted brussels. Mom got a burger because they do those so well.

It was an early night and I slept like a baby.

Sunday morning I got up and ventured over to my parents' hotel to run on the treadmill but it didn't work. So then I came back home to shower and met them at a bagel place before heading back to my apartment to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I showed my parents the scrapbook I made, I'm very proud of it.

We then hit the road to Waterbury where we had more drinking and eating plans. It was seriously too cold for anything else. We went to the Boyden Valley tasting room in Waterbury and it was a great experience. Dad loved the wine so much that he bought a case and I lucked out by getting a few bottles. So excited. They have a maple fest coming up in a few weekends and I happen to have that weekend off. Fate.

Lunch involved Prohibition Pig which always reminds me of my friend, Teal, and the first time we experienced the shoestring fries and their homemade sauces. I tried their brisket and was pleasantly surprised, not that I had any doubts. We hit the road and I drove with my mom for the first few hours so we could bond and my dad could evaluate my car. He's so good to me.

I drove the rest of the way to Portsmouth while singing very loudly to some music. I picked up some groceries before getting to Julie's and being greeted by some very happy dogs. I went for a quick run through downtown Portsmouth and really enjoyed the light and the temperature.

I cooked dinner for Greg and Julie that night (well, Greg cooked the chicken). I made power bowls complete with quinoa, chicken (Greg cooks it so well), roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, and mushrooms, avocado and siracha. It was seriously delicious and I went back for seconds of chicken and brussels. It tasted so nutritious and satisfying. Julie served some wine on the side. Never against having a few glasses with the twin. We both appreciate a good vino.

Relaxing and planning a fun adventure in Portland tomorrow. Very excited to try Duckfat and Holy Donut...stay tuned.