Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy, Happy Sunday!

Why would I be so happy on a dreary and rainy Sunday? Easy, I woke up with no back or knee pain this morning. I briefly considered a run to the gym then common sense kicked in and I knew I needed to take it easy for a few days to allow my knee to recover completely. Old age is good for something, sometimes it even results in an abundance of common sense. LOL

While Dan slept in this morning I skimmed the Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor and Cancer Tips books that I took out of the library yesterday. I suspect that I may be adding these to my library too. I will keep you posted when I actually read them properly.

At one point this morning it was pouring rain, like we were going to be washed away by a flood. Good thing we live at the high point of the city so floods are not a problem here. However rain did put a damper on my plans. I was considering a trip to Alexandria, Virginia to stop at the Mediterranean Bakery for some hard to find provisions and maybe a little tourist activity down by the water. Being a girly girl had no desire to spend a lot of time in the rain all wet and messed up. Yes, I am a wimpy girl.

Breakfast this morning was a green smoothie for Dan: frozen banana, kale, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, stevia, water and a touch of vanilla. When I asked Dan what he thought of the smoothie he said he liked it and asked what I had done differently... was there less kale. Why had he asked that? He said that the flavor was mellower and well rounded and I tend to agree with him. Clearly vanilla was a winner in Dan’s smoothie.

This morning when I made myself grapefruit and kale juice I also added vanilla extract to mine. Dan is right the flavor is more rounded and the aroma is nice if you like vanilla like we do. ;-)

Lunch was a huge salad, one of the ones that I make in a serving bowl. Can you ever have too many greens or vegetables? Seriously there is no such thing as too many veggies in my world. This salad contained: baby spinach, salsa, artichokes, orange bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, white chia seed and raw pumpkin seeds. It was delicious. Hard to imagine that I ever hated veggies isn’t it? LOL

Given that there is a huge rain system over most of the east coast of the US today our weather was not stupendous. We woke up to rain and it has been grey and rainy all day long. I have no problem admitting that I am a complete weather wimp. When it is rainy and dreary outside all I want to do is stay home drink hot tea, watch movies (or read) snuggled up in my favorite chair with a throw. Of course the felines had other plans namely they wanted the throws but two out of three isn’t bad right?

The latest book I have been reading from the library is “Healing Through Exercise” and is full of scholarly references which you know I love. I have not finished it yet but should be ready to write a review by Tuesday. So far I am really enjoying it and this may go on my next Amazon list. My poor husband it is no wonder he told me today that I need a book intervention. LOL

Since it was cold I thought a pot of soup might be nice to warm us up a little. This afternoon I pressure cooked a pound of black beans. Half I saved of the cooked beans for salad and to top sweet potatoes and the other half turned into soup. Here is what I did:

Spicy Black Bean Soup and Barley with Beer (I decided to go a little crazy)
Serves 4 hungry adults


½ pound of black beans cooked until tender, and the cooking liquid (or 2 – 15 ounce cans of no salt added beans)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes before cooking)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before cooking)
½ cup hulled barley (hulled is more nutritious than pearled)
12 ounce bottle of your favorite beer
2 cups peeled diced tomatoes (or 14 ounce can)
2 chipotles in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Combine everything and simmer until the veggies are soft and the barley is the texture you like. This should take about 45 minutes. Stir it occasionally since it will try to stick. You may need to add a little water if it gets too thick while it is cooking.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 360.04
Calories From Fat (3%) - 10.72

Total Fat - 1.28g
Saturated Fat-  0.3g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 28.96mg
Potassium - 1295.34mg
Total Carbohydrates - 67.85g
Fiber - 20.32g
Sugar - 5.45g
Protein - 16.72g


The flavor of this was very good but honestly the beer was unnecessary since it didn’t come through at all in the final flavor. I finished this soup with a simple fresh salsa of cucumber, grape tomatoes, lime zest, lime juice and fresh cilantro. This soup is a little spicy however it was fine for Dan and me; it would have been out of the question for anyone that doesn’t like heat.

Dinner was a bowl and a half of soup leaving one bowl leftover for lunch tomorrow.

Cancer Survivors and Lifestyle:

This is the sort of article that simultaneously makes me happy and frustrates me. It says that better nutrition and exercise habits will help cancer survivors and yet they are not doing either. *sigh* I wish more doctors understood the power of nutrition. If there were one thing I could change about allopathic medicine in the US it would be that. When a cancer patient asks you what they can do to help their chances please stop saying “nothing”. Maybe if doctors gave patients something to do, like focusing on their lifestyle habits (diet and exercise), we would have better outcomes….Just my two cents.

Happy thoughts:

In spite of the rainy Sunday it was a good day at our house. Here are my happy thoughts today:

• It was lovely to spend the entire weekend with Dan. We had a good time both on Saturday and Sunday though they were very different types of days. Saturday was a lot of running around and Sunday was spent at home taking it easy.

• How nice it was to be able to stay home on Sunday and stay out of the rain. I am not fond of rainy weather and anytime I can avoid going out in it I am a happy girl.

• Since we were “stuck at home” that left time for frivolous activities like watching episodes of “Top Gear” that Dan had recorded. If anyone had tried to tell me that I would be laughing out loud watching this I would have thought them crazy. However it is so stupid that is funny if that makes any sense. Sometimes nonsense is all you are in the mood for and this show fits the bill.

• Most important look what I found on Saturday, the first crocus of the season. It is starting to look a lot like spring to me. Woo hoo!

Signing out:

I hope you had as nice a weekend as we did. With a little luck both Dan and I will be back to the gym early tomorrow morning. Talk to you all again tomorrow.


  1. I had a lovely Sunday. Ryan's back went out so I spent the day in my jam-jams, rubbing his back with IcyHot. While I wish he wasn't in pain, it was nice to spend an uninterrupted day together. :)

  2. Hey Alicia, are you watching the British version of top gear or the new American one?
    (i like the B one better)


  3. Jackie,

    I hope Ryan's back is doing better. Back pain is no fun at all. Glad you made the best of the situation.

    hope you both have a good week,

  4. Michelle,

    It was the British version. I can't imagine the American version would be the same. What makes that show so good is the interplay between the three guys. They are like watching three bad boys only they are men. LOL

    talk to you later,

  5. Oh my goodness, Alicia, that salad is calling my name! I can't get enough avocados in my life lately. And yay for the beautiful crocus! Our weather has been so nuts here that the daffodils, jonquils and hyacinths (none of which I even knew I had -- the joy of moving) are all blooming. I'm a happy camper.

  6. That black bean soup looks and good, beer or not. I like spicy black bean soup, and the barley sounds good with it.

    Sometimes I worry about how complicated the whole medical business is -- it's difficult to find a doctor willing to do what actually heals, not just treats. I'm a little biased, though, and I probably hear more of the bad than the good.

  7. Brigid,

    I love avocado in my salad as well. Dan isn't wild about the texture but when I put it in salad withn many other textures he will eat it. Men can be tough to please sometimes can't they?

    I love when the spring blooms return. Soon the azaleas will be out tooI can't wait. Yay for spring!


  8. Seeing that crocus makes me so happy! There was a lot of rain here yesterday too, but it brings great things!
    I always forget to put pumpkin seeds on my salads, but that is a great looking one.

  9. Jessica,

    The funny thing about the beer is it came through in the bowl I had today but not yesterdays. Go figure, I have no idea why that was.

    Working in health care for so many years I saw many things that I wasn't too thrilled about either. Most doctors want to prescribe a pill or operate. *shakes head* Maybe one day they will learn to prevent disease instead.


  10. Food Feud (M),

    I love seeing the spring bulbs emerge. It always makes me feel like spring is just around the corner. You are right about the rain bringing the flowers. I try to remind myself of that too.

    When I make salads I like to include a seed or nut to provide fat to increase the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins in the salad. I have been doing it so long that salads seems odd without them now.

    I hope you are having a good week,


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