Monthly Archives: February 2010

Vegetarian Halupkies

You can crack as many Polish jokes as you wish, but I’m telling you these vegetarian halupkies were amazing… but, more on that later.

As many of you may have noticed, I took a computer/internet break yesterday.  I did not check email, Facebook, Twitter, or my blog one single time all day long.  I did not read the news on the computer.  I did not check my bank account, or pay any bills online.  I took the day off completely.

I have to admit, it honestly felt pretty good!  Not that I don’t love posting daily, or catching up with old friends via the internet, but sometimes you’ve just got to take a break from the daily grind.  We are always so “connected” in a cyber kind of way.  Yesterday I took time to connect with my family sans the computer on a more personal level. 

We finally celebrated my Pop-Pop’s 85th birthday, and my dad’s 49th birthday (yes, my parents are very young).

Every year for Pop-Pop’s birthday, we eat a polish dish called halupkies (pronounced ha-loop-keys).  As as a young boy growing up in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania, this was a dish his mother often prepared for special occasions .  They are stuffed cabbage rolls filled with a ground beef and rice mixture, and then boiled in a tomato juice broth.

This year my mom found a wonderful Vegetarian Cabbage Roll recipe for me that was actually quite easy to make.

4 ServingsPrep: 30 min. Bake: 15 min.


  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 3/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


  • In a large saucepan, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside eight large leaves for rolls (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use). Cut out the thick vein from each leaf, making a V-shape cut. Overlap cut ends before filling. Stir 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and lemon juice into vegetable mixture.
  • Place a heaping 1/3 cupful on each cabbage leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll to completely enclose filling.
  • Combine tomato sauce and hot pepper sauce; pour 1/3 cup into a 2-qt. baking dish. Place cabbage rolls in dish; spoon remaining sauce over top. Cover and bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (2 cabbage rolls) equals 142 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 675 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 8 g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 starch.

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls published in Light & Tasty October/November 2001, p37

We sautéed the vegetables and bulgur,


spooned the cooked veggie mixture into pre-blanched cabbage leaves,


carefully rolled them up and tucked in the outer edges,DSC01296

then piled them high in a baking dish.

We covered them with the tomato sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

I don’t have any fantastic after pictures, because once everyone arrived the focused then turned to the celebration!  But here is a picture of the leftovers, cold from the fridge, that I plan on heating up and devouring for lunch tomorrow 🙂


Larry and I were planning on spending the night at my parents, but decided at the last minute to come home, so we could spend all day Sunday cleaning the house and running errands.  We have a tendency to put things off during the week, and they really pile up by the weekends!  Oops! 

We slept in, had chocolate blueberry pancakes for breakfast (recipe to come!), and cleaned our tushies off!  Now, our house smells and looks clean and beautiful! 

Tonight we are planning a Sunday Date Night ;)  We’re going to grab a healthy-ish dinner out and then go see Percy Jackson! 

What traditions does your family have to celebrate special occasions? 


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



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And They Say Sugar Highs are a Myth

Happy Friday…  finally!!!!

Today was a sugar laden day for my third graders.  We had an Author’s Tea where they each got to read their published stories aloud to an audience of their classmates, parents and other teachers from the building.


They were so proud of themselves! 

After reading their stories, we feasted on a choice of two:

Fig Newtons,


Nilla Wafers,

the all time favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies,

and of course sweet tea!  (but in plastic Dixie cups!)



But wait!  There’s more!!!!  At lunch today, someone brought in Ukrops cupcakes for their birthday!!!!  😉

And they say sugar rushes are a myth?!?!?!?!?  I don’t believe that even for one second!!!! 

This leads me to the topic of today’s post.  Eating treats and enjoying them. 

I am currently reading Food Rules by Michael Pollen.  His food philosophy for this book is: Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.

He outlines 64 rules of healthy eating habits for eating real food.   Rule 60 is to treat treats as treats.

It’s OK to have a treat occasionally, because all things are OK in moderation.  It is the food choices that you make on a regular basis that determine how healthy and fit you will be.  One treat every once in a while will not do you in!

I hope everyone takes time to enjoy a treat this weekend!  I’m headed to my parents’ this weekend for a double birthday celebration.  We are finally celebrating Pop-pop’s birthday that kept getting postponed because of the snow, and we’re combining it with a celebration for my dad’s b-day. 

What treats do you most enjoy?  How do you do with moderation???  Any tips?

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Takin’ it Easy

Like I said last night, is it Friday yet?!??!?

We haven’t been able to go outside for recess in almost a month because of the cold, the melting snow, and the mud.  If anyone has ever been trapped in a classroom full of 8 and 9 year olds for six hours a day, five days a week, then you must understand my need for the weekend!!!

I decided to take it easy today.  I looked at my Fitness Log, and realized that I have only taken off five days the entire month of February.  My body is getting toned, but it is also getting very sore.

I joined some friends for a happy hour and enjoyed a little brewsky.


I almost never drink beer, but tonight I was in the need for something light.  Having a glass of wine would have made me a little too relaxed, if you know what I mean, and I had errands to run and papers to grade.

I also munched on some chips and salsa. 

These made me very thirsty!!!

Tonight we are even going to make an easy dinner.  Larry is going to have a lean burger grilled on our Foreman, and I am going to have another Quorn chik’n patty with TJ’s BBQ sauce.  I think I may be in love!  And because you can’t have a “burger” without fries, I am going to broil unseasoned fries until they are nice and crispy.  Doesn’t get much better than that! 

   George agrees!

Have a wonderful night! 


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


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Is it Friday yet???

Happy Humpday everyone!  Only two more days till the glorious weekend!

If you’re wondering whether or not I have accomplished my goal of doing a perfect pull-up last night…  well…  the answer is… not quite.

(Poor kitty)

I cheated a bit!  I put one leg on the chair and pulled up with my arms and back as hard as I could.  My goal is to over time use the chair less and less until I can do one on my own. :) 

After a most grueling workout, I threw together a quick and tasty dinner.


Garlic greens and sweet corn quinoa from Clean Cooking.  I also broiled a Quorn Chik’in Patty topped with Trader Joe’s All Natural Barbecue Sauce. 

After closely examining my store brand BBQ sauce, I noticed that the very first ingredient was High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Seriously?!?!?!?!  Is nothing safe?!?!?!

While I don’t believe that it is possibly to eliminate all processed foods from our diets in today’s day and age, I do think there are major advantages to reducing the amount of HFCS consumed. 

(Here’s a neat post on the risks of consuming too much HFCS.) 

So, in comes Trader Joe’s to save the day! 

TJ Feb Freezer Feature




It has a nice smoky taste with a little bit of sweetness and a bit of spiciness, too!  A perfect combo, if you ask me!




I just finished an intense 60 minute kickboxing sesh, and as I type I am munching on some herb flavored Mary’s Crackers and, of course, Trader Joe’s garlic hummus dip.


Tonight for dinner we are having breakfast for dinner.  Yum!  🙂

Enjoy the rest of your day and pray for a two hour delay!!!


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


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Pull-Ups or Throw-Ups

I have NEVER been able to do a pull-up.  In elementary school, when we worked on the Presidential Fitness award, I always missed getting the award because of pull-ups.  I could do the flex armed hang far longer than anyone else.  I could v-sit way further than anyone else  And I could run  just as fast as the boys.  But I COULD NOT DO A PULLUP!

I never got one of these babies.

  Darn pull-ups 😦

Well, not anymore, my friends, not anymore.  Tonight I will begin my quest toward being able to do the perfect pull-up. 

Tonight’s workout is legs and back.  The program I am following includes lots of lunges, squats, and yep, you guessed it…  pull-ups. 

Last week, I punked out and used the bands to simulate pull-ups, but I know that I didn’t get a very good back workout.

So, I’ve hung the pull-up bar above the bedroom door, and I’ve strategically placed a chair below the door for support, and I WILL DO A PULL UP tonight! 


Either that or I’ll throw-up…  either way’s a sign of a good workout, right???

Check back later to see how it goes!!!  🙂


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

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Taco Pie

After a 90 minute extreme power yoga video, I finally mustered up my remaining strength to make dinner. 

That is after I laughed at the video instructor for ohming way louder than necessary for the last 2 minutes of the video…  in leggings way too tight for ANY man!!!

Dinner Tonight = Taco Pie.


In college, my aunt made this delish dish full of cheese and pure fattening yumminess.  I quickly learned how to replicate, and it became a most often requested dish for special occasions (Read– super FANCY ZTA date parties 😉 ) 

For the Larry version you need:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 package of Mexican or Taco Rice (to be a bit on the healthier side use brown rice)
  • about 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • taco cheese
  • salsa for spreading
  • sour cream

Cook rice according to package.  Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a pan.  Add the taco seasoning and 2/3 cup of water.  Simmer on low heat until the water is reduced.  Once the rice is done combine and mix it with the ground turkey. 

Spread a thin layer of salsa on the bottom of a square baking dish.  Top with a tortilla, then meat mixture, and cheese.  Repeat until you are all out of meat!

Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted.

Top with sour cream and enjoy! 🙂

Lately, I’ve had to pass up on the dish delicioso, because I wasn’t quite sure how to make it without meat.  Until now…

Remember when I made these babies???

Well, I decided to apply the same principal to the taco pie.

I baked 2 sweet potatoes in the oven at 425 for about 45 minutes.  The potatoes fell right out of their skin.  I then mixed the SPs with 2 cups of cooked black beans (I forgot to drain and rinse them, so the potato didn’t turn out so orange and pretty this time).  I also combined some leftover chopped red peppers and a few handfuls of spinach.  I then followed the above meat version layering method, but with the sweet potato mixture as the “meat,” and baked it along side Larry’s.  How sweet… 😉


I’m on a major mango kick, so I used Private Selection Mango Peach salsa. 


Almost as good as the original, but I highly recommend not forgetting to rinse and drain the beans before making. 


Next taco pie experiment = black beans and rice taco pie :) 

Enjoy your evening!!!!


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


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And the winner is…

Congratulations to Commenter #8: Emily Patrouch!!!!!

The numbers generated by this widget come from RANDOM.ORG’s true random number generator.

(I used True Random Number Generator to pick the winner.  They have cool looking widgets, but for some reason it’s not showing up in the post.  Anyone know how to make this work using Windows Live Writer?)

Emily said:

Comment on Ode to My Body by Emily Patrouch

Today, February 22, 2010, 55 minutes ago | Emily PatrouchGo to full article

I LOVED this post….of course not about your surgery, pain and recovery but about your acceptance. I had to have a c-section and it devastated me, absolutely devastated me. How could I not give birth? Something that is supposed to be natural, something that my body was designed to do? But in time I learned it was my duty to get my child in to this world as healthy as I could. My scar lets me know that I did just that. I am pretty lucky in that my doctor did a great job, it’s actually a beautiful scar (if there is such a thing!). I think with life happening around us it’s hard sometimes to find self-worth when you aren’t a size 1 or wearing the latest fashion trend. But reading blogs like yours can really help a gal out! Thanks Jen!

Emily, send your mailing address to JenSanders52 at comcast dot net, and I’ll order your year subscription to Shape Magazine ASAP!  Congrats again!

Thank you to everyone for all of the wonderful comments!  Each and every comment was such an inspiration! 

Here are some highlights and common themes among the comments about learning to love your body:

1)  Most women feel most beautiful when they are active.

2) We need to stop comparing ourselves to others, and  learn to love the skin we are in.

3) Our bodies are incredibly strong and capable.  They pull us through surgeries, marathons, and child birth.  We should take the time to be good to them 🙂

I began writing this blog as a creative way to express myself, to become a better writer for my students, and to chronicle my day to day happenings.  But it has turned out to be so much more than just an online journal! 

It’s conversations like the one presented in the giveaway that truly cause me to slow down, and do some serious reflection.  I’ve never taken the time to think about loving my body, much less stopping to appreciate it.   

This may sound corny, but I’m beginning to feel a little lighter.  Not lighter like I’ve lost ten pounds and the scale is my new best friend.  But I feel lighter when I walk… like there isn’t such a tremendous weight on my shoulders.  I’ve been breathing deeper, and things just seem brighter. 

Please feel free to comment on absolutely anything that you read on Happy Heart, Happy Mind.  Your comments give me more opportunities to stop and reflect just a bit more!  We can learn so much from one another.

Check back later tonight for Taco Pie recipes suitable for both carnivores and herbivores!  


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

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