Archive | June, 2013

Book Review: I Know This Much is True

28 Jun

Yesterday I seriously felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest after I read this book. Finally!!!!

IMG_2655[1]

The reason I picked up this 900 page monster was because of the author, Wally Lamb. I read two amazing books of his called She’s Come Undone and The Hour I First Believed.

She's Come Undone

The Hour I First Believed

You should read them, they’re good.

He’s an amazing author who has the ability to write so realistically it’s like you have stepped inside the narrator’s head. He also does a hefty amount of research regarding the topics in his books which results in simple, realistic details that make his books believable.

I’ll have a real problem with a book that’s not believable. It’s the main thing that makes me put a book down….like “This could never happen; this is stupid”. But this writer crafts every detail so meticulously and methodically that what results are realistic and emotional stories about individuals, and the ordinary (or extraordinary) circumstances that surround their lives.

Anyways- so I Know This Much is True……the book starts off with a startling turn of events in which the narrator and main character’s schizophrenic identical twin saws off his arm in a public library as an act of religious and political radicalism.

You’d think that was the climax, however Lamb then proceeds to take us on an emotional and personal journey with Dominick (the narrator) as he navigates the aftermath of his twin’s actions and deals with his own dramatic and problematic life.

Through flashbacks and climbing inside Dominick’s thoughts, Lamb weaves a tale of personal reflection as Dominick struggles to determine his true identity.

It really sounds like nothing special- like I said- a character going through ordinary (yet some dramatic twists and turns) life. But what makes this special, as mentioned before, is the writing. So realistic and meticulous.

That being said, it is 900 pages. So if you have a lot of time to kill and are on summer vacation like me, you should add it or another one of his books into your summer reading list. I highly suggest She’s Come Undone.

Have you ever read Wally Lamb’s books? What is your favorite? What should I read next???????

Advertisements

Natural Protein Powder

27 Jun

When it comes to protein powder, I’ve been using a brand called designer whey for about a year now….it’s certainly tasty. But recently, after becoming more vigilant about what I put in my body, I decided it wasn’t the best.

 

source

I’ve been trying to avoid dairy because of it’s potential hormone disrupting qualities, and designer whey also has sugar and some other sketchy type ingredients in it.

That’s when I got the bright idea to get hemp protein powder. I thought- this is good for me. Omega 3’s, no sugar, just hemp seeds.

source

Buuuut it is DISGUSTING. I mean really nasty. I have to doctor it up with large amounts of cacao powder and peanut butter to make it tolerable.

I’ve just about decided to retire drinking protein shakes due to these unfortunate circumstances. They aren’t an example of real food.

I’ve toyed around with getting organic, grass fed whey but then I saw the price….

I know I should just give up protein shakes all together but they are so delicious!!!

 

Does anyone have any suggestions for a natural, organic dairy OR non-dairy, non-barf tasting protein powder you use (that won’t cost a fortune)?

WIAW: Hello Summer

26 Jun

I don’t have to go to work for two months!!!!!!!!!! Baaaahahahahaaaaaa

Okay, I’ll stop bragging. I know you’re jealous. I would be too. Should have been a teacher!!

Yesterday’s eats were mostly devised in terms of thinking about how I could use my new stainless steel pans!! So excited I finally got them with some of the gift cards I got for my shower. Awesome!

Peppers

I thought I’d share my eats yesterday via Jenn over at Peas and Crayons in WIAW!

What I Ate Wednesday: Sensible Snacking

My whole eating schedule has kind of changed and is out of whack due to the fact I’m sleeping in later and not going to the gym at 4:30 anymore. And there’s really no restriction on when I can eat so I’ve just been going with the flow (I know, I’ve got it tough).

Yesterday morning I got up and had a handful of almonds before heading over to the gym for a swim. Waaaaayyy more people in the pool than there are at 5:00 am. I might have to get up earlier if I want to continue swimming.

I was wrinkly when I got out and worked up quite an appetite. For ‘breakfast’ I sautéed some peppers, onion and garlic with some cumin and chili powder and ate it with two eggs and a sweet potato with coconut butter. Random but good.

breakfast

There really isn’t a word for the deliciousness of coconut butter with sweet potato.

This kept me full for awhile….it wasn’t until around 3 pm I was ready for a snack.

snack

Granny Smith apple with almond and peanut butter.

Soon enough, after I went to pick my my share for the CSA, It was time to start dinner.

I used some leftover roast chicken to throw together a coconut chicken curry with peppers & onions over cauliflower rice.

curry

Looks gross, tastes good. I love curry.

Later in the night I whipped up my now favorite snack- carrot cake pudding a la PaleOMG.

IMG_2660[1]

I might go out on a limb and say this is my FAVORITE blog to pull recipes from. They always turn out delicious and I’ve used several of hers multiple times.

Rustic Wedding Crafts

25 Jun

I really wish I have had more time for blogging….but the big day is keeping me pretty busy as of late. I am not a neat, creative and crafty person by nature…but then Pinterest came along. Every day I thank the lord that this doesn’t apply to me:

Funny Confession Ecard: I had my wedding before I had Pinterest.

I sound corny and cliché, but I am trying to create the ‘rustic country’ look for my wedding. I know, I know…unoriginal…leave me alone- it’s my wedding not yours. But I hope it will be cute….. Here is some stuff I’ve been working on.

I bought an old chalkboard at an antique place that I am planning on using for this:

source

Here’s what it looked like to begin with-

IMG_2076[1]

It was ten dollars!!!

IMG_2444[1]

We painted it white

IMG_2495[1]

IMG_2658[1]

Another idea is the banner for the sweetheart table:

burlap-wedding-banner

This tutorial was so easy!!! And that’s saying something…I usually mess things up.

IMG_2494[1]

It came out!!  I have yet to string it together so you have to wait to see the finished product.

Another thing was the escort cards, which I’m not finished with yet. Here’s my inspiration:

source

To make the key tags look ‘vintage’, I brushed them with Olde English furniture polish until they get that faded look. Takes a couple of tries until you get the hang of it.

IMG_2659[1]

My mom (who has better handwriting than me) will write the guests’ names in calligraphy. I have fancy tack board things that I am attaching them to and setting up near the entrance of the venue.

These table numbers weren’t really inspired by anything, besides the chalkboard theme!

IMG_2635[1]

They were easy and inexpensive.

Annnnd we’re still working on the centerpieces. More on that later.

Thank you Pinterest!!!! What would I do without you….. I am going to go into a dark depression when I cannot pin wedding stuff anymore. Until August 2nd…I’m pinning away.

What wedding crafts have you found on Pinterest??? Let me know what I can add!!!

Grocery series part II: What to buy organic

20 Jun

In part I of my grocery series I talked about some of the groceries I regularly buy. I’m very conscious if what I put in my body, but I don’t buy everything organic, we’re on a budget! And organic doesn’t necessarily always mean better.

I prioritize when deciding what to buy organic. First are my non-negotiables:

alwaysbuyorganic

Ever since informing myself about industrial farming, I choose not to support the practice and buy meat from the grocery store. As said before, we buy grass fed meat and chicken from a farm whenever we can. Sometimes I buy the whole circle chicken from Tops when it’s on sale.

photo

We picked up this chicken today..it was KILLED TODAY! How’s that for fresh? Yes, we paid for the freshness too. But I just think about what I’m supporting and it’s alright. I don’t buy it that often. Like I said I settle for the natural raised at Tops a lot.

Organic or grass fed meat is pricey but in my eyes worth it. I’m not going to get into the disgustingness of industrial farming. If you’re interested the book Omnivore’s Dilemma is a good place to start. Besides, I save money other ways (more on that next in the series).

I also don’t really buy dairy for myself. I buy organic whole milk when it’s on sale or I have a coupon for Austin. I rarely get yogurt anymore since I follow a mostly Paleo diet. Everyone loves their Chobes…..but it can add up! Eggs are a must. I know $3.50 seems like a lot but I think about it like this: where else can you get four servings of protein for 3.50?

Next for the always organic is lettuce and greens like kale. They are easily contaminated.

Tier two includes fruits and veggies I may not regularly buy but try to get organic when I can

buy organic most of the time

If I feel like it’s too much and/or they don’t have it available organic,I’ll make a decision. Either get the regular or just find a different recipe.

And that’s pretty much it. Anything else,including anything on the ‘clean 15’ list I get conventional. Unless it’s cheaper/the same amount. Whole 9 has a nice little list I like to follow.

As you can see I don’t buy a whole lot organic. There have been a number of conflicting studies regarding organic and whether or not it’s even better for you, so I don’t sweat it. And no I don’t need to spend 7.00 on organic toilet paper to wipe my behind with or organic shampoo or any of that mess. Priorities!! I know for a FACT though the practices that go on in order to produce industrial meat so I’m willing to prioritize the money. Next post I will talk about saving money on organic/local food.

WIAW: First CSA Share

19 Jun

WIAW was so fun last week I decided to participate again! I am one excited foodie today. Yesterday started my local farm’s CSA share and I went to pick up the goodies right after school.

IMG_2615[1]

IMG_2616[1]

IMG_2617[1]

In the mix:

Swiss chard (which I’ve had before and was NASTY…but I’m googling other ways to use it), lettuce and garlic scapes (not sure what these are…I’m assuming the tops of garlic.

IMG_2620[1]

I also came home to an exciting package from my friend who works at a specialty olive oil store:

IMG_2618[1]

Naturally I got right to work to incorporate the CSA share veggies and the olive oil into my dinner!

IMG_2621[1]

Swiss Chard- like I said I’ve had it before when I just sautéed it with garlic and olive oil. It tasted like bitter dirt….ugh. For the salad I made last night I only wanted to use the stalks. So I cut them off and chopped them like celery.

IMG_2622[1]

I’ll save the leaves for later in the week and hopefully they will be edible. Any suggestions?

The salad I made last night was scrumptious:

Baked mustard glazed chicken thighs over lettuce from the share, caramelized onions, the chard stalks, roasted sweet potatoes and avocado. I used the Chipotle olive oil for the sweet potatoes which gave it a nice kick!

IMG_2623[1]

Other notable meals and obsessions this week:

IMG_2602[1]

Ummmm don’t buy this if you don’t have the money to support the addiction. Many scoops with a spoon are regularly taken out throughout the day. OMGGG sooo good.

IMG_2607[1]

Taco Lettuce Cups using butter lettuce

IMG_2605[1]

It’s grillin’ season! Zucchinis! Yum

IMG_2600[1]

Practical Paleo Salmon Cakes- they got the picky fiancé approval too! You should make them.

That’s all for this week!

What are your current food obsessions? Ever had coconut butter?

What was the best thing you ate/made this week?

Suggestions for the swiss chard leaves?

What makes you cave?

15 Jun

I am probably going to be able to count the nice, perfect sunny days on one hand this summer (AUGUST 2nd BEING ONE OF THEM). So later today I will be taking advantage of the sun. This ‘live it up while you can’ attitude got me thinking about things in terms of food (of course).

IMG_1940[1]

I (and probably many of you) have attempted “food challenges” or “diets”- whatever you want to call them, that tell you to eat a specified diet for so many days. When I try to do this I always start the week off great, aaaaand then the weekend comes.

IMG_1098[1]

This happened when I was doing the Whole 30 challenge. I am so good all week and then the weekend comes and something will come up. In my head will be a constant battle between two forces.

“But you feel so great being good all week” ,“It’s really not that hard to just say  no” ,“Wine isn’t going anywhere…it will be around next month too”

VS.

“Why are you even doing this? You’re skinny enough”, “YOLO”, “How often do you get to see ______________, just get what you want”, “There’s no reason you can’t enjoy yourself”

Usually, the second set of voices wins. And I end up regretting it. Usually I get back on track the next day and everything is fine. But I do suffer physical effects of indulging like bloating, sick stomach and more cravings.

IMG_2169[1]

Enjoying myself at Red Lobster ^^

It got me coming to the conclusion that social events and being social is the only thing that makes me ‘cave’. If it’s a Tuesday night and Austin is sitting next to me eating peanut butter fudge ice cream- I could care less. I will be perfectly content with my Carrot Cake Pudding. It’s not even an option to cheat. At all.

IMG_1164[1]

Seriously, go make this^^

But if it’s a Friday night and some friends ask us to a bar, I’d really rather just enjoy myself instead of sitting cooped up on my couch by myself because I can’t drink or whatever. I’ve also had a lot of wedding related functions, and I find myself saying that I need to fully enjoy these moments and not obsess over food.

And I think I just have to come to terms with that, and not feel guilty. This is what works for me- staying super strict during the week in order to enjoy myself on weekends. In my mind it’s worth it. I’d rather enjoy myself then obsess, worry and stress over not eating/drinking this or that.  My question is this- what makes YOU cave- is it stress? Emotions? Just seeing the food? Or is it a social issue like mine?

That being said- I’ll probably be enjoying some cocktails on one of the only nice days we’ve had this summer!

Pencils and Pancakes

learning about life one lesson at a time

The Domestic Man

Gluten-free & Paleo-friendly recipes, inspired by traditional & international cuisines. New recipes every Tuesday.

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Otherwise Simple

Living, Laughing and Staying Healthy...simplified

Laur Runs

...to the finish line, the mall, and the table: Fitness, fashion, food, and fun!

Daily Cup of Kate

Enjoying Life One Sip at a Time

The Cave Woman Cafe

Going forwards by eating backwards

Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind

Culinary Adventures in Paleo Cooking

#PaleoThugLife

Recipes and rants in R-rated language

Strictly Paleo...ish!

It's just real food...

Reading Tea Leaves

Blogging about Tea, Teaching, and Rejuvination

The Cookie ChRUNicles

Running through life while balancing healthy eating and single motherhood

The PhD Experiment

Because at this point, my life is one big dissertation project

Brain, Body, Because

searching for balance.

Read, Run, Repeat

A tale of fitness, books, food, and life in between

The Balance Beam

Thoughts on a Myriad of Topics

Cooking for the Other Half

life, in and out of a new england kitchen