Archive for February, 2012

Last day of February

It’s Wednesday! Today’s post is by Nichol.

I’m really glad this is it. February has been really rough. I wanted to be able to run a full mile by today, but the truth is, I’ve hardly run at all. I’ve walked a lot and done even more stationary biking. But I feel good. I haven’t stopped doing a mile a day and most days I go over a mile.

But March begins tomorrow. I need to get back to my running.

I have accepted that I don’t really enjoy running. For me it seems to be more about the joy of being active. I will try anything, as long as I am making my mile a day. So for March, I am making it my goal to run a complete half mile.

There. I said it and I have to stick with it this month. I’m done beating myself up about not really enjoying running, but I keep thinking that it would be awesome to say I could run a whole 5K without stopping. Maybe that should be a long-term goal…

Anyway, here’s the pic of the week.


I’m a little behind on the planking phenomenon but my sisters and I had to explain what planking is to my mom. This is the end result.


Video: Blood pH and Weight Gain

This is an excellent video on how your diet affects your body, and why diet soda doesn’t keep you (or make you) skinny.


Change Is Creative

I am not a morning person.

I don’t recall ever NOT hitting the snooze button, even as a kid, no matter how much sleep I’d gotten the night before.

I am not quick in the morning. I pack my lunch the night before so I can sleep five minutes longer and so I don’t forget anything … or am less likely to forget anything. Now that I have a breastfeeing infant, my mornings are even less efficient.

So when I fell in love with steel cut oats for breakfast, I had a problem.

Steel cut oats take about half an hour to make. I don’t have a spare half hour in the morning.

For a while, I’d make a big pot of them at the beginning of the week and just reheat portions throughout the week. It worked OK, but reheated, they’re really just not as good.

A creative (and teamwork) solution presented itself: The Big Man has been getting up at 6 each morning to go out and walk/jog a mile.

I put water in a pan on the stove before I go to bed, and measured out oats on the counter (enough for two if he would like oatmeal for breakfast).

He turns on the water (medium heat) before he leaves for his jog. (High heat would come to a boil too quickly.)

When he gets back, he pours in the oats and sets the timer.

Whichever one of us is not with the baby when the timer goes off (usually him) pours the oats and some frozen blueberries into a bowl.

Voila! Fresh steel cut oats every morning for breakfast!

What creative ways have you found to sustain changes?

Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

I mentioned recently that I joined Pinterest. One of the main things I’ve gotten from it is recipes. Tons of them. Some of the recipes will happen some time and some that look really good but realistically aren’t ever going to see the light of day in my kitchen (whether because they’re complicated or sugar/flour-laden).

This one was from a list of many ways you could use Greek yogurt. I’m not a fan of Greek yogurt, but some of the ideas intrigued me, so I clicked through. So glad I did!

The post to the original recipe can be found here, where there is also a recipe for blackberry sauce. Looks good. We didn’t have blackberries on hand and I hate hate hate zesting citrus.

I’d like to try this with other flours and see how the pancakes turn out.

Make sure you make these little buggers pretty small — they’re hard to flip over (even relative to normal pancakes).

Without further ado…

(OK… I think I will never go into food photography… But that’s a salad plate to give you a reference for size.)

Yogurt Pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • butter

Beat eggs in large bowl with whisk.

Add in the rest of the ingredients, whisking to combine. Heat a large skillet or stove-top griddle to medium heat. Add a slick of coconut oil to lightly cover bottom of pan and a smidge of butter, swirling to combine with the oil. Once the butter has finished foaming add the batter. Make sure the batter is spread fairly thin so the pancakes are easier to flip.

Cook until small bubbles begin to form, then flip.

Add a bit more oil and butter as needed. The original calls for butter before every batch. I found those pancakes to be a bit too greasy.

Regardless, these moist little pancakes were delicious!

Change in Small Bites — Michelle Is Back!

Michelle contributed two weeks ago and chimes in here again today. She will be writing on a quasi-regular-but-not-weekly basis, publishing on Fridays.

I went to the gym yesterday and struck up a conversation with a fellow treadmill-er.  I learned that she’s a 40-something mom of four, working full-time from home.  She is working with a personal trainer twice a week and is frustrated.

Her trainer is (in my opinion) one of the stereotypical personal trainers that scare people from ever considering this as an option.  Based on what I’ve seen of this trainer, she’s hardcore.  I mean, eating only chicken and rice, working out like it’s going out of style, at the gym all hours of the day.  She expects her trainees to be the same way.

Well, with four kids, working full-time (and not at a gym!), this kind of lifestyle isn’t something that people can jump into easily.  Trying to make such sweeping changes often results in a feeling of failure and disappointment, leading them back to eating ice cream while sitting on the couch watching the latest episode of “Biggest Loser.”  I know — this was me.

While I appreciate that there are very specific ideals and goals that a person should have around what they put into their body, how they train their body, etc., oftentimes this doesn’t jibe with their current lifestyle.  If you’ve spent the last 20 years making all of your food choices from restaurants, it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to jump into a whole food, limited regiment of food choices.  Change of this magnitude can’t happen overnight, expecting your people to do this isn’t helping anyone, least of all the people that need it.  Scolding them when they are already feeling guilty makes them feel worse.  “Why should I continue if she’s only going to yell at me?”

I’ve tried that “I’ll change everything all at once” mentality.  I failed.  Each and every time.  Why?  Because I’m real, and I make mistakes.  They key for me is that now, I have someone who understands that the mistakes and the missteps are just as important as the successes and achievements.  Those mistakes allow us to learn and to grow.  If we don’t know how to eat right to fuel our bodies, yelling at us isn’t going to give us the tools we need to hit those goals.  It’s going to ensure that we never hit those goals.

Here’s what I’ve learned:  taking small, baby steps will allow you to make healthier choices without adversely affecting your lifestyle.  Take, for example, bread.  I made the conscious decision to stop purchasing white bread and instead, purchase and eat only 100% whole grain bread.  Is it more expensive?  Sure — by about $1.00 a loaf.  Even in my family, where we go through 2-3 loaves of bread in a week (we do a lot of brown bag lunches for school here), it’s costing me an additional $10/month.  That’s worth it, to me.  My kids don’t even like the taste of white bread anymore.

I’ve made very small choices; several of them, over the course of the past couple of years.  And, I’ve found that when I’m only changing one thing at a time, everyone has an easier time of accepting it.  As mom to two picky eaters and wife to a farm boy, I could choose the easy way out and go to McD’s every day.  But I would weigh a bazillion pounds, my kids would be sluggish, and my husband … well, honestly, he’d probably love it.  🙂

My very long point?  If you’re looking to make changes, make them slowly.  Set a goal to workout three times this week … and, do it.  If you don’t — that’s okay.  Set the same goal for next week.  Do what you think is fun — working out doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym.  Take the kids for a walk.  Play a game of basketball.  Do some yoga.  Play Wii Fitness.  If you’re goal is food-related, make small changes.  Switch to whole wheat bread.  Eat more chicken and less red meat.  Vow to make one meal a week vegetarian.

So, what’s your goal for the week?  Mine: stop eating after 8 p.m.  I tend to snack once the kids are down and I’m finally winding down from the day.  This happens more when my husband travels for work, and it’s so easy (and tasty) to munch.  We’ll see if I can stick to it.

Twinkies vs. Carrots: Michael Pollan

A short, simple video that gets to the root (no pun intended) of food problems in this country.


Re-growing Green Onions!

I joined Pinterest. I don’t follow many people or many topics, but gardening is one of them.

I saw a pin last week that you could take green onions that have had the green cut off, plunk them in some water, and they re-grow.

I had some green onions and thought I’d give it a try.  In less than a week, this is what we have:


That long stalk was the length of the one next to it. Crazy, no?

Do you know any other little gardening tips?

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