Adventures in Blending: Chocolate-Raspberry Smoothie

Earlier this week, Meredith said that a rough week calls for chocolate, and I couldn’t agree more. Similarly, a rough day calls for a chocolatey, decadent smoothie!

Yesterday was a particularly rough day in my world; with apologies for the impending TMI here — and by way of explanation for why I was AWOL in the blogosphere yesterday — the lady-troubles that have been plaguing me all week became especially acute on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

And then, because that wasn’t enough on its own, my stomach decided to join in the party. “Oh hai,” it said, “let’s join forces to make Lillian think that maybe she acquired the Black Plague!” It basically rolled up like this:

 

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Soooooo…needless to say, I was a hurtin’ cowgirl. I spent the day yesterday at the doctor’s office, and I got a ton of lab work and diagnostics done in hopes that those will lend some insight as to what’s going on.

Random medical fact about me: I have no trouble getting shots (I started getting allergy shots when I was 3, so I’m well acquainted with that whole gig), but I hate — we’re talking absolutely detest, loathe, and outright abhor — getting blood drawn. You see, I have teeny and recalcitrant veins. They roll, they collapse, and they refuuuuuuse to give up the goods when it comes time for blood work. This made yesterday’s lab workup especially fun, and after a few false starts, the lab tech (who, to her credit, was super nice) called for the big guns. Then I was all:

 

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By the time I got home, I knew there was but one thing that could soothe my ruffled feathers: chocolatey smoothie goodness. I promised y’all the recipe for this baby, and it was just what the doctor (proverbially) ordered last night.

For those of you who don’t dig dairy or eggs, this smoothie is vegan; it’s packed with vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fruit, loaded with calcium and Vitamin D, and basically brimming with both nutrients and chocolatey goodness.

I drank this puppy down in a flash, at was comforted both by the delicious chocolate and the knowledge that I was pumping my body full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bring on the nourishing, soul-soothing goodness!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • Approximately 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (use more or less depending on how thick your want your smoothie to be)
  • 2 scoops Vega All-In-One Chocolate Protein Powder
  • Truvia, agave, or stevia to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Put ’em in the blender and mix away!
  2. Drink happily, possibly giving yourself a shameless smoothie mustache in the process. (I do this, um, every single time I drink a smoothie. I’m hawt.)

 

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I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday — here’s to the weekend, y’all!

What do you do to feel better when you have a rough day?

What’s your favorite smoothie flavor combination?

Do you have any big weekend plans?

WAIW: How Is It Almost June?!

Ok, y’all: is it just me, or as time started going absurdly fast lately? I was looking at the calendar today, only to be shocked and appalled by the fact that May is almost over. How did this happen?! To borrow from one of my favorite movies (Spaceballs), time has gone into ludicrous speed.

 

Spaceballs Ludicrous speed

 

I feel like this year is going by faster than I can comprehend — I the months, as it turns out, are feeling more like weeks. How can it possibly be almost June when I keep thinking it’s only March? It appears that my brain is about 3 months behind reality; I’m told that time seems to speed up considerably as you get older, and I’ve definitely found that to be the case. Time moved soooooo sllllooooowwwwwwllllyyyy when I was younger, but now it seems to move at a breakneck pace. If you ask me, the calendar has gone to plaid.

 

Going to Plaid

 

Anyways, we all need fuel to carry us through the crazy days/weeks/months/years that are flying by — which is my attempt at a segue between talking about the passage of time to talking about food in mah belly. It was a stretch, you say? Oh well.

Regardless of my bad linking devices, it’s time for the much-loved mid-week ritual of What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn from Peas & Crayons!

 

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Aside from my usual coffee and toast, I mixed up my morning smoothie routine this week — and it was, in the words of Borat, a great success! This beauty is a vegan, gluten-free chocolate-raspberry smoothie, and it’s decadent. It tastes like it should be dessert rather than a nutrient-dense breakfast food. (Recipe to come tomorrow!)

 

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Lunches + snacks have involved a new fave for me: GF turkey, hummus, and veggie wraps. In the 5 years that I’ve been gluten-free, I’ve found that good GF tortillas are spectacularly hard to come by. They crumble, break, and have the all the pliability of a slab of concrete.

Enter Rudi’s GF tortillas. I already love Rudi’s GF bread above all others, and I’d heard good things about their tortillas, so I decided to give them a try…and oh. Em. Gee. They’re soft and fluffy! They’re pliable! They don’t break! Oh, and they’re freakin’ delicious! Bottom line: these things are awesome.

As a result, I’ve been wrappin’ it up for my lunches lately. These wraps have sun-dried tomato and basil hummus, a slice of cheddar, some deli sliced herbed turkey breast, organic pea shoots, and green onions. As if I needed another reason to look forward to lunch!

 

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Other lunch and snack offerings have involved the second half of my morning smoothie, Eco Planet 7 Whole Grains GF instant hot cereal (when the, ahem, lady-troubles I referenced last week strike hard, oatmeal and hot cereal are among the foods I crave the most), cantaloupe, an apple, and some Greek yogurt.

 

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Dinners have run a wide gamut including Coq au Vin, GF breaded and baked Italian rosemary chicken, chicken saltimbocca, and chicken shwarma and veggie kabobs served with grilled halloumi cheese and brown rice pilaf.

 

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Desserts, because I refuse to deny my sweet tooth, have involved fresh berries with either Greek frozen yogurt or Trader Joes’s pomegranate-blueberry sorbet. Either way, it’s enough to make me repeatedly exclaim how much I love this stuff.

 

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Oh, and how could I forget? Now that it’s cherry season, I’ve been making repeated pilgrimages to Costco to pick up some of this most wondrous fruit, and I’ve been eating it almost every night. Fast fact about cherries: they’re naturally high in melatonin, a hormone that helps people fall asleep. It occurs naturally in peoples’ brains, and cherries just happen to have a walloping dose of them as well. For me, cherries are the perfect bedtime snack.

 

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With all that being said (whew!), I’m off to the gym — I’ve become mildly addicted to watching Scandal while on the elliptical. Exercise fix + riveting TV fix = 45 minutes of win. 🙂 I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

What’s your favorite dessert?

Do you generally have a bedtime snack? If so, what’s your go-to food?

And, most importantly, is anybody else now in “Hooray, it’s almost the weekend” mode?

Currently Survey

Good morning, everyone!

Yesterday I saw a post by Tina over at Carrots n’ Cake called the Currently Survey, and I thought it looked like fun — which, considering that most of us are headed back to work after the long weekend, seemed like something we’d all need.

Feel free to play along in the comments, or to do your own post on this — I love hearing about the little things going on in your lives!

 

Current Book: Ok, so I’ve always wanted to be one of those super-disciplined people who only reads one book at a time. I’ve tried to do it (and when I do, I always feel all accomplished and like I might actually have my ducks in a row), but then I get all excited about 10 different books all at the same time and I just. Can’t. Help. Myself.

At some point last year, I finally reached the conclusion that I needed to stop fighting my exuberant love of reading; I mean, it’s a leisure activity, so I don’t need to approach it in the same way that I approach actual tasks. For me, a good book is not something to be crossed off a “to do” list.

Since then, I’ve almost always had more than one book going at one time. Right now, I’m working my way through three awesome tomes:  I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t): Making The Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough,” by  Brene Brown, The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, and Keeping Hope Alive by Hawa Abdi.

 

Let’s just pretend that the bajillion books on my nightstand are similarly organized and pretty-looking, m’kay?

Current Music: I also have reeeeaaaallly eclectic taste in music – so, my current tunage involves both Florence + The Machine and country music. I’m slightly worried that iTunes might think I’m a schizophrenic.

Current Food: At the moment? Toast and coffee. However, last night when I started writing this, I’d just stuffed my face with kabobs since our dinner consisted of chicken shwarma kabobs with brown rice pilaf and grilled Halloumi cheese. I fell in love with Halloumi when I was in Israel, and I’ve made a convert out of Brandon too. That stuff is the bomb diggity.

 

Image source: paintedpeach.blogspot.com

 

Current Favorite Show:  In my perpetual search for gym entertainment, I just got hooked on Scandal – and wow. I thought it was going to be campy, but holy crap y’all: it’s really effin’ good. Also, I find that I keep pining after Olivia Pope’s collection of gorgeous trench coats. (Is that weird? Yes? Oh well.) I’m also waiting with baited breath for True Blood to return; Brandon and I got hooked on that show three years ago, and we loooooove it.

 

 

Current Wishlist: Bluetooth headphones, the aforementioned Olivia Pope-inspired collection of outerwear, a new mattress that doesn’t make my back hurt, a new desk, and probably a gazillion other things that I’m just not thinking of right now.

Current Indulgence: Massages and pedicures. I tend to carry all my tension in my shoulders, so my monthly massages are a Godsend for my angry muscles. As for pedicures, I feel unkempt and just generally gross if my feet aren’t well tended to. It’s weird, I know, but my feetses need love!

Current Guilty Pleasure: A few weeks ago I read an article in which the author made an awesomely compelling case against guilty pleasures. (Of course, now I can’t find the article – damn you, Interwebz!) Basically, the idea that we should feel guilty about things that are enjoyable – be it chocolate, anything Kardashian-related, or sleeping late – is a load of crap.

So what if our musical/entertainment/literary tastes aren’t high-brow and uber-intellectual? (Case in point: I know Twilight is the thing that everyone loves to hate, but I read the books in less than one week. They were like literary crack to me.) So what if we looooove carbs and feel ambivalent about kale? We should feel guilty about things that hurt people, not about things that make us happy.

So, with that, my current so-called guilty pleasures about which I have no guilt include Us Weekly, three kinds of fro yo in the freezer, and Britney on my iPod. And, for added measure, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not mildly preoccupied with Prince William and Kate Middleton. I totally had a teenage crush on Wills, and the fact that a handful of friends found parallels between our engagement story and theirs was seriously amusing. Add that to the fact that our wedding was exactly three months after theirs, and I found myself relating to them from afar. I was wigged out like woah about having everyone stare at me while walking down the aisle at our wedding, and I kept reminding myself that if Kate Middleton could make it down the aisle of Westminster Abbey without freaking out, then I could make it down the aisle of our favorite church. There are worse things to be fascinated by than the next generation of British royalty, right?

 

 

Current Outfit: Pajamas. Boom.

Current Excitement: Hmmmm. Among the small things? Our dinner menu for the week (the aforementioned kabobs, chicken marsala, breaded Italian chicken, and Thai beef stir fry with GF peanut sauce), and the fact that it’s a 4-day workweek. The big things? Our summer vacay plans, which include a trip to my beloved Colorado. I haven’t been home in about 18 months, and I can’t freaking wait to set foot in the Motherland.

 

Image source: fivetdsisters.blogspot.com

 

Anyways, with all that being said, I’d love to hear about your current goings-on — and in the meantime, I hope everyone has an awesome day!

What’s your…

Current book?

Current fave TV show?

Current food?

Current wish list?

Current indulgence?

On Memorial Day

When I was living in Israel, I was struck by the difference between American Memorial Day and Israeli Memorial Day.

Here at home, it’s largely about BBQs and pool openings — and for me, until the last 10 years or so, it was about an extra day off from school or work. I didn’t really think about the meaning behind Memorial Day, because I was too busy splashing around or eating burgers.

In Israel, however, Memorial Day is steeped in meaning and grief. The day is spent in collective mourning: mourning for those lost in combat and for those killed in terrorist attacks. In a country where military service is compulsory and where terrorist attacks have happened with sickening frequency, everybody knows — and has cared deeply for — someone who died either in combat or in an attack.

All day long, TV programming is dedicated to telling the stories of people who had died. Parents talk about their lost children, siblings tell stories of life before their brothers or sisters died, and throughout the country, the deep sadness, loss, and grief are palpable.

I spent some time watching TV interviews with friends, and I felt gutted by what I saw. I didn’t know any of these people, and I didn’t have any personal connections to anyone who’d been killed in combat or in an attack. And yet, it was impossible not to cry.

The story that left me reeling involved a father who used to love gardening with his beloved daughter. I can’t recall whether she was killed in combat or in a terrorist attack, but I know she was in her late teens or early twenties when she died. Her father buried her on a plot of land near his house and cultivated a huge garden around her grave. He tends to it every day. “This is how we spend time together now,” he said while choking back sobs. “We used to talk while spending time in the garden every day while she was alive. I still talk to her in the garden. I do this every day.”

Peoples’ losses — and the tremendous sense of collective pain — were staggering.

The whole experience made me re-think Memorial Day. For those of us who don’t have many connections to the military, it’s easy to lose sight of what today is all about.

For me, at least, I grew up without much of any military connections. I come from a family of die-hard peacemakers, and we’re a crew full of lawyers, academics, and bookish types. By no means is my family anti-military — my maternal grandfather enlisted with the British Army before the U.S. joined World War II because he felt so strongly about taking a stand against the Third Reich — but just by virtue of my family’s career paths, I grew up without much connection to the military.

I think that, for the majority of people in the States, that’s just how life is. The military community is a world apart from civilian life, and it’s easy to compartmentalize the two.

In Israel, by contrast, that’s physically impossible. With a total population of just under 8 million (as compared to the over 313 million in the U.S.) and a mandate of compulsory military service for all 18-year-olds (versus the volunteer service model in the U.S.), nearly everyone is either active duty, in the reserves, or a veteran. There is no separation between military culture and civilian culture, because they’re inextricably linked.

Israeli Memorial Day made me completely re-think how I go about commemorating the same holiday when Stateside.   While I’m never one to turn down a day off or a good BBQ — and although I’m embedded in American civilian culture — I promised myself that I’d make a point of changing my perspective on American Memorial Day.

As it turns out, that became incredibly easy to do once I came home. Through the course of my studies and my career, I’ve become close friends with people who are either on active duty or are veterans. One of my favorite people — who happened to be my roommate while I was living in Jerusalem — is a Medivac helicopter pilot in the Army. Two of the most awesome guys I met during grad school are an Army Colonel and a former Marine. I reconnected with a friend from junior high who’s now married to an Apache pilot.

Although I remain very much a civilian (I mean, really, can anyone imagine me in the military? Me neither.), my life is now entwined with — and immeasurably enriched by — the service and sacrifices of these friends. Knowing that they’ve lost friends of their own, whether in combat or afterwards as a result of PTSD, brings an entirely new level of meaning to Memorial Day.

While it’s admittedly strange that living in a foreign country would completely alter the way I approach Memorial Day, my year in Israel did just that. (Seriously, that year changed me in ways I never anticipated. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.)

So, to those who serve, to those who hold down the fort at home while your spouses are deployed, and especially to those who’ve lost loved ones in the line of duty: thank you.

Article Round-Up: May 19-25

Y’all. I slept in until 9:45. Considering that I’m usually up and at ’em around 7 on weekends, this is unheard of!

It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do. Now that I’m comfortably settled into my 30s (and thus no longer trying to be cool by going out and partying on the weekends), I find that I get really excited about the idea of going to sleep. There have been many, many times when I find myself thinking — usually sometime around 7 p.m. — “Man, I can’t wait to go to bed. Sleeping is going to be awesome.”

Sho ’nuff, it is. Sleeping FTW.

Anyways, all that is meant to explain why I’m late in posting this — but hey, better late than never, right?

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend, and that some R&R is in everybody’s future. Happy reading!

 

Health & Fitness:

NYT: For a Better Smoothie, Just Add Chia Seed

Time: Mediterranean Diet Better Than Low-Fat Diet in Keeping Aging Brains Sharp

NPR: Fifteen Years After Vaccine Scare, a Measles Epidemic

Guardian: Walking Works – So Why Are We So Sedentary?

Huff Po: Breakfast Around the World – Healthy Ideas from Abroad

 

Stress Relief, Happiness, & Life Management:

Psychology Today: Find Your Passion, Find Your Strengths

Blisstree: Morning Time-Savers: Get Ready for Work Post-Gym in 15 Minutes or Less

Greatist: 10 Unexpected Ways to Meditate Every Day

Mind, Body, Green: 10 Fun Ways to Reduce Your Cortisol Levels

Huff Po: Happiness Tips – 9 Simple Steps to Joy

 

Gender Issues:

Atlantic: Towards a More Expansive Definition of ‘Princess’

Huff Po: Honoring America’s Women in the Military

Slate: Meteor Employee Shoots Bulls-Eye Against Sexism, With Help from the Hawkeye Initiative

Atlantic: You Don’t Have to Have Kids to Be a Great Mother

 

Humor & Warm Fuzzies:

Huff Po: Dogs and Babies Sleeping Are What The World Needs Now

Huff Po: This Memorial Day, a Simple Act of Kindness

Buzzfeed: 25 Signs You’re Addicted to Reading

Buzzfeed: One Team Has Perfected the Post-Game Photobomb (*this one made me laugh so hard I cried)

TGIF: A Veritable Hootenanny of Random Awesomeness

Happy Friday, y’all! (And, um, did you like the use of “hootenanny” in the title? I wanted to use something more entertaining than “compilation,” and that’s what popped into my head. I’m nothing if not weird, folks.)

I apologize for being late with this morning’s post — I’m taking a sick day due to, ahem, some rather hardcore lady-troubles. (Sorry for the TMI.) I decided that instead of trying to force myself to be productive at work (and probably doing a really sorry job of it), it’d be better to ride out the pain by lying on the couch and communing with my heat pack and a bottle of Tylenol. Sooooooo, here I am.

But anyways, on to happier topics! Yesterday at work I started an email chain wherein we all wrote in haiku format, which might have been the best work-related email thread ever. (It also goes down in the Annals of My Greatest Accomplishments, which include such acts as quoting Team America: World Police in an international law paper that I wrote in grad school.) With that in mind, here’s a haiku summing up how I feel about the upcoming 3-day weekend:

Thank God it’s Friday
Times ten for the long weekend
I need this like woah

Obviously, I have a lucrative career as a farcical haiku author ahead of me.

Seriously, though, I’m desperately in need of a 3-day weekend. I reeeeeaaaallly hope that the aforementioned lady-troubles abate so that I can, y’know, actually enjoy the holiday.

In the meantime, though, and in the spirit of celebrating the long weekend, here’s a random compilation of awesome things that happened this week:

1) On Tuesday afternoon I went for an awesome run around the National Mall with the help of my beloved and trusty Charity Miles app. I donated my miles to Every Mother Counts, and listened to Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out on repeat while I ran. There’s something strangely spiritual about these runs on the Mall — the trees and the monuments all make it feel like sacred space to me. While running by the World War II Memorial, I decided to get a picture of the portion memorializing my beloved home state. Not that I’m counting down or anything, but in two months I’ll be here:

 

WWII Memorial Colorado

 

2) While walking home from the bus stop the other day, I suddenly got a whiff of honeysuckle and immediately felt giddy. I love this stuff — it smells so effing good — and the first time I encountered honeysuckle as a child is one of my more vivid childhood memories. My dad and I were coming home after a bike ride (and by “bike ride,” I mean that I sat strapped into a seat in the back while he did all the hard work) when we passed a bunch of honeysuckle.  I asked what smelled so good, and he stopped the bike so I could basically bury my face in it. To say the least, I get really happy when I encounter this stuff, and I haven’t seen much of in the concrete jungle of the DC Metro area. So, as you can imagine, this was an awesome surprise!

 

Honeysuckle

 

3) After all the Crock Pot flops, we had a serious winner of a meal last night: chicken saltimbocca. This stuff is divine, y’all. Chicken breasts wrapped in Prosciutto and sage leaves, then sauteed in lemon juice and olive oil? Freakin’ awesome. The dish lived up to all my hopes, and I was seriously happy about it. I know the picture doesn’t look too appetizing (gravy/sauce has a way of doing that), but I promise: it was gooooo-oood.

 

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Anyways, I hope everyone has a fabulous long weekend!

Do you have any big plans for the holiday?

What’s your favorite place to go running?

Do you have any happy childhood memories that pop up whenever you see/smell something?

Adventures in Cooking: An Update

Ok, so: I had all these great plans to write a follow-up post to Tuesday’s rant – but then I woke up with a gnarly sinus headache, which has drained away all my brainpower. I’m working on a giant cup of coffee in an attempt to revive the contents of my cabeza, but it’s slow to start this morning.

So, failing the level of cognitive function needed to write something actually, y’know, think-y, I’m going to focus on our dinner recipe adventures of late.

As you may recall from last week’s Great Crock Pot Experiment, the rate of return on those recipes was loooooooooow. 1 out of 4 = no likey.

 

 

We decided to opt for a different approach this week: we picked two Crock Pot recipes and two stove top recipes. The one stove top recipe we’ve tried so far (chicken with sage browned butter) was a quasi-win, in the sense that following the recipe exactly to the letter didn’t produce the results we’d hoped for — but once I improvised a bit, it turned out well.

The one Crock Pot recipe we’ve tried so far, however, was another fail. I don’t understand how this is possible, y’all: I use the Crock Pot all the time for soups and stews during the winter, and they turn out beautifully. Chicken Marsala made in late May, on the other hand, does not.

There’s obviously something veeeeeeery different between the way certain foods react to slow cooking; chili, for example, loves it mightily. Dishes that are generally made on the stove or in the oven, however, appear to be made that way for a reason.

 

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So, with all these Crock Pot shenanigans going on, I decided that the remaining Crock Pot recipe — Coq au Vin (chicken with red wine sauce) will be made on the stove instead. We’re gettin’ sick of the barely edible dinners, so it’s time to stage an intervention.

The remaining recipes this week are the aforementioned Coq au Vin, which I’ve loved since the moment I first tried it in my junior high French class (really, anything with red wine sauce is almost guaranteed to be awesome), and Chicken Saltimbocca, an Italian recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for aaaaaages.

Meanwhile, in the name of cookbook test-driving, last night I also checked out two new culinary tomes from the library: another Barefoot Contessa book and the Epicurious Cookbook. As I was checking out, the woman working the check-out desk commented on how much she loves Barefoot Contessa — and in one of those awesome made-for-TV moments, she and I said in unison, “She’s just so calm.”

This, I think, is one of Ina Garten’s best qualities: in addition to seeming totally down-to-earth, genuine, and just plain nice, there’s a certain Zen to watching her cook. Unlike other shows where the hostesses are entirely too perky — or, in other cases, frenetic to the point of stressing me the eff out while they cook — watching Barefoot Contessa makes me feel like I’ve just had a glass of sangria and am chillin’ in a hammock. So, to put it mildly, I’m excited to try these recipes.

 

 

I’ll post an update on these culinary adventures once I’ve tried out said recipes — but in the meantime, I have questions for you lovely people!

Do you have a favorite cookbook or cookbook author?

Do you ever watch cooking shows?

If so, which one do you like the most — and which one makes you run screaming for the hills whenever it comes on?
(For me, the latter award goes to Rachael Ray. I can’t deal with her, like, at all.)

What’s your favorite week-night recipe?

WAIW: Gluten-Free Pancake Porn

Good morning, and happy Wednesday!

First of all, I just want to say that y’all are rocking my world with all your awesome comments on yesterday’s post. You people are freakin’ amazing! Seriously, folks, this is why I love blogging. Being able to pour my thoughts into a post is wonderful on its own, but it becomes exponentially more so when that post can be a source of shared connection for other people. You guys are awesome! 🙂

And now, to quote my loves at Monty Python, for something completely different: What I Ate Wednesday! Thanks, as always, to the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting this little cyber-potluck.

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Breakfasts

My breaky habits stay uber-consistent during the week: coffee and toast while writing, and then a green smoothie made with kale, spinach, Vega protein powder, frozen fruit (banana, strawberries, and mango), and almond milk.

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That said, though, things get fun on the weekends — that’s where I break from my routine and, y’know, go wild in the kitchen. (You know your grandma-status tendencies are being taken to new heights when “going wild” involves cooking on a Saturday morning.) This Saturday, I decided to cook one of my favorite breakfast treats: blueberry pancakes. I used King Arthur Flour’s GF pancake mix, almond milk, and egg whites, so these babies are both gluten- and dairy-free:

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One of my favorite bloggers referred to these as pancake porn, which a) is totally apropos, and b) made me laugh my tuchus off — so, to say the least, that’s what inspired the title of this post. Bow-chika-wow-wow, y’all.

Aaaaand, for the sake of posterity (bow-bow-chika-chika), one more pancake porn picture:

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Ooooookay, moving on…

Lunches & Snacks

Since I take my lunch with me to work each day, I’m pretty consistent about my foodstuffs. I always take a Pamela’s Whenever bar, Greek yogurt with Udi’s GF granola, an apple, and, because it’s preposterously easy, soup with added veggies. I recently discovered Quest Bars, too — and ehrmagherd, they’re just as awesome as everyone says. Win!

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Beverages for the day have stayed consistent too: half of my morning smoothie (I make a huge one and split it between breakfast and lunch), iced coffee, and the occasional Kombucha. Seriously, y’all, I need to win the lottery so I can afford to have Kombucha every day. I freakin’ love these things.

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As for snacks, I have some go-to faves: Trader Joe’s kale chips, GF pretzels, and GF granola. *Drools on self*

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Dinners

Aaah, dinner: my favorite meal of the day! I’m usually staaaar-viiiing by the time dinner rolls around, so I’ve been pretty stoked about these meals. The offerings have included black bean soup with roasted chipotle-spiced sweet potatoes, chicken with sage browned butter (I took tons of pictures of this, only to find that the camera’s memory card was still in my computer — gah!), and chicken with onions and cream of mushroom soup.

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Desserts

Need I even say it? Fro yo 4-evah, peepz. Gawd, I love this stuff.

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La Fin

Have a lovely day, y’all — and tell me:

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Do you have a go-to dessert?

What’s your favorite meal of the day?

No Mas: A Rant

Well.

I was going to write a post today about our meal plan for the week, but last night as I was working out, Brandon went to pick up the mail — and when he returned, I saw that this month’s issue of SELF Magazine had arrived.

I’ve been a subscriber for a few years now, and although I originally liked it, over time I started finding that reading it makes me feel like sh*t. So, a few months ago, I decided that I wouldn’t renew my subscription when it expires this summer.

It hasn’t expired yet, though, and the June issue arrived last night. Upon seeing the cover, it pissed right the eff off.

 

 

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about weight, health, body image, and fitness. I feel like almost all fitness and health information is geared towards weight loss and the aesthetics of being thin and toned, as opposed to the noble goal of simply being healthy and strong.You don’t see magazines talking about getting strong, you see them talking about burning calories. They don’t talk about how running can enhance your cardiovascular health, they talk about how to get skinny in time for beach season.

This, in my book at least, isn’t cool.

Look, I know that skinniness sells (whereas words like “cardiovascular” make peoples’ eyes glaze over). I get it. But really, I find that the emphasis on being thin consistently makes me feel awful.

I exercise all the effing time and I eat well (boneless, skinless chicken breasts and steamed veggies are my homies), but I have curves. Lots of ’em. I don’t have a perfectly perky tush, my child-bearing hips make me look like I was built to be Michelle Duggar’s understudy, and I was genetically graced with a stomach that, despite an unending number of crunches and hours of Pilates, will never be perfectly flat.  Maybe I’m wrong here, but I suspect I’m not the only one in this boat.

Anyways, back to last night: there I was, sweating like a wildebeest after a hard workout, standing in the kitchen while quietly seething about the magazine cover, and shaking with both muscle exhaustion and fury. It was a sight to behold, I’m sure.

Just as my ragey-ness was reaching critical mass, I decided to take a Sharpie and write my rebuttals all over the magazine cover. To explain where I got this idea, for about 15 years now, my best friend Susie and I have been writing witty, funny, and occasionally caustic commentary all over magazine ads we find ridiculous (and then sending them to each other at random, because nothing perks up a crappy day like an unexpected trove of advertising snark from your bestie). So, I decided to do the same thing with the cover of this month’s SELF:

 

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Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

 

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First, I’m sick to death of celebrity fitness tips. CELEBS HAVE PERSONAL TRAINERS, PEOPLE. Their careers and very livelihoods depend on them looking fantastic, and they hire a boatload of people to help them stay that way. Trainers, cooks, dieticians — you name it, they’ve got it. And yet, there’s this ridiculous idea that they work out just as much as anybody else and lead otherwise normal, pedestrian lives. I call bullsh*t on this. Celebs can give us all the “secrets” they want about their fitness routines, but nobody talks about the fact that it usually involves hours of the moves they describe in the pages of these glossies. (And I don’t know about y’all, but I have neither the time nor the desire to work out for 2-3 hours per day. I tap out after an hour, and then I go do other things that benefit my health such as hanging out with Brandon, cooking dinner, reading, or writing.)

 

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Next, the issue of beach bodies: I’m so. Damn. Tired. Of hearing. About. Beach. Bodies. This is where the fitness-for-aesthetics vs. the fitness-for-health issue really gains momentum: if you spend all year working out and eating well, why this emphasis on going super-uber-epic-hardcore for summer? If you can run a 5K, lift heavy things, and you’ve been known to slurp down green smoothies on a daily basis, aren’t you already in good health? Oh, but wait, that’s not what really matters, is it? What really matters, friends, is that you look good in a bathing suit.

Adding fuel to the fire is the whole “It’s June, people! No more procrastinating!” motif. Oh, you’re totally right! In addition to everything else I’m doing, I need to lose weight and get super toned, like, yesterday! Gosh, staying active and healthy throughout the year — not just for the summer — was a seriously slacker move, wasn’t it? Thanks for the reminder, y’all! I’m sure I’ll make people fall over in disgust when I roll up at the pool with my regular body; that said, I take full responsibility for the horrors that ensue as a result of my procrastination. (*Screams internally*)

 

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As for the alleged “miracle foods” that “practically lose the weight for you,” this is another area where the eat to be healthy vs. eat to be skinny issue fires up. Look, eating to be skinny just plain sucks. I’ve done it more than once. It drains all the joy out of life (or at least it did for me) when you have to weigh, measure, and account for every ounce of food that passes your lips. It makes food the enemy. And, in my mind at least, foods like steel-cut oats, chia seeds, nuts, beans, Greek yogurt, and lean protein should never be the enemy.

With that in mind, why not tell people to focus on eating whole foods for their inherent health-enhancing value instead of for their metabolism-revving properties? Why not encourage people to focus on nourishing their  bodies with foods that pack a walloping dose of nutrients, instead of eating particular foods because they “practically lose the weight for you”? Oh, that’s right: because, once again, what really matters is that you look hot.

 

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This one really got me. Of the seven cover features, five were weight-related. The two that weren’t were in a small font, with plain black & white text, which means that compared to the other large-font, color-blast headlines, these were the ones meant to garner the least attention. The eye is drawn towards the bigger letters with bright backgrounds, not towards the small b&w text. So, the two topics that genuinely relate to health rather than being skinny are fully intended to be afterthoughts. Awesome.

So, to say the least, I was mighty angry. It made me think of one of my favorite documentaries, Miss Representation (the trailer is below): if the media is both the message and the messenger, what do fitness magazines say to women? They say that it’s not enough to be healthy and strong – you have to look good in a bikini too.

 

 

Chances are, if you subscribe to a fitness magazine, you’re pretty active. You probably take good care of yourself, eat your veggies, and get your blood pumping at least few times a week. And yet, five out of seven — a whopping 71% — of the feature articles are about weight loss.

What, exactly, is this supposed to do for women’s self-confidence? While many of these feature pieces are published in the name of empowerment, I feel like what they really do is make women feel inadequate for their lack of a bikini body/Brazilian tuchus/washboard abs. This is not okay.

Suffice it to say, I’m now doubly committed to not renewing my subscription when it expires this summer. I’m saying no mas. I’m done with buying into a media message that makes me feel like crap and tells other women that they’re not good enough — that being athletic and healthy plays second fiddle to the holy grail of a tight, tiny, and toned bikini body.

There’s a phrase in Arabic, khalas, that roughly translates as “no more,” “it’s finished,” “I’ve had it,” or simply “enough.” As I Sharpied the daylights out of the magazine cover, I found that I was saying it over and over under my breath. Khalas. I’m finished. I’ve had enough.

MIMM: A Lovely Weekend

Good morning, y’all — I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! Did you do anything special?

That someecard just about sums up how I feel about Monday mornings. I’d love to be one of those people who doesn’t feel like this when a new work week starts, but alas…if you were to ask me whether I’m ok with the weekend being over, I’d be all:

Anyways, despite the general lousiness of Monday morning, I had a lovely weekend! It was strangely busy yet not busy; we had a lot of domestics to take care of, so I ran a lot of errands.

While I know this makes me a complete weirdo, I’ll full-out admit this: I really like running errands. Getting out and blazing through my to-do list like General Sherman through the South just plain makes me happy. I love being productive, even if it just involves routine life maintenance tasks — so errands actually make me a happy cowgirl.

The only thing I don’t like about errands? The fact that there’s never enough time in which to do them. The fact that I can only do said errands after work and on weekends is cramping my style, y’all. I’m not feelin’ it. Sadly, though, I have yet to win the lottery — so the chances of me being able to morph into a lady of leisure any time soon are about nil.

Le sigh.

Anyways, despite the time crunch this weekend, there were some fairly marvelous moments. Thanks as always to Katie from Healthy Diva Eats for hosting Marvelous in My Monday!

MiMM Marvelous in my Monday #50 with Weekend Highlights

First and foremost, I got my hair did on Friday night with a new stylist, and she’s freakin’ awesome.

I had some failed attempts at a selfie in order to display the haircut, since I’m no bueno with selfies (as you can tell, I was concentrating too hard on taking the picture to, y’know, smile — oops!). This one is the best one that actually shows what my haircut (just past my shoulders with long layers) looks like.

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Anyways, this haircut was extra exciting because I feel like a really good stylist is a rare find. This is especially true since I have super-thick hair (and loads of it). People have been known to get a bit slap-happy with the scissors and wind up butchering my tresses — or, in the case of a guy who was making a futile attempt at doing my hair for a friend’s wedding a couple years ago, threatening to cut it all off and shave my head. (No joke. Homeslice actually said this. I was unimpressed.)

But I digress! The “hashtag, winning” motif continued on Saturday, when we started the day with GF blueberry pancakes.Y’all, they were so effing good. I love these things. King Arthur Flour wins!

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That afternoon we saw Star Trek: Into Darkness, and yo. It was awesome. (Also, can I just say that Chris Pine is dreamy?)  I’m really excited for the other movies coming out this summer, especially Man of Steel and Despicable Me II. It’ll be the perfect way to spend the oppressively hot and humid DC summer!

While running errands on Sunday, I managed to pick up this adorable mug from Marshall’s. (Marshall’s is a close second to Target as one of my favorite stores — there’s such awesome stuff there, and it’s all so cheap! *Claps hands, squeals in delight*) I’m going to take it to work for some gigantic mugs of tea. Yeah, I know that tea isn’t exactly a summery beverage…hence the summery mug. A girl’s gotta be seasonal somehow, amirite?

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And now, with the weekend officially-for-real-no-shizzle over, I’m off to get my sweat on. Hope everyone has a fabulous Monday!

Did you do anything special this weekend?

If you went shopping, what sort of new loot did you pick up?

Are there any summer movies you’re particularly excited about?