Friday, January 23, 2015

Nutrition Journey 4: Quotes and out on my own!

With all of the holiday and test craziness, I missed something pretty fun. Check it out!
Click to embiggen!

I haven't linked or put the name of my dietician on the blog because I wasn't sure how she'd feel about what I've written. Happily, I told her about my posts and not only did Blair come by and read but she asked if she could use some quotes! Of course I said yes. This issue of Good Health came out in November and that was exciting. I have had a great experience with Blair and highly recommend connecting with her or Schilling Nutrition if you want to explore the idea of seeing a registered dietician.

I am on my own right now although Blair and I have emailed a couple of times. She recommended a book called Intuitive Eating I plan to pick up. The best thing is that I have the tools and knowledge to make wise choices--that's a phrase I say to Autumn every morning before I drop her off, by the way--and it's nice to know I can make another appointment if anything changes and I need to make an adjustment I don't feel comfortable making on my own. Frankly, it's not unlike seeing a counselor. I like knowing that if life gets overwhelming, I can call the counselor I have seen off and on for several years. I suspect this dietician thing is somewhat similar. I also like having someone I can recommend to folks who are interested.

Autumn is getting better with chopsticks. She has graduated to the ones that don't have with finger rings!

Right now what I'm working on is breakfast. I'm in good shape with my breakfasts but I'm trying to get Autumn on a good "starch, protein, fruit, fat" schedule. She's a fantastic eater for lunch and dinner but I think she might be a little like Mike and just not want to eat much in the morning although she mentions being super hungry by lunchtime. Today I put a few nuts in her cereal and earlier this week I found out she doesn't like bagels or sausage! It's kind of fun and a little like a puzzle plus I feel like Autumn is at the perfect age to teach healthy eating. Actually, any age is probably good but she is growing and hungry all the time so I get to teach her about good snacks (a protein and a carb!) and we aren't having to unlearn old habits.

One of the best meals I had last year was at Back A Yard in the Bay area. I want to go back SO BAD.

It's really cold so although I keep telling myself I'm going to fitness photos, I cannot bring myself to do it. I took some in the summer wearing a 2 piece and I'd like to do it again. Really, it's less to be all "look how fabulous I am!" and more "hey, doesn't matter how you look, you can be healthy and strong!" I feel good. And that's nice. I do think I've had some body changes but once I get my measurements and pictures, I'll be able to tell a little better what all this heavier lifting and healthier eating has done to me on the outside. On the inside, like I said, I feel good despite a lot of work-related stress. I suspect I'd be a lot sicker and a lot more tired without the good diet and movement.

Anyway, I still have more to update (insulin meds, the food diary, not counting calories...stuff like that) but I'll wrap it up with a recipe! Mike LOVES this meal and Autumn chose it over another leftover option on leftovers night so that's a good endorsement. It's easily doubled and adjusted to be a vegetarian meal and perfect for cold, winter days. Tonight I'm going to try it in our new rice cooker and see how that goes. Mike posted the recipe in a friend's healthy eating Facebook group and several people have made it and loved it! The original recipe is here. This is my version.

Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole
(serves 6)

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
1 tsp. salt (optional/to taste)
1 cup grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat chicken broth to boiling in water kettle, on stovetop, or in microwave. Then, combine all ingredients in a 9x13 dish except cheese. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 50-55 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

Update: I made this in the rice cooker last night and it went really well! We just got a new one that would be overkill for a lot of people but we eat a lot of brown and white rice and supposedly this one is the best at cooking brown rice. I put all the ingredients except the cheese in the rice cooker, set it to brown rice, and turned on the timed start because I wanted it to start while I was away. When it was done, I sprinkled the cheese on top and closed the lid until the cheese melted. I'd definitely do it this way again! One more note: try the casserole with salsa on top. So good!

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    California Wrap Up

    Now that the holidays are past, I thought I'd finish up the touring posts of my trip! I think I mentioned that Mike, Autumn, and my mom came along. My mom stayed the whole time but Autumn and Mike were with me Friday through Tuesday. Well. Saturday. We arrived in California after midnight Pacific time. Saturday we went to Big Basin with our friends Shang, Lisa, and Lily. Sunday and Monday we wandered downtown San Francisco around my class schedule. We went to the Golden Gate Bridge Park and only saw a fraction of it in the time we had. We did get to see all of the Japanese Tea Gardens which was pretty amazing, even in winter.

    Of course, we had to see the Golden Gate Bridge. We found out that it is not, in fact, red. It's international orange! Autumn got a bridge ornament and an international orange color pencil at the gift shop. She collects snow globes and the gift shop had *the* coolest fog globe. We bought her one on the sly and gave it to her for Christmas. It's a little goofy to mention something like that but I've seriously never seen a snow globe that was so pretty. The real Bridge was cool and so were the places to explore nearby. Autumn especially enjoyed the earthquake simulator. Next time, I'd love to walk some of the trails and maybe see Alcatraz.

    Autumn liked the mystery of this tunnel. And I like this facial expression! It ended up being a really short tunnel to some old battle earthen works and walking trails. You could see the bunkers where people would enter to work the cannons and guns along the way. I wish Fort Point was open when we were there because that would have been really cool!

    While we were in San Francisco, Autumn missed a few days of school. I decided that we could do work anywhere but a trip to San Francisco would be worth missing the class time. Her teacher was great and gave us everything Autumn needed to stay caught up. I sent her teacher this photo and she wrote back not to make Autumn work too hard! It turns out I was right that it wouldn't be terrible to miss the first part of the week because last week Autumn came home with a great report card for that 9 weeks!

    Oh, and it was funny because our hotel was near a lot of companies whose product we use. Logitech was on the same street and and every day on the way to the dojo, I passed Facebook's headquarters!

    I don't think we had a terrible traffic experience although parking wasn't very fun downtown. Fortunately, all the times I needed to get to classes, the traffic was always heavy in the opposite direction. I was feeling pretty good about it all until Monday night when there was an accident on the bridge I had to cross and I was on the bridge for almost 2 hours. People were turning off their cars and getting out to visit each other! Many of my California friends said that was my official state welcome, especially since I could see my exit!

    This is a really grainy photo but isn't it fun!! We went to Stanford on Monday so I could attend a class with Hayashi Sensei (far right) who was on my testing panel and has been kind enough coach me through all of this. She, Adrienne (next to Hayashi Sensei), and Victor were invaluable and I couldn't have passed this test without their help. As it was, I passed with good remarks rather than just squeaking by which is fantastic considering I had 5 training days to clean up and make sure I was within the testing standard. It absolutely wouldn't have happened without folks, and not just the ones I mentioned, taking time before, during, and after regular classes to guide and polish me. It's funny, all the things I thought would be a problem for me...weren't, ha! Hip throws weren't too bad and I was worried about that. But a couple things I thought I had down were a little too far off of what they like to see which is mainly a function of our school being out of touch (literally) for too long.

    The day after our Bridge, Stanford, and American Girl Store visits, Mike and Autumn headed home. It was hard saying goodbye to them but I knew that they would just be bored because, with the exception of a visit to Chinatown, I pretty much ate, slept, and trained. One afternoon we had this pretty rainbow. I didn't catch it on my cell phone but it was a double! I don't really believe in signs, we were burned too many times with positive looking things during our attempted adoptions, but I did choose to take some encouragement from the pretty sight.

    The day of my test, I didn't do any extra training but I was going to go crazy if we didn't do *something* so we went to Chinatown! It's probably a good thing we didn't go with Mike and Autumn because I think they would not have liked the crowds and clutter. It went great, though, because I looked up a parking garage on yelp, went straight there using Google Maps, paid a couple dollars, and bam, we were in Chinatown. No parking drama! We souvenir shopped, people watched and ate at a restaurant we don't know the name of because everything was in Chinese and we ordered by sight or by pictures. We also went to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory in one of the alleys. It was a tiny strip where people sat in a row making the cookies! I bought bags for myself and for Philip and Matt who helped me train in Memphis.

    The dojo where I trained was really nice. A good size without being cavernous and their fan cracked me up. It was HUGE and the brand name was Big Ass. I know. So adolescent but still. I giggled. In my fantasies I have a shomen at my school with all the proper items. That's me getting ballroom dipped, by the way.

    Did I mention that the school is huge? This is part of the crowd that watched me test. So, I traveled almost 2000 miles to a strange city and a strange school where strange people watched me! Not intimidating AT ALL................................

    But it was an experience and many of the strangers weren't strangers by the end of it all. I also had a good time watching Stephan reconnect with old friends from his Utah days. I can't remember if I mentioned it before but I am Stephan's first student to test for Shodan!

    Coming home was so nice although the trip was fun and interesting and challenging. I missed Mike and Autumn and next time I test I want to make sure they are there for it rather than visiting at the beginning of the trip. We talked about having them fly in on Thursday and then we'd go home Monday and do our touring on Saturday and Sunday. I could see that being an option in a couple of years when I do this again. I came home to a nice little welcome home set up. All of Autumn's favorite friends! And...a cute bucket.

    One last thing...I also came home to a new faucet, ha! Mike spent Saturday putting this in all by himself. I'm not sure how we ended up dividing things this way but I do things like hang pictures and put things together and he does plumbing and anything involving the attic. We need to trade plumbing and hanging since he's tall and I fit in small places! I think it's less physical suitability than what we can be patient with, though. Plumbing makes me angry, hahaha. Anyway, we haven't had more than a trickle of hot water for months. I kept telling myself that Laura Ingalls Wilder and her mom didn't get hot running water. Many people now don't have hot running water. But I just couldn't help REALLY WANTING HOT RUNNING WATER. Because if it's an available option, I totally can use it for my greasy pans!! Well, now I have hot water in the kitchen again! Yay and thank you, Mike!

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    All the Trimmings

    We had a pretty fun holiday and hope you did, too! This week we're getting back to our schedules and closing out 2014 business so it's all crazy and a teeny bit stressful so I am going to have fun and post Christmas decoration photos! I lost the first two weeks of December between my trip to San Francisco and having strep and the flu. A decorator friend had planned to come help me decorate for our various holiday events as trade for some work but it didn't work out that way. I love Christmas so I couldn't NOT decorate so I put some things together. By the way, we did host Jerry the Elf! He isn't too mischievous and he certainly wasn't this crazy year but he brought his Acts of Kindness and spent Christmas Eve in the Nativity set.

    Half of our prelit tree didn't work so I had to add extra lights. After Christmas, the rest of the lights died so I guess I'll restring it after I get the ornaments off. No, I haven't finished taking down the Christmas decorations. Sigh. Do you see the propeller by the stack of sticks? Eventually that's going to go on the wall behind Mike's desk. Mike's sister in law's family was getting rid of it so we took it!

    I HAD to show off my chalkboard. I didn't think it all the way through when I made it. I'm not very good at drawing so the word art has been sketchy. I copied this from someone, though, and I'm super happy. Plus, I can leave it up all winter, yay! This is the first year we put up this new tree. Penny gave it to us and it's fantastic! I love having some colored lights.

    This Christmas wasn't too hard emotionally, other than the usual thinking about how the boys we might have adopted are celebrating and how much fun a 3 year old Garrett would have been. It seemed like we were so busy (or sick) that we didn't have time to dwell. The one hard thing was deciding to buy new stockings. I know this is so silly but I wanted to buy pretty stockings and holders but I put it off until Garrett. And then failed adoption 1. And then failed adoption 2. So, this year I said screw it I AM GETTING MY STOCKINGS. I shopped in person, which I rarely do, and found the stockings at Kohl's and the holders at Pier One. I originally got 2 gifts and two reindeer but the reindeer freaked Autumn out so I got two more gifts. Too funny. The fourth stocking is for my mom who spends the night Christmas Eve, by the way. Putting away the old stockings and our old holders and knowing there most likely won't be a 5th stocking on the wasn't fun.

    But, this kind of was. I have a really tough time doing the china cabinet because even with a step stool it's a pain because I'm so short. But I really like how it turned out. I wove in the lights and the deco mesh and added ornaments at the top and 4 of the big candy canes. I got to use my new apothecary jars. I've been collecting inexpensive ones at places like TJ Maxx and Home Goods ever since a couple of my big vases were cracked in various incidents.

    When I was out buying my stockings, I made an impulse buy. I was feeling super down and saw that happy little penguin. Isn't he adorable?? He made me smile so I got him, too. Plus, he fits right in, doesn't he? I need a runner for this table but I didn't see one  I like and I never can make the deco mesh runners like other folks so I quit trying.

    This side always looks so sedate in comparison to the crazy china cabinet. I used some real greenery for the first time. I never have because I have some fake stuff and I always wonder if the real thing will last from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I think it would? I figured I'd give it a go since they had some nice branches at Costco for a good price and I was decorating way later than usual.

    I put some more of the greenery in here. I always end up green and gold in my BLUE dining room but I guess it works. I have a lot of blue accents in my green living room so I guess I'm consistent at least. I love, love, love these LEDs I found on sale at Pier One.

    I saw a display similar to this and could not resist. I cut the berries from the nandinas in our yard. I believe they are poisonous to cats so I didn't put them anywhere Molly could reach them. Autumn was so enamored of the lights and lanterns that when we had friends over after New Year and for a New Year's Eve pajama breakfast, she wanted the kids to sit in the dining room. I even found some really fun gold placemats at Home Goods on clearance after Christmas! She felt SO grown up.

    And that's it for Christmas at our house! I'll be back soon with more stories from San Francisco and another nutrition post.