Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pasta with Raw Sauce

Guess who has been too busy to do much cooking lately? Yep, it would be me. There has been a lot of activity surrounding the sailboat and when you add that to an already hectic life something has to give. We have been eating things like green smoothies, strawberry/banana soft serve, oatmeal, black bean soup, cold veg and grain salads and fruit bowls.

Wednesday night Dan and I watched a sailing video. We both thought a refresher was in order and I will admit we needed to do that. However sailing seems to be like riding a bike and things are coming back to us quickly. Good thing huh? ;-)

Since I had not made pasta for dinner in ages I thought that would be a nice treat. While the whole wheat pasta cooked I made the sauce which is very simple and fast. This is a sauce I have made for years even before we were vegan.

Take a regular onion (not the huge ones from Costco), peel it and then thinly slice it on a mandoline. Place the onion in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta and sauce. Add some wine vinegar on top of the onion (about 2 – 3 tablespoons) and toss the onion in the vinegar. Now add some crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and black pepper. Grate or finely mince two cloves of garlic. Chop two to three large tomatoes and add those to the bowl as well. Toss to coat everything and taste for seasoning. When the pasta is cooked (I made about 1/2 pound so we had leftovers for Dan's lunch) add it to the raw sauce. I also julienned a big handful of fresh basil and added that to the dish. Simple, delicious and ready in the time it took to cook the pasta. This is definitely fast food my way. ;-)

Thank you!:

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the breakfast suggestions. Since I rely so heavily on my Vitamix I was a bit stumped on what we were going to do on the boat. Hopefully making smoothies at home and freezing them will work well but in case it doesn’t... I really wanted a back-up plan. I loved the creative ideas you provided. My head is spinning with variations on your suggestions which I will share as I make them.

On the breakfast front I am making another batch of no-sugar no-oil granola today. I am hoping the third time is the charm and that I will be ready to share that recipe very soon. Keep your fingers crossed that I get the spices and sweetness right this time. :-)

Happy thoughts:

Wow, what a week we are having. Don’t misunderstand that wasn’t meant in a bad way. Things are crazy here at the moment because of the addition of the sailboat activity.

• Both Dan and I are thrilled with everything that Island Dreams is doing to coordinate the work on the boat. Every time we see a new round of pictures she is looking more beautiful. :-) If you ever find yourself in Grenada on a boat you need to look these guys up. Not only are they efficient and professional but very nice as well. We are very fortunate to have found them thanks to our surveyor Robert Goodchild. As you can tell everything is going well with the boat and we are both ecstatic.

• Thursday is going to be a relaxing day at my house. At least that is what I have planned at the moment, we will see if life agrees with me. *fingers crossed* I would like a little down time before the weekend.

• I haven’t even thought about what we are going to do for the Fourth of July weekend. However I am very much looking forward to long weekend with my sweetie. Whatever we do I am sure it will be great. Maybe some time on the water is in order. I need to get some sun before the boat her since I am a little too pale at the moment.

• Our weather has been really pretty this week. There has been a little rain but mostly it has been fabulous. I need to get outside and enjoy some of this beautiful weather this morning before it starts to heat up. :-)

Signing Out:

I have a lot to do this morning so that I can get to my relaxing. If I stay on the computer it won’t get done. I hope you are having a fantastic week and I will talk to you again soon. :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quick and Simple Breakfasts

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about food that would be good on the sailboat. Obviously I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking on the boat but I also want healthy food on board.  Breakfast was the meal that I am the most concerned about because I don’t want to haul my Vitamix back and forth nor do I want to buy a second one for the boat because that seems wasteful (like a sailboat is the height of practicality as we all know, LOL).

I suppose I could make some green smoothies at home and freeze them solid in the deep freeze. Then I could let me thaw in the boat refrigerator or cooler and maybe they still be cold and slushy the next morning. However I will have to experiment to see how well that works.

We could always take fruit with us and eat that with some cashew yogurt and homemade granola for breakfast. That would make a nice breakfast and one that doesn’t take too much effort to put together on the boat. I will have to make the cashew yogurt and no-sugar no-oil granola at home but neither are difficult so they will both show up on the boat a lot I suspect.

It also occurred to me that I can take oatmeal on the boat. Lately I have been making steel cut oats at home which I cook in water with golden raisins, cinnamon, powdered ginger and cardamom. When the oats are cooked I stir in raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds and sliced almonds. Typically I pour a little almond milk over the top. You could also add some fresh fruit to the oatmeal.

Another option is non-breakfast food which I am fine with but Dan doesn’t love as much.

Other than these few ideas I am a bit at loss for what to make for breakfast on the sailboat. I am hoping that you have an idea or two about healthy breakfasts that require minimal prep time. If you have ideas please share I would greatly appreciate any and all suggestions.

Happy Thoughts:

What a crazy week I am having again. There has been a lot of activity at our place. So much for “dolce far niente”, personally I can’t wait for the sweetness of nothing to begin. However I suppose we have to do the work to get to the nothing part right?

• Things are moving along nicely with the sailboat. We are both thrilled with the progress so far and are very anxious to get our new baby home. Everything is starting to come together just as we had hoped. :-)

• Tuesday I had to run to the veterinarian to pick up meds for Her Royal Highness Luca Belle. Doc wants us to start to wean her off the steroids because of the side effects which are scary to say the very least. Please keep our little princess in your thoughts. We need to keep her asthma under control so that she can have surgery while also minimizing her exposure to the steroids.

• I spent some time yesterday watching the nutrition course from The Great Courses and enjoyed that. You know that I love that stuff right? It didn’t include much new information for me but I enjoyed it none the same. I never get tired of reading or hearing about nutrition. Can you say geek? LOL

• Don’t you love that it is Wednesday already and that we are half way through another week! *woo hoo*. I am already looking forward to the weekend. How about you?

Signing Out:

I have a lot of things to do around the house today so I need to run. Talk to you again soon. :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Challenge or Opportunity?

I posted this on Facebook today and I thought it was too good to not share on the blog. "Most of what you consider to be true about yourself are simply incorrect assumptions." When I read this I couldn't help but be touched by how true it was for us. Before cancer I would have told you that we couldn't give up meat and dairy let alone become extremely healthy vegans. However, I believe that when people set their mind to things we are all capable of much more than we realize. Look at us and the changes we made to our diet and lifestyle. Add to those changes that I wanted to bring the message that it is possible to eat a healthy and tasty vegan diet to other people struggling with chronic diseases.  In the beginning it was tough to keep writing the blog when I didn't have many readers or comments. But something told me to keep going and now I have over 400 followers and thousands of hits a day.  I only thing that changed was that I persisted.  The same is true of any change. Persistence it the key to success in most situations.

What assumptions do you have about yourself? Is there something that you think you want to do, exercise more, change your diet, get a better job, go back to school, etc., that you haven’t achieved yet? Have you convinced yourself that you can’t change your diet it because your family will never go for it, you need “the protein” because humans are meant to eat meat, you are big boned and will never be thin, a new job might be worse, and you can’t afford to go back to school or some similar story? For many people it is easier to convince ourselves that something isn’t possible than it is to move forward.  We are all comfortable staying where we are, even when we don't like it there, because the old pattern is familar.   However if you are willing to let go of the old stories that you tell yourself a world of possibilities opens up.

Challenges are opportunities in disguise but only when you view them that way. :-)  Do you have health challenges that you want to overcome or is it something else.  What do you want to change?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vegan on the Cheap & and Cooking Class

Time has completely gotten away from me recently. It seems like every time I turn around there is another task that has landed on my to-do list. I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to be able to cover everything we have been up to recently. Instead I am going to hit the highlights in the next few posts and then get current again.

First I want to share the “secret” that I have been holding back on. The people that follow me on Facebook already know. The new addition to the family is a sailboat, specifically a 38 foot Hunter. We had a sailboat in the past but our last one was more of a racing sailboat and this one is a cruiser. There has been tons of activity surrounding the purchase of the boat because she is in Grenada now and we have had lots to do from here to get her ready to come home to the Chesapeake.   Before someone asks I have no idea who is in the picture above other than someone who works for the firm that is coordinating everything for us in Grenada.

We settled on the name for the boat “Dolce Far Niente” which is Italian for the sweetness of doing nothing or pleasant idleness which is exactly what we plan to do on the boat. I am sure you will be seeing a lot of food that travels well once the boat arrives. Expect to see pictures of sailing cats as well since the fur children will be going with us on the boat. Something tells me the cats will be less than enthused about the boat but they will need to adapt. *fingers crossed* Let’s hope they decide to see things my way. ;-)  You guys know who is really in charge here right?  Hint, they have four feet not two.

I have been teasing Dan about how many other sailing vegans there will be on the bay.  I suspect we will be somewhat of an oddity at our marina.  Good thing I relish in being different I suppose!  :-) 

We are both looking forward to getting our new family member home.  Once she is here I imagine weekend blogging may be a problem due to connection speed when we are on the bay.  I guess this is something I will find out soon enough.

Cooking Class:

Last week I was back to cooking class. This particular class was “early summer salads”. Sounds like an easy one to make vegan right? Well it was. I am going to show you both the omni and vegan versions to give you an idea of how to make a dinner for everyone in your family since I know most of you have an omni spouse.

The first recipe was a roasted veggie salad. The omni version contained goat cheese.

The recipe for me omitted the cheese and added mushrooms. A simple switch and one dish was vegan and one not.  I would swap mushrooms for goat cheese any day.  :-)

To accompany this salad was a quinoa and garbanzo salad with fresh herbs which was naturally vegan because the quinoa was cooked in veg stock.  You could serve this with both salads and call it a meal.

The second salad was not so easy to make vegan because the star was a poached egg and crispy capicola with cheese crisp (frico).

Instead of trying to mimic egg or pork we substituted artichokes and cauliflower and added olives for saltiness.

The last dish was a salmon and veg spedini (Italian skewer) over a fruit and green salad with slices of avocado and feta.

My version was an all veg spedini over the same fruit and green salad. However my version also contained quinoa, garbanzo and chickpeas. You could also add cubes of baked tofu or tempeh to the skewers. Even the omnis were eyeing this salad which made me giggle inside.

After you have been vegan for a while it becomes much easier to modify dishes so that you have a vegan and omni version without much extra work. I hope the recipes above show you how easy it is to satisfy everyone in your family without making yourself crazy.

Vegan on the Cheap:

A few days ago on Facebook I received a question regarding how to eat a healthy vegan diet on the cheap. Since this question is one that I get often I thought I should write about this sooner rather than later.  Besides who doesn't like to save money?

There are many strategies for eating a healthy vegan diet inexpensively but the most important one is making your own food. What I mean by this is the following:


• Buy processed food (meat substitutes, faux dairy, protein bars, cookies, Kombucha, soda, chips, etc.)
• Eat out at restaurants (unlike us)
• Buy prepared food (salad bar, canned beans, hummus, etc.)
• Get all your produce at Whole Foods (you will go broke)


• Shop at farmers’ markets to get the best local produce at the best prices
• Make your own canned food from the produce you buy at the farmers’ market (canned tomatoes, no-sugar peaches, pickles, dried tomatoes, etc.)
• Eat in season as much as possible, the food tastes better, has better nutrition and costs less
• Buy from the bulk section of your grocery or health food store
• Shop Amazon Grocery for deals on dry goods will save you the drive to the store, they can be cheaper
• Find a friend with a membership to a warehouse store (Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s, etc.)
• Keep frozen veggies on hand for quick meals
• Prepare whole grains and beans (dried) in bulk and stash them in your refrigerator or freezer
• Learn to make your own bread (whole wheat foccacia is very simple and tastes great…assuming you eat bread that is)
• Have a few quick and easy recipes for those nights when you don’t have time to cook (this will save you from processed food and restaurant food)
• Learn to love a variety of salads
• Make a big of soup or stew each week, you can save the leftovers in the freezer
• Instead of kombucha or soda make your own flavored green or white iced tea to keep on hand
• Learn to make your own soy or almond milk
• Make your own nut cheese since the store bought stuff is expensive

I get a lot of questions about eating a healthy vegan diet on a budget. The funny thing is that we spend less of food now that we are vegan than when we were omni. However I don’t but processed food and that helps a lot. We would spend even less if we didn’t go out to eat so often but that isn’t like to happen and we would miss everyone at the restaurant if we stayed home. ;-)

In my mind the bottom line of changing your diet is to improve your health. This improved health will result in lower health care costs and a better quality of life. In the end you will spend less money living a healthy vegan lifestyle even if you do shop at Whole Foods and buy some processed food. A healthy vegan lifestyle can be as cost effective as you need/want it to be.

Happy Thoughts:

• Thursday was another good day for me. I had a very nice 4+ hour lunch with my girlfriend Deirdre. It was good to have time to get caught up since we haven’t seen each other much since she quit work to go back to college for her PhD. Don’t you love that she did that? Talk about chutzpah!

• Friday we had another wonderful day which we capped with dinner out to celebrate. Shocking right? We never go to dinner? Joking! We hadn’t actually planned to go out to dinner but we wanted to see Emily...long story.

• Saturday was a low key day which is exactly what we needed. Dan didn’t go to the office, which was very nice. We had a nice lunch with my parents and lounged around after that. Definitely a nice break from all the running around we have been doing lately.

• Sunday we had dinner with our friend Walid. His wife went to the beach so he had time to come out and play. Yes, we went to our usual place. Walid and Jackie used to live a couple of blocks from us so we have had many dinners there together. We all love Ian’s food in case you hadn’t noticed. ;-) Not to mention Sunday night was Emily’s last night so it was nice to be there for that. We had gone out to eat on Friday in case Walid had different ideas about Sunday. We will absolutely be staying in touch with Emily. In fact Emily is a graduate of MICA and is a wonderful photographer. I can’t wait to see the shots she takes from the boat. :-)

• The farmers’ market was great Sunday morning. We came home with our usual 6 bags of produce. The produce is really starting to come in now. I love having so much fresh local produce in the house. When we were are the market we ran into our friend’s Sue and her husband John. It was good to see them even though I was wearing a T-shirt, yoga pants and no make up. When John mentioned that it was nice to know that I could be casual *gasp* I initially felt a little under dressed but got over it quickly. I am not sure when I got over my need to be “made up” all the time. However it does save me time getting out the door to the market which is a good thing since I am not a morning person.

Signing out:

We just got home from dinner with Walid at 10:30pm. How we ever get up in the morning is beyond me. ;-) That is what happens when a bunch of night owls get together for dinner. We had a great time chatting with Walid and spending some time with Emily.

Both Dan and I are going to miss Emily. Thankfully she lives close by so we will still see her. It will be nice to have more time to chat.  Emily, I am so glad we were there for your last night.  We need to plan lunch when your life settles down and you have more time.  Hugs!  :-)

I hope your weekend was a good as ours. We were able to get in a lot of relaxing and socializing. It was definitely a good weekend for us. Talk to you soon, hopefully tomorrow which is the plan now.  Good night!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Will’s Last Day – Boo Hoo

In case you hadn’t noticed we are practically part of the family at the restaurant probably because we are there so often. ;-) This is what happens when you go to a restaurant multiple times per week I assume. We are there so often that we introduce ourselves to new employees. It is definitely not your standard restaurant and customer relationship to say the least. Of course we had to go to dinner for Will’s last day at the restaurant. We will definitely be in contact with Will in the future. Since Will is also a big fan of Jose Andres we will need to make a pilmigrage to DC for dinner some evening soon. Just because Will is no longer at the restaurant doesn’t mean we won’t see him.

For our “last meal” Will made recipes just for us for the last time (so sad). :-(  The first dish was a salad of cucumber, carrot and red bell pepper in a spicy Asian sauce.

The second course was avocado slices with a black bean, tomato and corn salsa.

The last course was a pomegranate molasses roasted tomatoes and asparagus on a whole wheat flat bread.

We stuck around until Will was ready to leave to chat for a little while and met his lady friend Becca which was nice. Turns out his girl friend Becca is also a sailor which gave us something to chat about besides Will. :-)  It was very sad for us to see Will leave the restaurant but we also know that he needs to be exposed to other chefs to broaden his experience. 

However on the upside, and there always is one, that means Ian will be making more "special" dishes for us in the future. It is tough to be sad about that.  :-)  Ian is so incredibility talented so I love to see what the flavor combinations he comes up with.  Yes I know we are spoiled and we both appreciate it.  The restaurant is really our home away from home.

Happy Thoughts:

• Although my week has been crazy hectic it has also been good. I loved spending Monday and Tuesday with Dan joining him for the “road trip” portion of his meetings. There really is nothing better than spending most of 4 days with my sweetie pie.

• Wednesday was a good day but also busy. I went to cooking class which was a lot of fun as usual and before that I stopped at DSW for shoes. There are few things that get me more jazzed than shoes. Aren’t these Anne Klein flats adorable? Since purple and pink are my favorite colors these were meant for me so I bought them.

• Tomorrow I am meeting my girlfriend Deirdre for lunch which I am very jazzed about. I haven’t mentioned this before but my girlfriend moved from Annapolis close to us a couple weeks ago. Needless to say I am looking forward to seeing her much more often. Hopefully tomorrow will be the first of many girls’ lunches. :-)

• It was nice to not have to rush out the door this morning. I loved being able to take my time exercising. Who said that? LOL

Signing out:

It is almost 11pm and I have only been home for about 30 minutes. Sorry this post is so short but once again I have run out of time. Whenever people say they would be bored if they retired as young as I did I wonder how that can be since I rarely have any free time.

Tomorrow should be a little less hectic. My plan is to translate that extra time into a nice long post. Talk to you again tomorrow. I hope you week is going as well as mine has been.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Normal is Only a Setting on the Dryer

This little sign sums up my life lately. Everything has been upside down and turned around lately, but not in a bad way so I am not complaining. However my time has not been own recently. I was out of the house all day yesterday and most of the day today. As much as I tried there was no way that I was going to get a proper post written, edited and on the blog today. Sorry guys, I really tried but I just couldn’t make it happen and get into bed at a decent hour.

Speaking of not normal how about this for a paint job? This car made me smile.  I would have loved to have seen the driver wouldn't you?  LOL

In case you were wondering yes I was chasing the duck to get her picture. Clearly she was not in the mood today.  However aren't the little moving feet adorable?  ;-)

All the pictures today are from my trip to Frederick, MD today with Dan. I will get more of the pictures from today on Facebook in the next few days. Fortunately for me Frederick has a lot of interesting old buildings and I spent quite a while wandering around with my camera.  For those of you who aren't in the Mid-Atlantic region I imagine you are starting to see how similar the architecture is around here.

Here are some shots from our very late lunch (if you consider 3:00 late for lunch). Somehow a 2 hour site visit turned into 4 and ½ hours. Good thing I had my camera with me as well as things to read. As you probably noticed Dan had to be naughty and get the panko coated fried asparagus. When you are in Frederick check out Isabella’s for tapas and ask for Carrie. The food was good and Carrie has a degree in nutrition. Since you read my blog I am sure you will enjoy chatting with her as much as we did. Carrie, if you are reading this it was a pleasure to meet you today. *waves hi* :-)

Tomorrow I have a number of things to do again which means it will be another crazy day. This week is shaping up to be hectic through at least Friday and possibly Saturday. I am definitely looking forward to a laid back Sunday. Talk to you again tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?

Last Friday we went out to dinner to celebrate some good news which I am not telling you about yet to build suspense. Come on, I have to hold some things back so that I have something to write about don’t I? ;-) I promise that I will give up the information…just not yet.

Needless to say dinner out means Ian was cooking. Having Ian around the corner means we have no motivation to venture far from home. Seriously why would we want to go somewhere else? His food is delicious, creative and fits most of our dietary criteria. I only say most because of the oil and salt but he has been cutting back on both for us which we really appreciate.

This particular evening Will was working and when he is in the kitchen he takes care of our food. Sadly Will has now gone to work at Woodberry Kitchen which I thought those of you who are local would like to know. According to Will it is his understanding that there is always at least one vegan entree on the menu there. Once Will has been there a little longer I will let you know about the vegan options.

Given that we were celebrating we decided to start the evening with a nice bottle of vino. Alan suggested a Sicilian red and who was I to argue? Just so you know we did share the wine with Alan, Emily, Ian and Will so we didn’t drink the bottle ourselves though that would have been no problem in the past. Those of you that know how much wine we used to consume can keep your stories to yourselves LOL.  Actually I am kidding about this. I would be the first one to admit that we drank too much red Italian wine in the past.  We both loved it but it really isn't the best thing for your health even though people only seem to focus on the beneficial aspects there are many reasons to reduce your intake.

We started our meal with a nice clean salad of spinach, green apple, cucumber, and red bell peppers. This was dressed with tarragon vinegar and some fresh pepper. It was a great light salad. This was the perfect way to start a meal on a hot and humid evening.

The second course this evening was a spicy Thai mushroom pizza with cilantro. This was an excellent pizza and didn’t take notes on what he included. I will send him a note and see if he will give it up so that I can recreate the topping which was amazing. Nice job Will we really loved it!

The next course was a grilled pineapple and radish salsa stuffed avocado. Talk about delicious. A girl could get used to eating like this. Oh yeah, I already have gotten used it haven’t I? ;-)

For dessert we asked Will if he could make us a fruit plate and this is what came out. It included pineapples, strawberries, oranges and fresh mint.

Needless to say it was another lovely dinner. We chatted with everyone, like always and had a great evening. There are many perks associated with being a regular at a restaurant. If you haven’t found a favorite restaurant I strongly recommend that you do.

What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?:

This is a difficult question to answer and I think that a lot of it is individual. However I also think that there are many concepts which are universal and those are the ones I have outlined belo.

Here are the things I think we could/should all try to do:

• Make water or green/white tea your predominate beverage

• Eat 10+ servings of fruit and veg per day (this is the amount the experts say reduces the risk of disease particularly cancer)

• Eat some portion of your produce raw (preferably half on average) each day, fresh pressed vegetable juice is a easy way to increase your produce consumption

• Focus on whole unprocessed grains in lieu of refined or processed grains

• Concentrate on getting your protein from plant sources (beans, grains, nuts and seeds)

• Avoid alcohol or at least limit yourself to one glass per day if you are woman, two if you are man (as little as a 5 ounce glass of wine per day has been shown to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer)

• Reduce your daily sodium consumption to below 1500mg per day or less (we are closer to 500mg on average)

• Reduce/eliminate processed food including vegan items like faux dairy

• Reduce/eliminate added sugar including “healthy” sweeteners like maple syrup, agave, malt syrup etcetera

• Reduce/eliminate processed oils in your food

• Reduce/eliminate your consumption of animal products (meat and dairy)

There is a lot of science to back up everything that I have bulleted above. No single item is difficult to do but taken together they tend to be a little overwhelming for many people. Given that you know how I eat I am sure you have realized that the items which I listed as reduce or eliminate I have eliminated except the oil and salt that is only when we are out.

My theory is that most of us ate a standard American diet for many years and during that time we consumed an excessive about of items that weren’t good for us and that meant we need to seriously clean up our act to get back to ground zero. In essence what I am saying is that we had a lot of sins to make up for with our new lifestyle.

When we were new to eating a healthy vegan diet I didn’t expect it to become permanent. Not only didn’t we expect it to become permanent we didn’t want that to happen either. Both of us had a difficult time making the initial changes. Even though we did it there was a lot of complaining. However we both felt so good and the lab tests were excellent so we kept doing it. The next thing we knew we lost our taste for less healthy food. I am pointing this out so that you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train.

If you want to make some changes to your diet I would encourage you to pick one item and work on changing that. When your first change becomes a habit move to the next item you want to change and so on until you cover them all. Eventually those little changes will add up and before you know it you will have a very healthy diet. When we changed our diet we made most of the changes all at one time that resulted in the diet you see now all at one time. I don’t recommend that anyone do that. Easing into things would definitely be less shock to your system and palate.

I hope this gives you some ideas of how to get started. You don’t need to do everything at once and that probably isn’t the best idea for most people. But by making changes a little at a time you will end up with a very healthy diet eventually. Since I get so many questions about this particular topic I am going to try to write something about this every week if not more often. If you have any specific questions about dietary changes that you want me to address please let me know so that I can write about what you are interested in reading.

Happy Thoughts:

We have had a great weekend and have many things to be thankful for. I love having my husband at home on the weekends. :-)

• Both Saturday and Sunday we spent the evening at Tide Point watching the sunset on the water. The weather was perfect both evenings and it was a relaxing way to spend the evening. As much as we both enjoy the water I don’t know why we didn’t start doing this sooner. I hope you enjoyed the photos from Saturday and Sunday that I posted. I loved taking the pictures.

• The meals I made for my parents were well received both days which was unusual. Given all my mother’s requirements it is difficult for me to cook for my parents. I decided to relax and include whole wheat pasta and that seems to work well. It isn’t the healthiest thing we could be eating but it keeps peace at family gatherings which is a positive.

• Our trip to the farmers’ market on Sunday was a resounding success. We came home with 8 bags of organic produce and a box of broccoli leaves for juice. *happy dance* I did spend almost an hour juicing the broccoli leaves but it resulted in a lot of juice which was great. Given the quantity of broccoli juice I made a snack that included: broccoli leaves, apple, carrot and lemon in the afternoon.

• In addition to produce I also bought a hula hoop at the farmers’ market. Have I used one since I was a kid? Of course not but it seems like a fun way to add a little extra activity into my life so it seemed like a good idea and was only $20. Dan wants to take video of me trying to relearn how to hoop but I am unlikely to allow that to happen. ;-) Let’s just say using a hula hoop is not like riding a bike. If you know of any DVDs on how-to please share.

• Monday I spent with my sweetie which made me very happy. Dan had a meeting in Richmond and since he was driving I went with him. We stopped at the Ipanema Café for veggie sandwiches before heading home. Dan ordered the “chorizo” wrap and I got a tofu and hummus sandwich. If you ever get to Richmond be sure to check out Ipanema Café. The food is very good, it is prepared promptly and the service is very friendly.

• We took a different route home from Richmond through the burbs. Okay so maybe it was more like the country but it was a nice drive with farms, cows and horses. We don’t tend to see much of that where we live so I enjoyed the scenery. I haven’t mentioned this in ages but I grew up in Indiana in a little town called Portage. We weren’t a farming community but there were farmers and fields around. The drive on Monday reminded me of my childhood with rolling terrain.

• Monday was a long day because we were out of the house from 7:00am until after 10pm but overall I would say it was a great day. We ended our day with a quick dinner out at our usual place. Ian was off tonight but we still had a great meal and the weather cooperated so that we could eat on the patio. Nothing like a relaxing dinner al fresco to end the day.

Signing Out:

We need to be up early tomorrow which means that I need to log out and get some rest. Overall it was a great weekend and Monday. I hope yours was equally good. Talk to you again tomorrow *fingers crossed* once we get home. I have more errands that will have me out of the house again. I am planning to take my laptop with me tomorrow (Tuesday) which should allow me to write the post while I am out.
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