Tag Archives: books

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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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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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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Life is Good

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Isn’t this a cute mug???  One of my students gave it to  me as an end of the year present and I absolutely adore it!

And can you believe it?!?!?!?  I am actually home on a Saturday!!!  This hasn’t happened in a LOOOOOOONG time.  In fact, I was so befuddled by being home on a Saturday that I forgot about the Saturday Farmers Market.  The one Saturday I’m home and I missed it.  Oh, well!  There’s always a Saturday next month 😉

Yesterday I was a pretty happy and healthy girl.  I woke up pretty sore (and am still sore today).  The Kardashian workout really rocked my body!

As I was doing this workout I didn’t think it was as intense as the Yvonne Strahovski workout, but my muscles are begging to differ.  I am S-O-R-E!  And I did this workout almost 4 days ago!!!!!

Because I was having  a hard time walking without wincing ;), I decided to try and swim laps for exercise.  Swimming is an excellent way to burn calories without putting strain on your body.  The water provides excellent resistance for muscle toning, which means you get a great cardiovascular and strengthening workout in one session.

I have to confess, however, that I’ve never been a super strong swimmer.  I was a life guard in high school, but I was never on a swim team, and I never swam for fitness.  Swimming was just something I did for fun. 

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I decided that that needed to change.  Since I have a pool membership and I enjoy sitting at the pool reading, I decided to combine relaxation with a workout.

I packed my pool bag with lots of sunscreen, a sun hat, an excellent read (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson), and my waterproof heart rate monitor. 

I read during kid swim and swam during adult swim.  🙂

In total I did 32 minutes of freestyle laps.  I can do 50 yards in one minute, but I had to rest for 30 seconds between laps.

My heart rate monitor said I burned approximately 289 calories, and Larry and I estimated that I swam about 1,000 yards which is about 914 meters.  Not too bad for a swimming newbie. 

Swimming is definitely different from running.  When I am running I can control my breathing in such a way that I feel like I am breathing normally.  This is not so with swimming.  I have to learn to get into a rhythm with my breathing, so that I don’t have to take a break between laps. 

And let me tell ya!  Swimming wears you out!  I was exhausted!  It reminded me of the summers of my childhood when my brothers and I would swim for hours and then come home and crash.  My mom must have been on to something there 😉

Once home, I treated myself to a Green Monster.  It was green and glor-i-ous!

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-1 scoop of protein powder

-1 bananna

-1 cup frozen peaches

-1 cup almond milk

-2 tablespoons chia seeds

-3 cups cooked spinach

Today I am planning on taking a BodyCombat class at the gym and then heading to Target to see if I can find a cute and cheap summer dress to wear to our friends’ wedding shower this evening. 

Mozoltov!

~Jen

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

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Books and BBQ

Oh, boy!  Am I tired! 

Last night I went to my first ever book club.  Yes, I am a certified reading specialist and have  never been book club member.  It’s a shame, I know.

I must say it was the most fun I have had in a while.  I met some really awesome ladies, ate some incredible food, and had wonderful and somewhat unexpected conversations. ;) 

We discussed The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

The Help[Source]

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I love reading southern books with strong female heroines.  If you have not read this, I highly recommend adding it to your summer to read list.

Because this story takes place in the south, the girls decided to do a southern themed dinner.  There are a few vegetarians in the group, so I decided to make a dish I saw several months ago on Peas and Thank You for BBQ tofu.

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I really didn’t know how this dish was going to go, and I know it’s a bad idea to try out a new recipe for strangers, but I just couldn’t resist.  I chopped a red pepper, half a Vidalia onion, and two blocks of extra firm tofu.  I pulled out the slow cooker and combined all of the ingredients with half a bottle of Annie’s All Natural Organic BBQ sauce.  I then set the cooker to low and went to work.

Annie's Original BBQ Sauce - Organic package photo[Source]

I couldn’t wait to get home from work yesterday to see how the BBQ turned out.  The first thing I did when I walked in the door was tear off the lid, grab a spoon, and taste a little bite sized piece of tofu.  The first bite was a little bland, so I added more BBQ sauce and a little sea salt.  I also drained some of the fluid that had collected in the bottom of the slow cooker.  I think the key to this recipe is to press all of the water out of the tofu before cooking it. 

It didn’t turn out too, too bad, but I may make some adjustments next time.  I’ll definitely press the tofu longer, and I’m thinking I’ll probably use Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce instead.  I just enjoy the taste of TJ’s a lot more than Annie’s.

I got home pretty late and fell asleep quickly.  However, around 3:30 AM I woke up and could not go back to sleep.  It was the worst!  My mind just wouldn’t shut down!!!

Tomorrow is the last day of school, so my to-do list is pretty long.  My best friend is also getting married Saturday.  The rehearsal dinner is tomorrow night out in the mountains, so I have a LOT to get done by tomorrow afternoon. 

Hopefully tonight my exhaustion will overpower my overactive brain, and I’ll get a full night’s sleep.  I’m even hoping to fall asleep extra early, so I can get up and do a quick run before the day begins.

I hope you are all having a fantastic week!  Happy almost Friday!!!

~Jen

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

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Go-Go A Go-Go!

Happy Hump Day!  I hope you had a good one!

Yesterday was super busy, as I anticipated, but I think I handled it gracefully and did not allow myself to get overly stressed.  After work, I tutored for an hour then came home to finish up preparations for Sarah and Sam’s welcome home from the hospital dinner. 

I felt super rushed, so I hope the dinner tasted OK.

I got to see little baby Samantha Grace, who is just as precious and as perfect as can be.

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This is one proud papa! 

Here’s a picture text I received from the new momma who claims to be a member of the clean plate club.  Guess dinner was somewhat edible! 😉

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After making dinner for Larry, Brian and myself, I crashed.  Yesterday was GO, GO, GO.

Today after work I rushed to the library to see if my books that have been on hold for 3 days were still being held.  Three days is the limit they will keep them.  I was lucky to catch the girl as she was clearing the shelf.    She was so nice and gave them to me off the cleared cart!  Whew!  I’ve been waiting on these two to come in for a while.

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eat, drink & be vegan by Dreena Burton and The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. 

I have seen pictures of meals from eat, drink & be vegan on other blogs and have been extremely curious to try them!  I’ve also been wanting to read The Kind Diet ever since I saw Alicia on Oprah a few months ago. 

So far I’ve read a few chapters of The Kind Diet and the two things that have really stood out to me are:

1) When you eat meat or dairy products, you are consuming and absorbing all of the toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, and pathogens that were in the animals.  Some scientists even believe that the high levels of adrenaline and stress hormones released through an animal’s body before being slaughtered may also be passed onto the dinner plate.  Something to consider, I guess. 

2) Going vegan can clear the skin, help you lose weight, give you more energy, and smooth your digestion. 

Although I do not think I can go entirely vegan, I am willing to reduce the amount of dairy that I consume.  These claims seem too good to pass up.  I just love cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, and chocolate way too much to swear off it forever. 

Tomorrow will be another busy day, but it ends with a hair appointment at my favorite salon 🙂

Ta-Ta for now!  Have a wonderful evening!!!!

Would you pass up on your favorite foods if you knew doing so would alleviate skin problems, low energy levels, digestion problems or other health concerns???  Why or why not?

~Jen

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

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Clean Eating on a Dime

I have discovered something wonderful that I simply must share. 🙂

Each month, Clean Eating Magazine features Five Fast Dinners for under $50.  Usually I pick and choose from these five meals and make them randomly throughout the month.  However, this month I decided to devote one entire week to these Clean Eating meals, and I tell ya, dinner has never been easier, or healthier!

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The menu also includes a shopping list, so you won’t forget anything!  (You can also download the lists here.)

Last night I made Steak Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce.

Larry had steak that was seasoned with taco seasoning, cumin and cinnamon. 

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I used black beans with the same seasoning and the juice of one lemon  instead of steak and it was fantastic. 

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Rather than being full of fat and calories, these tacos were full of veggies and fresh flavors.  We used romaine lettuce, red, yellow, and orange peppers, cilantro, and tomatoes to fill our tortillas.  It was comparable to Chipotle’s fresh flavors.  No joke!

If you don’t know what to make for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, this would be perfect!  I almost wish I’d waited just a couple more days.   😉

Well, I’m off to read another few pages of The Sound and the Fury.  After struggling to find a new book to read (I just finished The Help.  It was wonderful!), I decided to go back to the classics.  Faulkner sure knows how to make you work for a story!

Happy almost Cinco de Mayo!

How do you plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo???  Meg and I are planning a 6 mile run before going out for a drink and some comida de Mexico!

~Jen

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

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