Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday and Eating Out Again

By some miracle we made it to the gym very early in the morning. I think I see a pattern developing …. maybe. *fingers crossed* ;-) The picture above was the sun coming up when we left the gym.

I look this picture of the moon when we were heading to the car because it made me smile. Looking at things bigger than humanity, like nature, always has a way of putting things into perspective for me.

When we came home from the gym I made Dan a big bowl of his favorite fruit and nut oatmeal which contained: oats, water, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseed, cinnamon, powdered ginger, stevia, wild blueberries and walnuts.

Dan decided to wash this down with a cup of hot tea. This time I combined: sencha green, tulsi, dandelion root, chamomile and orange peel. Since it contained green tea I brewed it for 10 minutes (to extract the maximum EGCG) and finished by adding a little powdered ascorbate C (to enhance the absorption of the EGCG in the tea).

Once Dan was off to work I made myself a bowl of savory oatmeal for breakfast. This time I omitted the nutritional yeast to see how that would change the flavor. After my experiment I can safely say savory oatmeal is much better with the cheezy flavor of nutritional yeast than it is without out. This time my oatmeal contained: oats, water, cumin, no salt seasoning, wheat germ, freshly ground golden flaxseeds, frozen broccoli that I chopped, salsa, marinated sliced mushroom, roasted red peppers, and raw pumpkin seeds.

One of the things I like about savory oatmeal for breakfast is how filling it is. This bowl of oatmeal kept me satiated for hours. I love that it is low in calories, high in vegetables, and packed with nutrition. What more could you really want in a winter breakfast? What is your favorite healthy breakfast?

Knowing that we were going to go out dinner I had a simple snack for lunch of an orange and 2 Brazil nuts. I didn’t photograph it today because you have seen this many times. It looked like the photo above. ;-)

Our friend Phil is in town from Missouri for work. We had not seen him since September so I was really looking forward to dinner. Dan picked Phil up from the airport and then stopped for me and we dropped Phil at the hotel and went to the restaurant to chat with everyone while Phil checked his email and called the office.

Since it was Thursday it was wine tasting at the restaurant where we used to be regulars until we gave up drinking for health reasons. *sigh* While Dan was parking the car I said hello and talked for a few minutes and needed to hug a few people. Next I had to check in with Corey and hear all about his trip to San Francisco. He didn’t make it to Millennium but did have a great time. I loved hearing about his trip especially the food. He told me about a vegan flourless cake he had with cayenne and candied ginger that he thought was amazing. Needless to say I will be finding a way to make something with the same flavors that is also healthy. Corey kindly volunteered to be a taste tester. ;-)

When Dan arrived we chatted with Jen and got her caught on everything that had happened since we saw her last Saturday, LOL. Then we got to down to the business of food. Dan and I ordered a pot of green tea mixed with a strawberry, pear and hibiscus herbal blend. Phil had his usual Dewar’s on the rocks. Clearly there is consistency in the universe.

The guys had planned a few dishes for us so we started with the appetizer which included: roasted red peppers, orange and fennel salad, spicy chickpea salad, olives, marinated artichokes and cucumber slices. We had this with whole wheat flat bread and it was quite a treat since olive oil is verboten at our house. Phil had a similar appetizer plate but his also included house-made pickles, buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto di Parma.

Our next plate was another one of those dishes I would not have thought of on my own. This one was sautéed shitakes, criminis and leeks dressed with soy, mirin, rice wine, ginger and garlic. It was served on top of crispy flat bread and topped with baby arugula, red pepper and granny smith apple. The mushroom dish was very good; Phil had a taste and also enjoyed it. The mushrooms were chewy and meaty and the sauce wasn’t over powering. The green apple was a nice touch and added just the right amount of tartness to the dish.

Both Dan and I were full after sharing those two plates. We talked about getting a third one but decided that we would be stuffed if we did so we stopped eating. Besides we need to get up early Friday morning for the gym which meant we didn’t need to be overfull if you know what I mean.

Ian stopped by to chat before heading out for the evening. He is taking the weekend off to head to Philadelphia for a gymnastics meet with his little girl. Wasn’t it sweet of him to let us know he wouldn’t be around this weekend? Are we spoiled or what? LOL

Phil was slowing down fast and decided headed to the hotel before we were ready to leave which is to be expected given our restaurant staying power. Phil left Portland, Oregon this morning and stopped in Dallas before landing in Maryland. I am sure I would have been tired with that schedule too.

Here is a picture from our table as the evening was winding down. Ian had a good crowd tonight with the majority of the tables filled most of the night.

Making Dietary Changes Part 3:

I thought it was time to get back to the Dietary Changes section of the blog particularly since this one is about a week overdue. It was my intention to suggest two changes per month and I am a little behind schedule. Oops. ;-)

The first dietary change I proposed was eating breakfast. The second one was to reduce your intake of processed foods. Today I want to talk about drinking more water. I can almost hear the collective groans as I type this. I know what you are thinking water is bland, it is boring and you would rather have a diet soda right? The problem with diet soda is that it is nothing but a chemical concoction of nastiness. Have you ever read the ingredients in soda? Talk about nasty, bleh! :-P

Here is the ingredient panel from one brand of popular diet soda:

Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid and caffeine.

Doesn’t that just sound delicious? Obviously I am being sarcastic. Please ask yourself do you know what most of that even is or what it is doing in your body. At the very least I am confident you will agree that this doesn’t sound like food. Right?

When you put unnatural things full of chemicals into your body your liver and kidneys have to eliminate it before it causes trouble. My approach to health is to not put things like this into my body so that it has more time to focus on taking care of things that I can’t control like air pollution and free radicals. To me it makes no sense to ingest things like this that are nothing but nasty chemicals.

The reason that I recommend water is that most Americans are chronically dehydrated and this included me until not long ago. When I started adding more water to my diet I found many things improved for me. My skin was less dry, my eliminations were more predictable, my hunger seemed depressed, and I had more energy. It is amazing that something this simple and inexpensive can make a big difference but it did.

Why is water important? Your body is mostly water and your cells need water to function properly. Your cells use water to dissolve and transport vitamins, minerals, sugar and other phytochemicals. The average person loses 2% of their body weight every day through respiration, perspiration, urine, etc. If you are larger person, are physically active, are sick, over 55, drink a lot of caffeinated beverages or alcohol then you need more water than others. Additionally you can’t rely on your body to tell you it is thirsty because that mechanism doesn’t work as well as we age. Not drinking enough water can lead to kidney stones, constipation and fatigue. Water is critical for survival.

How much water do you need? That is an interesting question and one that there are many different opinions on. Some people say you need 64 ounces. Others say you should take you body weight divide it by 2 and drink that many ounces of water. The calculation would go like this: if you weight 150 pounds that divided by 2 is 75 which would be the number of ounces of water you should drink per day. I think how much water you need is much easier to determine. If the color of your urine is a very pale yellow almost clear then you have enough water. I use that gauge since it is easy to determine and you have constant reminders of how you are doing if you know what I mean. ;-)

If you don’t like the taste of plain water I have a few suggestions. Try adding slices of citrus or cucumber. Alternately you can add a splash of fruit juice (pomegranate would be my choice for health reasons). Another idea is make herbal tea since that isn’t a diuretic but does have more taste than plain water. I also like adding a few frozen blueberries that I muddle and a little fresh lemon juice. Fresh mint and lemon is also good in water. Once you start thinking about it there are many options for items you can add to make your water more flavorful. Do you have any favorite additions to make water more palatable for you? I would love to hear your suggestions as I am sure everyone else would as well.

Happy Thoughts:

It was been a hectic week but a good one. Here are my happy thoughts:

• Dan and I made it to the gym together Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning before he left for work. I have really enjoyed getting my exercise knocked out early in the morning. I hope we are back on track for making it to the gym every weekday morning. *fingers crossed*

• I have had a very busy week but I also got a lot accomplished and that is always something to be thankful for. All those years when I did nothing but work, eat and sleep are still very fresh in my mind. I realize how fortunate I am to have time to do things that most people can only do on the weekend.

• It was wonderful to see our friend Phil Thursday night for dinner. It is such a shame that he lives so far away. I always love talking to Phil. We spend some time last night talking about health, cancer, and nutrition. He has a cousin that he is going to get me into contact with that works in holistic nutrition. Sounds right up my alley does it? ;-)

• I loved hearing about the restaurant experiences Corey had in San Francisco. It is fascinating how he views things differently that I would since he has a background in the industry. I did get a few recipe ideas from Corey that I will be working on soon. I am such a food geek I love talking about food, can you tell?

• As crazy as this will sound I am thankful for my night guard that I picked up at the dentist earlier this week. The dentist told me I needed it because I was grinding my teeth at night and had worn them down a lot doing that. Since I don’t have TMJ I wasn’t sure I was grinding my teeth currently but if they were worn down I thought I would go ahead and get the night guard. Much to my surprise it wasn’t uncomfortable to wear and my jaw as very relaxed in the first two mornings after wearing it. I guess I have to say the dentist was right about the night guard. Since I was prepared to hate it I am very happy that things worked out better than I expected.

• Friday I had a chance to stop at my parents for my usual check in. It is nice to have time to look in on them and to make sure that they eat at least two healthy meals a week (Saturday and Sunday with us). I would love to convince them to eat more veggies and less meat but that isn’t going to happen. I have learned to be grateful for the small victories.

Signing out:

Friday has been a busy one for me but it was good. I found time to make a pot of marinara to have on hand for more pizza veggies. I also took time to pressure cook a pound of pinto beans to use of the never few days. While I was in the kitchen I made more walnut parmesan to use this week. I need to make a pot of soup but I haven’t decided what I am in the mood for yet. I would like to have that finished before Dan gets home so that we can relax this evening. Am I the only one that likes to spend the weekend relaxing and recharging my battery?

It is time for me to get a few more things done around here before my sweetie gets home from work. I am looking forward to spending the weekend with my hubby. Talk to you again tomorrow. Who knows I might even get inspired to make something interesting in the kitchen later today. I hope you are having a great Friday.


  1. The mushroom dish looks scrumptious. Glad you had such a nice day :) (and so glad I am now able to comment on your blog - not sure what was the problem)

  2. Glad you had a nice evening with your friend. Gorgeous picture by the way. It fits in nicely with my post that's going out shortly. Happy Friday!

  3. I love how much you enjoy getting to the gym early. It is so wonderful that you are able and willing to do that! I always enjoy seeing the beautiful pictures of the sunrises so thank you for sharing those!

  4. You oranges always look so much brighter than my oranges. And by the way your green tea commentaries always give me a little nudge to switch out a cup of coffee for green tea. You rock!


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