2 years ago today…

There must be something about the day after Christmas because 2 years ago today was the last time I posted anything on this blog. Here I am again, the day after Christmas, without an idea as to when the last time I posted was until I logged on. In short, I’M BACK!!!

I’m not going to pretend that I will pick up right where I left off because a LOT has changed in these past 2 years. For one, I’m married now, have a acquired a 3rd dog (I’ll have to tell you that story later), have moved back to Tacoma (which is something that I never thought in a million years that I thought I would do), graduated from USC and am now an MSW, a LICASW actually. I have a kid in high school now, too. Lots of changes.

Now that the holidays are mostly over, I find myself reflecting on what to do now. I am thinking about how I am going to clean up my diet after all of the cookies, pies, and other goodies these past couple of months. I am also thinking about how to clean up my finances because I don’t know about you all by I spent a lot of money on gifts this  year. I am grateful that we’ve been blessed with the ability to give nice gifts to the kids and our family members but still, it was a lot. Man, kids’ gifts get more expensive as they get older don’t they? On top of that, my grace period is ovnew year new me BSer and I have to start paying back my student loans (eek!).

Ok, now, please be advised that this is NOT a “new year, new me” manifesto. Those are annoying, no offense. I am making a promise to myself that I will do more of what I want to do from now on. What are those things? Well, cooking and blogging of course. Grad school kicked my ass and sadly I have not been cooking as much as I used to. No cooking, means no blogging. So there will be more blogging, too. Running. I have had “half marathon” on my list of things to do for about 5 years now. That’s just ridiculous and indicative of the how many excuses I have given for why I have not done it yet. This post is already getting long so I’ll spare you those. Travel. Now that I’m back in the PNW I have to make to Canada this time. I say this time because during the 12 years I lived here before I never went (I know, a shame).

For the first matter of business, I will be coming back with a new project to overhaul our finances like I was saying earlier. We are like most American families and have a ton of debt. Most of it is mine from student loans and I won’t tell you how much because I’m embarrassed to but I will tell you I should have about 6 master’s degrees by now with the amount of student loan debt I have. We also have a bit of credit card debt from our wedding. What does this have to do with food? The grocery bill, duh. I am super meticulous when it comes to tracking our bills but other than bills I am lazy when it comes to our spending and that includes groceries. So, to remedy this, I am considering going to the envelope method where I will budget out our expenses and put cash into the respective envelopes. I’m wondering who else have actually done this and have it work. I see a million Pinterest pins from people who explain what it is and how it worked for them to pay off a trillion dollars in debt in a year but are they for real? That can’t be real, can it? Irregardless (I know that’s not a word leave me alone) I am going to try it and see how it goes.

The budget for groceries for our active family of 4 is going to be – drum roll please – $500. Is that insane? No seriously, I want to know. I did a quick calculation in my head, and I think that’s about how much we spend. I am going to take out $200 every 2 weeks and use the last $100 as a buffer so we don’t go over. Whatever is left over I guess can roll over into the next month, or we can save for a nice dinner out or something.

Ok so that’s about it for now. You will be reading a lot more from me and could really use any suggestions on how to lower costs for food for a busy family. That’s if anyone is reading this… Oh well, if you’re not. See you soon!

Lazy Sunday breakfast

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Hash browns, pan roasted heirloom tomatoes, over medium eggs with smoked salmon and dill, pancakes, and – last but not least – Bloody Mary. Then football and a long run later. It’s days like today that I’m glad I know how to cook because we are able to enjoy a great meal while still in our pajamas, no makeup, no shoes, no lines, and no snooty severs. Just good food and even better company.

Happy Sunday!

Another post-run snack that hits the spot: Chocolate Soy Milk

Image It’s low in fat, it has some carbs, some protein, even a gram of fiber, and  – hello – it has chocolate! This Trader Joe’s version is even fortified with vitamins. It’s perfect to replenish what was lost during a run. I’m going to try and double up my miles this week and am probably going to need something a little more than chocolate soy milk. Any suggestions?

Post-run snack

Post-run snack

After a late run last night, I was craving something a little salty but light. I made a quick miso soup with mushrooms and green onions and it was perfect!

Monday food plan

Good morning! I’m sad to say I did not wake up early enough to go on my run this morning but I did drag myself downstairs, pulled my yoga mat out, and did some poses and strengthening moves for about half an hour. I’m happy I did something!

I went ahead and planned out my day in meals last night and thought I would share it. So far, I have already eaten my oatmeal and am still working on my coffee.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal prepared with one cup unsweetened coconut milk, dried fruit mix, raw walnuts, and cinnamon.

Coffee with soy creamer

Snack: 1 organic pear and 1/4 cup raw almonds

Lunch:

1 cup Snap Pea, Edamame, and Radish Salad with 1 cup brown rice

Spinach salad with tomato and goat cheese crumbles, lemon for dressing

Snack: 2 cups green grapes, 1/4 cup walnuts

Dinner: Big ass Romaine salad with canellini beans, red onion, fennel, parsley, and my delish cumin, lemon, olive oil dressing

After dinner, I am going to stick to tea if I need a sweet fix. I love Good Earth’s Original herb tea. It is naturally sweet and decaffienated. It reminds me of the Market Spice Tea I used to get at Pikes Place Market in Seattle.

I’m going to try to go for a run this evening since it is finally starting to cool down at night. Now I just need to log my meals in myfitnesspal.com so I can really see where I stand. Happy Monday!

Dropping 10

OK, I am finally putting it out there that I am trying to lose 10 pounds. I am little embarrassed by it but if I don’t tell someone then I will not have the will power to really push myself to lose the weight. I’m not worried about the “ell bees” (lbs., I’m just trying to sound cool) per se, but I have been steadily growing out of my clothes for the past two years. I am getting close to 30 and would like to blame my age for why I am gaining weight but there has to be another way. My biggest struggle is that I have done low-carb diets in the past and I just cannot do all that meat, eggs, and dairy. Sure, I will lose probably 5 pounds a week but I will be a grumpy, uptight person while I’m doing it, not to mention that I just can’t stomach all those animal products. I eat a primarily vegan/vegetarian diet so “carbs” are definitely going to be a regular part of my diet. 

I’m not sure that my diet is that much of a problem, though. I have heard, “weight loss is 90 percent diet and 10 percent sweating it out in workouts.” I may be in denial, but I think my diet is pretty good. I eat lots of organic veggies and fruits, whole grains, and I drink a ton of water -no soda and little bit of alcohol on occasion. So if weight loss is 90% diet, then what’s my deal? I figured I don’t exercise enough. If I am being completely honest, I do not work out as much as I used to. Lately, I’ve been running 1-2 times a week and yoga maybe once a month. I used to run 5 days a week up to 7 miles at a time, and did weekly yoga. So did I shock my metabolism when I stopped all that?

I could use a bunch of excuses like, “I’m so tired at the end of the day,” “I can’t wake up in the mornings,” “I’ll start next week,” I have too much homework” … the list could go on forever. I do work full-time in a pretty stressful job working with mentally ill adults then have homework and/or class in the evening. My day is pretty full, but, still, there has to be a way. I don’t want to feel like this any more and I don’t want to buy any more clothes in a bigger size. Enough is enough!

I am not going to start next week. I am going to start THIS week, today, right now. I am putting it out there for anyone to see that I have admitted that I have let myself get way out of shape and I want to change it.  I am a planner so I have come up with a short term plan. First, I am going to log what I eat on myfitnesspal.com. I have used the site before for a school project and it opened my eyes to my addiction to sweets. Second, the only “carb” I am going to cut way back on is sugar. I love my sweets! It is going to be hard with all the Halloween candy lying around but I have to do it – no excuses! I am going to switch to unsweetened almond or coconuts milks, leave out the sweetener in my oatmeal, and save my sweets for one day a week treat (I am excited to try Vegetarian Ventures Pumpkin Cocoa Brownies in a week). Third, I am going to do at least 30 minutes of cadiovascular exercise in the mornings before work, either running or a work-out video (my Jilian Michaels, 6 wk abs DVD is exactly 30 minutes), 3 days a week and yoga one day a week. I am going to do this routine for a month and see how I do. Fourth and final step in my short term plan is to share with you what I am doing, because even if no one is paying attention, I will still feel like I am being monitored on my progress. The whole purpose of this goal is to be a better me. I’m happy with my looks but I do feel self conscious sometimes. I just know my body could be better, more physically fit. Even more than that, I want to be a good example to my kids that exercise is important and we show ourselves love by taking care of this body we were given.

That’s enough for now. I have already created a menu for myself for the entire day tomorrow but I will share that with you in the morning – after I work out!