Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

Who is excited about Thanksgiving?! I can.not.wait. to cook all day and eat all night. I've been building up excitement for a couple of weeks now. A couple neighbors and I are doing another traditional "orphan" holiday celebration - it's those of us who have far-away families and are staying in town for the holiday. No matter the size of the gathering, I am ready and waiting to prepare lots of tasty food, much of which I always enjoyed with my family during holiday meals.

Here are my contributions on the menu:
*Roast turkey breast - coated in butter with freshly minced garlic (it's 4.5 pounds, and since there are only 3 of us, there's no need for an entire turkey)
*Sweet potato biscuits (one famous Thanksgiving, I ate 15 of these...)
*Steamed asparagus with cheese sauce
*Pumpkin roll (a delicious dessert my college roomie got me hooked on!)
*Pumpkin pie with a cinnamon graham cracker crust

We will also be having garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes as well as sweet potatoes.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Work Day

Today's non-traditional work out wasssss....

Pushing a wheelbarrow! It was the monthly grounds work day at the nature center where I work, and even though I was super busy wrapping up one event and getting ready for another, I hit the trails for an hour pushing wheelbarrows of wood chips from one location to another.

What I like best about the non-traditional (i.e. not in a gym and without typical "exercise equipment") workout is that it's usually so much fun! I like to think of our grounds days at work as "Doozer Days." Anyone remember the Doozers in Fraggle Rock? All they did was push their little carts back and forth and build structures all day long. Then the Fraggles came and ate them of course...

And what is a good meal to follow up a good workout? A hearty sandwich. Mmm. I'm an addict for a Subway foot-long hearty Italian sub roll with turkey, lettuce, tomato and olives. Even though it's tempting to pay the extra couple of bucks for a drink and chips, skip it! Not only will you save money, but you can choose something healthier like a glass of water and an apple.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Take Two:

Cheesy roasted cabbage and potato dish
. This time I made a monterey jack cheese sauce and used green cabbage.

One of my favorite meals:

A chicken Caesar salad! An entire heart of Romaine, a handful of shredded carrots, grape tomatoes, some fresh mozz, grilled garlic chicken and Caesar dressing. Mmmm. Yes, that's a pie dish and yes, I ate it all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Back on Board

This past month of time has been a little ridiculous for me at work. Now that our biggest fundraiser of the year has come and gone, I can get back to having my thoughts be more collected, leading me to be a little more inspired to work for my dinner once I get home. The recent trend has been to come home wiped out and want something to immediately shove in my mouth, since I probably never got around to eating a full lunch at work. I am happy to bid farewell to such days.

On deck: ground turkey, chicken breast cutlets, frozen stir-fry veggies, cabbage, potatoes, lots of cheese, assortment of beans and an over-abundance of eggs.

Meal ideas: chicken and veggie stir-fry; chicken caeser salad; turkey burger, chili or burritos; roasted cabbage and potatoes with cheese; omelettes and more.

As for my recent physical activity, in addition to working with the horses I have begun a 6-week course in Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement classes. The goal of the Feldenkrais Method (named for the developer) is to improve function through becoming aware of your movements. The class is not one for burning calories or even toning. It really is as simple as heightening your awareness. Each class focuses on one area of the body, and over the course of an hour, excercises in simple movements bring awareness to the way the body functions. Each class begins with what my instructor calls a "body scan." Lieing on my back on the floor, I notice the way each part of my body comes in contact with the floor. The class also ends with a body scan, at which time I notice that the way my body comes in contact with the floor has changed due to the simple exercises I spent much of the last hour doing.

After reading that, your next question is probably "If you're not going to lose weight or even tone your body, why bother taking the class?" Here's where the horses come in. A horse can sense the energy of your body. Distracted or chaotic energy often results in difficulty communicating with your horse (which is done even more through the body than with the voice). Having quiet energy will result in a much more successful training session with your horse, who will feel comfortable and safe with you. My chaotic energy resulted in my foot becoming the resting spot for a 2000-pound animal's hoof, whereas my quiet energy resulted in being able to ride bareback with my eyes closed for an extended period of time, completely trusting my horse to keep me safe. In the end, I will say what a big difference the small changes make.

When I couldn't find my regular brand of multi-vitamin at the store, I picked up another brand thinking it wouldn't make a difference. Much to my dismay, after swallowing a vitamin early in the morning with a small glass of water, I was practically double over in stomach pain. Little Miss Smart Pants here neglected to read the lable, which directs the consumer to take with food. Of course. My previous vitamin allowed me the freedom to take it whenever I wanted, regardless of food intake. Since I don't eat breakfast before leaving the house in the morning, my next option is to take it at work...if I remember. What this all boils down to is that I often forget to take my vitamin.

I have, however, been loading up with Vitamin C as coworkers are coming down with colds and other sniffly, stomach aching, nastiness. We all know that Vitamin C can help the immune system function, and that oranges are a prime source. Did you know that other good sources of C include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kiwi, canteloup, broccoli and raw bell peppers? Humans are unable to make Vitamin C inside their bodies, but because it is so important, we must either take supplements or find it in the food we eat.

I've also started taking a Vitamin D supplement. The sun's ultraviolet rays are our best source of Vitamin D, and while I love some time in the sunshine, we are severely lacking it in Pennsylvania this time of year. Perhaps the greatest function of D is to help the body absorb calcium. If you enjoy carbonated drinks, listen up - the phosphorus (in the form of phosphoric acid) used in soft drinks can have a negative effect on your body by depleting it of calcium. The Daily Value developed by the US Food and Drug Administration suggests an intake of 400 iu of Vitamin D for adults each day, even though some doctors are recommended much higher amounts, especially depending on your lifestyle and location.

As animals, we have a tendency to slow down during the winter and add a few extra pounds. Try as we might, we still keep this connection to our wilder ancestors. in today's world, we allow this to happen and then get into a mad rush to uncover our healthier selves come the first sign of spring weather. Winter feels like it's approaching quickly this year, so let's all do ourselves a favor by keeping the system that is our body healthy and working smoothly. The more you do for yourself now, the more your body with thank you when you're not working it to death next spring.