A Penny for Your Thoughts

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Last night Larry asked me a question I had certainly been avoiding.  He wanted to know when the last time I blogged was, and why I wasn’t writing any more.

I had been avoiding the question, because, to be completely honest, I don’t have a very good answer.

Blogging had become somewhat of an “I have to” instead of an “I want to.”

And that, my friends, defeats the purpose of this project.

In the past few days I have read 2.5 novels, run countless miles (on the treadmill!!!), eaten clean, eaten a little dirty, gone to a concert, gone to a small town street festival, and taught a kindergarten summer school class.  I’ve been a little sick and my camera is dead.  I have had sleepless nights and nights where I’ve slept like a log.  I’ve avoided the computer like the plague, and only used my cell phone when it was charged and within a reachable distance.   

It’s been kind of nice keeping these things to myself.  They feel a little bit more personal.  I’ve felt a little lighter. 

I’m not giving up on the blog.  Just writing this short synopsis actually feels great and the writing itch has returned.  I just needed a little break to be alone with my thoughts for a while.

Tomorrow I leave for the beach and I plan on taking my laptop.  I may not write every single day I am there, but I do know that the beach provides the perfect opportunity to immortalize memories with words.  That is something I simply can not pass up. 

How do you feel about technology and the constant interconnectedness that it causes? 

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Hey, Good Lookin’

What’cha got cooking?!?!?!?  How’s about cookin’ something up with me?!?!?

Just for you, Pop-Pop! 

This video left me grinnin’ from ear to ear!  Enjoy!

Some yummy breakfast is what I’ve got cookin’.  But more on that later ;)

I’m kind of getting used to this stay at home wife business.  Every summer for the past 8 years I have taught summer school or taken classes for my masters.  This is the first summer I have actually had the opportunity to enjoy one of the greatest perks of being a teacher:  Summers OFF!!!

Over the past few weeks, I have fallen in love with Regis and Kelly.

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa took the show on the road to film 'Live With Regis & Kelly' in Miami... Non-Exclusive Pix by Flynet 2009 818-307-4813  Nicolas 323-974-6007  Jay 310-466-8617  Scott [Source]

Kelly has awesome shoes and killer arms! 

I have read numerous books.

(Still working on this one.  It’s a doozie!)

I have gone to the gym anytime I fancied (I mean, just check out my fitness log!).

And I have had fun playing around in the kitchen. 

Especially with breakfast recipes. 

During the school year, breakfast usually consists of Overnight Oats, cooked oats, or a bowl of cereal.  Basically, anything I can make and eat quickly before rushing out the door. 

Having more time this summer means I have actually been able to make breakfasts that take longer than 3 minutes!  :)

This morning I decided to make a Tofu Scramble. 

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During a trip to Harrisonburg this past winter, I had my first experience with Tofu Scramble at The Little Grill.  It was heavy on curry, but it stayed in the back of my mind as something I could try recreating at home. 

When scrambled, tofu has a very similar texture to scrambled eggs.   

Add in some veggies, fake sausage, and spices.  Voila!  A Tofu Scramble that even the most apprehensive tofu eaters will enjoy!

Here is my recreation (minus curry!).  I didn’t actually measure the dry ingredients.  I would recommend adding a little bit, tasting, and then adding more as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 half sweet Vidalia onion chopped
  • 4 Morning Star fake sausage links
  • turmeric (this is what gives the tofu a yellow tint)
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • nutritional yeast

1.  Press water out of tofu by wrapping it in paper towels and squeezing, or lay something heavy on wrapped tofu for about 15 minutes. 

2. Cube tofu into 1 inch cubes.

3.  Heat pan over medium high eat and spray with olive oil spray.

4.  Add onions, peppers, “sausage”, and tofu to pan.

4.  “Scramble” the tofu by mashing it with a fork or spatula. 

5.  Sprinkle with spices and nutritional yeast.

6.  Continue to cook and stir mixture until it is piping hot.

I created a breakfast burrito by topping a whole wheat tortilla with the tofu scramble mixture and added some Veggie Shreds Monterey Jack/Cheddar cheese.

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And that’s a wrap!

I have plenty of leftovers to have for breakfast the rest of the week!  I’m thinking “egg” sandwiches, McMuffins, and more breakfast burritos.  Yum!

Today’s agenda includes researching a new camera (any suggestions??), a crazy cardio sesh, a possible boot camp extravaganza, a little reading, and a trip to Target!

Enjoy the rest of your day! 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Thumbs and Such

Helloooo!  Happy Monday!  I hope you have had a marvelous start to your week! :)

I spent today doing some reading and research for work. This summer I am working with a small team of teachers to develop lessons and resources for other teachers within the county to help them implement a writing workshop with their students.

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Writing Workshop just so happens to be one of my favorite things to teach and it is one of the main reasons why I started this blog.

For fuel this morning, I had a rather unusual, though tasty, breakfast.

Kashi Vanilla Harvest Cereal with Bananas, Almond Milk and Peanut Butter

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It’s probably rather unorthodox to put peanut butter in your cold cereal, but I couldn’t resist.  As a sweet snack I sometimes dip these wheat squares in peanut butter, and I thought, hey, why not add some to my cereal bowl! 

I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!

After doing a couple hours of work, I decided to take a girly movie break.  My wonderful husband put a few chick flicks at the top of our Netflix queue for me to watch this week while I was home. 

Today I watched 500 Days of Summer.

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They are not lying when they say that this is not a love story.  It was actually a pretty depressing story and I give it just one thumb up…  or maybe half a thumb???

Larry and I are off to lift legs at the gym.  I will more than likely not be able to walk tomorrow.  Lifting legs with Larry can get pretty intense. 

If you are a teacher, and you have any ideas, lesson suggestions, or resources for writing workshops, please send them to JenSanders52 at comcast dot net. 

Have a fantastic evening!!! 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Lazy, Lazy Days of Summer

Good afternoon! 

I have had the laziest, rainy Saturday quiet possibly in the history of all Saturdays.  It has been amazing!

I had a little trouble sleeping last night, so I slept in to almost 10 AM!!!  I could have probably slept even longer, but I peeled myself out from under the covers and started the day.

First things first, I made protein pancakes.

This time around I added a little apple sauce to the batter.  When baking I always try to replace the oil or butter with apple sauce (I’ve even heard of people using canned pumpkin) to decrease calories and fat.  This recipe had no “oil” like substance, so I thought the apple sauce would add a little richness and fluffiness.  They were pretty darn good, if I do so say so myself ;)

Next up was lounging, and what serious lounging I did! 

Back in February, I put Food Inc on our Netflix Watch Instantly queue, but have never taken the time to watch it.  I have to admit I was a little terrified.  I have already read books that describe the corruption found in our food system.  I wasn’t so sure I was ready to see it in action.

However, today I decide to push aside my fears and get over the whole “ignorance is bliss” notion.  

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If you have not watched this documentary, you really must.  Because so many people do not know about these problems, these problems will continue to happen. 

One of the most disturbing facts (although there were many) that I learned from this documentary was that 70% of ground beef served in the United States is combined with “filler” that has been cleaned with ammonium to kill e-coli bacteria. 

 

They definitely don’t put that on food labels!!! 

They also don’t let you know if your meat is from a cloned animal, because those corporations don’t believe it is in the “consumer’s best interest” to know that information.

Hmm…  what else are they hiding from us?

They did highlight a farmer from Polyface Farms in the video that followed humane and clean practices for raising and slaughtering animals.  They are the perfect example of the kind of farm I want my food to come from. 

“Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.” [Source]

I was even more pleased to discover that Ellwood Thompson’s carries Polyface Farm products.  Yet another wonderful reason for me to shop there! :)

I won’t continue to burden you with such unlovely thoughts on this rather lovely Saturday, but please take the time to watch this documentary, or to read Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  After all, losing ignorance is how we develop knowledge, compassion, and understanding. 

And wouldn’t that make for a world that is a much better place?

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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R.I.P. Little Sony

My camera has finally gone kaput. 

RIP little Sony Cybershot.

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You have served me well… until, well, you didn’t any more.

This means I am in the market for a new camera.  Any suggestions for an easy to use yet awesome camera that will last longer than 2 years and take awesome pictures for the blog???

Since starting HH,HM I have really gotten into taking pictures of everything.  I whipped that baby out to take pictures of absolutely everything.  Larry teases me because there are over 1,000 pictures on the memory card that I just can’t bear to erase.  It’s always funny when people go through my camera to look at the pictures.  I get some rather strange glances when they get to the multiple pictures of the same bean burger or grilled salmon.  I mean who takes pictures of their dinner like they are afraid they are going to miss it when it’s gone?!?!?

Speaking of salmon, this was last night’s dinner.

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Arugula, Asparagus & Salmon with Blackberry Glaze from Clean Eating Magazine.

I can’t tell you the exact recipe because of copyright issues, but I will tell you that this was such a simple meal perfect for a scorching summer night.  The base was a handful (or two) of arugula and some steamed asparagus.  I then baked the salmon until it flaked, and topped it with a blackberry glaze made of crushed blackberries, soy sauce, honey. and orange juice.

This has me thinking though.  You could recreate this dish in so many ways.  You could use any kind of berry to make a glaze using similar ingredients and toss it over chicken, shrimp, scallops, tofu or even by itself over greens for a simple salad. 

Hmmm…  I saw some cherries at the grocery store the other day.  I’m thinking we may be having a cherry glazed something for dinner one night next week ;)

In case you are wondering, I did not eat the salmon.  For my protein, I used  a TofuSteak from Helen’s Kitchen.

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I found these while browsing the organic freezer section of my local Kroger.  They were pretty tasty, and after visiting their website, I think I’ll definitely be trying more of their products in the future. 

Helen’s Kitchen encourages a Simple Health Lifestyle that:

“… is about making smart choices and enjoying a balanced nutritious organic diet that tastes delicious and is easy & quick enough to prepare so that I have time to enjoy an active life with family & friends.”  [Source]

Sounds like my kind of company! :)

Yesterday I put myself through a grueling hour on the treadmill.  I absolutely hate running on the treadmill.  I think this is why my running mileage goes down in the summer time.  It makes me feel like a gerbil in a ball.

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I once heard someone call it the Revolving Apparatus of Death and I couldn’t agree more. 

However, I made myself do it anyway.

I wanted to run 5 miles, and although it was cooler yesterday at a whopping 97 degrees, I just couldn’t go running outside.  I warmed up with a quick 5 minute walk.  Then ran approximately 46 minutes until the mileage hit 5 miles exactly.  Not a minute more.  Not a minute less.  To cool down I walked for about 9 minutes while I watched Rachel Ray discuss perfect fitting bras and panties.  It was a total of 5.55 grueling miles.  

It was not the best run.  It may have been one of the worst ever.  But, hey!  I did it!  And without tears! 

Today I’m going to hit up the gym for a BodyPump class and to do an easy 30 minutes on the elliptical.  No Revolving Apparatus of Death for me today.  Maybe not for a very, very long time! ;)

What are your plans for today?  Any tips to make a treadmill workout easier???

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Miss Antsy Pants

Yesterday morning I had visions of relaxing, reading, and watching movies all day.  However, I just couldn’t do it!  I’ve come to the realization that I am Miss Antsy Pants.

I can not sit still and do nothing.  Well, not unless I am on a beach or sitting by the pool.  But any of you living on the east coast know that it was way too hot to be outside yesterday. 

So, although I did watch a movie and read a bit yesterday, it was not until after I thoroughly cleaned and dusted the upstairs, did two loads of laundry, baked a loaf of low-fat banana bread, and made a batch of homemade hummus. 

See???  Antsy Pants!! 

After cleaning the upstairs, I came downstairs and noticed three very ripe (AKA black) bananas in the fruit basket.  I couldn’t let these go to waste, so of course the perfect solution was banana bread!

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**Note** This is not a picture of the banana bread I made.  My camera has been acting funny, so this is a photo from the Betty Crocker website. :(

I followed this recipe from Betty Crocker, but made a few healthier substitutions.  Here are the ingredients I used instead:

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (in hind sight I should have used apple sauce)
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup blueberries

The loaf turned out a little dry, so next time I will definitely add 1/2 or 1 cup of apple sauce for some extra moisture.

While the warm aroma of banana bread filled the house I decided to make a batch of homemade hummus

As usual, it soothed my soul and rocked my taste buds!  I heart hummus!!!!  I foresee hummus sandwiches in my near future.

I also made a little time for strength training.  The plan was to run 3 miles and do strength training, but I just couldn’t make myself go outside.  The air was so hot it took my breath away!

Recently, I stumbled across Women’s Health Magazine printable workout plans.  This is an entire page of different workouts you can download and print to take to the gym.  I fell in love. 

I downloaded three workouts yesterday, and decided to do the Ultimate Fitness Plan 2010 circuit A in the comfort of my perfectly air conditioned living room. 

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I did the circuit 3 times in about 35 minutes.  This workout was definitely easier than the workouts I’ve gotten out of Shape Magazine, so it would be perfect for workout newbies and anyone who needs a quick effective workout for those days when you are in a rush. 

Today’s plan is to go to the gym for cardio, hang out with the hubby who has Thursdays off, work on some writing curriculum for the county, and RELAX (maybe). :)

My brother lent me the second Stieg Larsson book, The  Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  If it is anything like the first book, I’ll be done by the end of the weekend ;)

Enjoy the cooler (95 degree) weather today, do a little rain dance, and remember to take some time to relax! :)

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Check Out My Melons

This morning was all about breakfast.  Today is the first day since last Sunday (I think) that I haven’t had something penciled in on the calendar to do.  Consequently, I took my time getting up this morning, watched a little of the Today Show, and then decided to tackle breakfast. 

First, I chopped up a melon.

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It was a perfectly round melon with green ridges around its rind.  The inside was a bright peach-ish, orange-ish color with juicy “meat” and a compact seed core.  A wonderfully delicious start to the day.

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However, I wasn’t finished with breakfast just yet.  I knew that if I didn’t eat something else, I would finish this entire melon by myself in just a few short hours. 

The past few weeks I have been craving a bowl of cold cereal like you wouldn’t believe.  I haven’t had a bowl of cereal in quite some time, but with the triple digit weather recently, it seems like the perfect cold breakfast way to start the day.

Yesterday, while at the grocery store, I picked up a box of Kashi Island Vanilla cold cereal.

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At first glance the nutritional facts didn’t seem too bad.

So, I poured myself a bowl.

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But, wait a minute!  What is the serving size? 

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27 biscuits?!?!?! 

I have to count out 27 biscuits?? 

Hmmm…  interesting.

So, I counted how many biscuits I had poured in my bowl. 

43 biscuits.

16 biscuits too many.

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This is a bowl of 27 biscuits.  Apparently my idea of a bowl of cereal is a little different from the cereal industry’s. 

I added a little almond milk and a handful of blueberries to complete the meal.
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It is a very sweet cereal as it is sweetened with both evaporated cane juice and evaporated cane juice syrup.  However, it does claim to contain a full day’s serving of whole grains.  Not too shabby.

What is your favorite “healthy” cereal?  Have you found that what you pour in a bowl is right-on or way too much???

Today’s agenda includes lots of relaxing.  I’m going to stay in my jammies for a little while longer while I watch the movie Dear John that just came in the mail through Netflix.  Then I am going to head to the gym for a quick 3 mile run and weights.  After that who knows???  ;)

Have a wonderful day!!!! 

Here’s a Portion Control Quiz that you might find interesting.  Just click here!  Let me know how you did!!!  I missed quite a few!!!!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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