Friday, August 22, 2008

"mothers are like that, yeh they are"

Don't ask me how that title is relevant to anything; it is just one of those lines from a commercial from my childhood that never goes away. I think the commercial was for childrens' aspirin, like St.Josephs, which was my favorite childrens' aspirin because it had a very unsweet orange-like flavor. Soothing goodness. There was also Bayer for Children, but that was sweet, medicinal, and grainy; and it always made me gag. Ugh!! Nowadays, things taste pretty much like grape, cherry, bubblegum, good stuff like that - and not just for children. Adults can have it too!
Today, I ran for 25 minutes straight. That came out to 2 miles according to the treadmill I was running on. Nothing exceptional happened except that I did it! I wasn't too bored - I had my tunes going and that helped passed the time. But no pains or aches, no nausea. I ate 1/2 a banana about 45 minutes before running and had some water, also a cup of coffee which I am trying to scale back before running but I still think I need that caffeine boost. Maybe the sugar boost from the banana will be a good substitute - we will see.
By the way, thank you to my wonderful and lovely running daughters for all their words of love and support, especially my marathon daughter who has given me so many great tips and suggestions, all of which I have tried and have proven successful for me. =) You ladies are the greatest! I love you!
Last but not least, since this is supposed to be a food blog - I have a great version of a turkey burger that I have to share. Unfortunately, I have no vegetarian or vegan version. I have prepared this 2 times in the past couple of weeks because it is so yummy. Essentially, it is a stuffed turkey burger, with 4 oz. of ground turkey stuffed with approximately 2 tablespoons of shredded, low-fat mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted red peppers (I used ones from a jar that were already roasted). A little bit of freshly ground pepper on the top (or both sides if you prefer), then broil or grill for 5-6 minutes per side. This recipe is from Ellie Krieger of the Food Network who I love because, besides cooking healthy, wholesome, and tasty food, she also prepares vegetarian and vegan meals. Hers is one of the only shows on the Food Network that does that! Grrr! They must think we all love meat. I love meat but I also love good vegetarian/vegan food. Another thing I like about Ellie Krieger's recipes is that they often display the nutritional info afterwards. That's a good thing to have when you are considering what to make for dinner, etc. I for one like to know how much fat, how much protein, calories, sodium, whatever I am looking at adding to my diet. Getting back to the turkey burger - try it, you will like it or love it (if you love meat, that is). And it is very easy to prepare! That's all. See you next time!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yay for me! I could be a major idiot

How embarrassed am I? I realized shortly after publishing my last post that I had already written about the rice and soybean pilaf a couple of weeks ago when I made it for my daughter. We had the same complaints then about it being bland but agreed it was better when reheated as a leftover. The only thing different this time is that I actually made it for myself; the first time I only tried a spoonful as a taste test. So I guess it could be a legitimate post and maybe I'm not going too wacky or anything like that.
Just wanted to let everyone know that! Keep the faith!

so much edamame, so very little time

Last night I tried another ediets recipe, one for rice and green soybean pilaf. It sounded good enough, but the real finished product was pretty bland. When I thought about what I had assembled, I realized there were no seasonings called for. On my own, I had added freshly ground black pepper and a liberal dash of Tabasco, but that couldn't help it. After consideration, I decided that the next time I make this dish (which consists of rice, onions, garlic, celery, carrot, and mushrooms cooked in vegetable broth until broth is absorbed, then the cooked shelled edamame tossed in with rice mixture), I will saute the rice with the mirepoix first and maybe possibly add some saffron for color and a little mellow flavor.
This morning was another running morning for me. It was harder today even though I ran for only 5 minutes, then walked for 3, ran for 8, walked for 3, then ran for 5 again. Some days I guess it's just like that. No pain, I am happy to report. But I could really feel the effects of the humidity, even though I was inside on the treadmill. I felt like I could easily unravel and was happy to be running short runs. And the last several times that I have run I have felt nauseous afterward. Drinking small sips of water does nothing to help, only makes my stomach feel like it is filling up with acid which it probably is. Perhaps I should discontinue my early cup of coffee and save it for after my run. But if I do that, I probably won't be able to run or workout at all! What's a person to do?
My mother is back at my brother's house now so I am free to experiment with foods and recipes for the next 2 weeks. Everything I make for her apparently does not have enough salt. I do not like to use large amounts of salt in my food when I am preparing it. Salt is definitely something that everyone feels differently about, and I think it is best to let people salt to their own taste. Besides, we all know the hazards of too much salt. Salty chips and french fries, etc., are great once-in-a-while, but not exactly good for you on an everyday basis. But I don't know, when you are fixing and preparing meals for someone on a nightly basis, and that someone says it needs more salt, that can be considered a rude remark. People, my mother included, need to experience and savor the full natural flavors that are inherent in food. That's what it's all about.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My little big day

Today was my big running day - I had to run 20 minutes this morning with no walking, except for warm-up and cool-down walks. Considering that the most I have run before without stopping is 8 minutes, I was a little nervous and anxious about it. But I did it, it was successful, I felt good - now it's on to the next week which will conclude with my running for 25 minutes. Truthfully, after 20 minutes, I felt like I could have kept going but I was glad to settle into my final 5-minute cool down walk. And another good piece of news - no pain! No foot pain, no knee pain -nothing! I felt and feel great!!
Now on to food, glorious food. Last night, I made a really yummy ediets dinner. Believe it or not, I still follow the ediets meal plan; some of their recipes are pretty good. I started ediets back in December of 2006 and by summer of 2007 I had lost all of the weight that I had set out to lose. So here it is one year later and I am still holding off the weight-gain monster. Okay, getting back to last night's meal. I made crispy baked fish or whatever-it's-called from ediets. I used tilapia, coated it with panko bread crumbs mixed with a small amount of parmesan and a teensy bit of paprika to give it a nice color. Then I baked it for 5-7 minutes at 450 degrees. So there really wasn't very much to it but tilapia is such a meaty, non-fishy fish - it was very scrumptious (can scrumptious be "very"?) and probably pretty good for you too. I made this for my mother who never really commented on its scrumptiousness but did ask for the salt! Grrrrrr! Oh, I forgot, she did say that her friend had told her that tilapia was her favorite seafood and now she could see why. But I don't really count that as a compliment to my dinner that I prepared for her. It's just a comment on how flavorful that particular fish is. Oh well, she is moving on to my bro's house tomorrow so now he and his wife can haggle over what food to serve her for a couple of weeks. Then, when she comes back, possibly I will have some new goodies for her.
Having my mother here with me has really made me see how important it is to take good care of yourself, especially if you are a woman. This morning, before my run, I saw a memo on the bulletin board at the YMCA regarding the importance of weight training for women over 30. The gist of the memo was that weight training can be more important than aerobic exercise. I'm really glad that I have incorporated weight training into my weekly workout routine and I encourage my daughters to do the same except they probably already are way ahead of me! In fact, I know they are because they are the ones who told me to resume weight training.
That's it for now. Remember - take care of your muscle mass because you will probably need it down the road!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

quick, think of something!

I haven't published a post here in about a week, mainly because I have nothing new to write about. No new meals, etc. Last time I wrote about a side dish that I was interested in because it would contain whole wheat pasta and vegetables together. The one that I chose consisted of whole wheat pasta with broccoli rabe, mushrooms, vegetable broth, some parmesan cheese, garlic, and onions. It was tasty enough. Oh, I also included a small amount of red pepper flakes for some heat. Next time, however, I would like to add some veggie sausage and possibly some pine nuts. That would give it a little more substance and protein too which would really make it a meal in a pot.
On a more interesting note, I am into week 5 of my cool running plan. Yesterday, I ran for 8 minutes straight! Twice! Next run day (which will be Saturday), I will run for 20 minutes straight. I guess this will either make or break me, preferably the former. I was pretty anxious about doing 8 minutes and that wasn't so difficult. Hopefully, 20 minutes will be the same. But I think it will be long and boring. Fortunately, the foot pain I was having earlier has pretty much disappeared, even with the increase in my running times. During every run, though, I always experience some joint pain somewhere on my body (mostly foot- or knee-related) which only lasts for much of the duration of the run and is pretty mild and therefore I think normal. I will report back on how I do on my 20-minute run on Saturday. To a certain degree, I am fairly excited about running for 20 minutes, in spite of my anxiety.
So getting back to the pasta and vegetables. One of the reasons I chose to do this dish was because of my husband who is on a new, Adkins-like diet. It's actually a Suzanne Somers diet. When I told him that I had made this dish, something I thought he could eat, he told me "no way!" Since we were having some sort of meat product that he was cooking on the grill, he was apparently forbidden by his diet to eat any type of whole grain pasta or rice or the like and it would have to wait until the next day. So he did eat it for lunch the next day and said he liked it, although he so loaded it down with shredded Parmesan cheese that I think he lost all the other ingredients in there somewhere. Oh well, that's my so-called life and I'm lovin' it!
I hope to make the pasta and broccoli rabe recipe again this weekend, maybe with a few minor adjustments, and this time I will take a picture of it and post it here.
Happy trails, everyone! Wish me luck on my 20-minute run!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trying something new tonight folks

The old eating healthy and delicious every night has been difficult this week. It's been a stressful week, and sometimes you just want to come home from work and go out for a meal somewhere outside of your house where people bring things to you for you to eat and drink. Yeah, that's the life. But we didn't do that this week; we just ate leftovers or the usual old everyday/every week kind of stuff. Nothing new, in other words. Plus, my husband has started a new diet so that puts the kibotch on eating out.
My husband loves protein, such as hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, sausage, all that bad stuff that isn't necessarily good for you. So his favorite diet to go on is something akin to the Atkins diet. Right now he is following the Suzanne Somers diet. Gosh, how in the world did Suzanne Somers become a nutritional expert? Anyway, it doesn't seem to matter to him that me and my daughter both have successfully lost a decent amount of weight by eating healthy and controlling portions. He doesn't want any part of that. So he is actually dieting for a brief period of time so that he can lose weight fairly quickly and then be able to start taking walks and being active again. It's a long story. The upshot of this is that tonight's dinner has to consist of food that he deems to be part of his diet and that I deem to be healthy and delicious. I have come up with a meal that includes a serving of protein (meat in this case) and a vegetable and carbohydrate side dish cooked together in one pot, whole wheat pasta with broccoli rabe and mushrooms. This looks and sounds pretty yummy. The idea is to serve a side that includes a whole grain and a vegetable. That seems like a no-brainer, like why have I not done this before? I guess I will give it a try. Later!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My inspiration

Well, I am back from the big city where I went on Sunday to help my daughter move a few of her things before her big move-in later this month. Unfortunately, I have not conjured up any new ideas in cooking dinners for my mom. So far, we have had leftovers (the leftover Asparagus/Rice salad was better the second day!) or just stuff that is good but no new discoveries in my culinary world. I will get to that later this week. After all, it is only Wednesday.
I did, however, start my 4th week of my running plan. This is a big week because not only have I increased my running time and decreased my walking time but I have also increased my running speed slightly. That was at the suggestion of one of my daughters. I did quite well too. So, this week has me running for 3 minutes, then walking for 90 seconds, run for 5 minutes, walk for 2-1/2 minutes, run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, then run 5 minutes. The first day I did this, I thought I would collapse and die during the first half of the first 3-minute run segment. Then I crossed over that psychologic-physiological hurdle and cruised for the rest of the workout. One of the things that helped me get through that increased run time was having really good music to listen to. But the other thing that made me really feel good was thinking about all of the support that I have gotten from my daughters. All three of them. They all run and they constantly support me and tell me I can do it and that I am doing an awesome job. So this post is for them - they are my inspiration. I consider myself very lucky indeed to have three such wonderful daughters. All I have to do is think about them and I get a big smile on my face. =)
So, no new food ideas today; but check back tomorrow. I hope to have some more interesting ideas then.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

She's baaack!!

Well, my mom is back at my house for a 2-week stay. She takes turns staying with my brother and me, two weeks at his place and then 2 weeks at my house. I don't think she minds the moving around, I think it makes life interesting for her to get to see a new perspective every 2 weeks. And, of course, she gets different treatment from each of us. My brother and his wife take her out to eat at an actual restaurant every once in a while. I just wait on her hand and foot, fix her meals when I'm home, and try to make delicious and healthy home-cooked meals to boot.
Tonight my daughter and I fixed a recipe that I had been wanting to try which I saw on one of my favorite blogspots - The recipe is Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus and Brown Rice. My result did not look quite as good as the picture that she has on her post. Something about the chickpeas, they didn't get that crust to them and were actually a little mushy. Maybe I should have rinsed them when I drained them? However, it was delicious and very satisfying. It was very much like a meal in one pot. It had a tahini-based dressing with it that I was worried my mother wouldn't care for but she raved about it. She did, however, say it needed more salt. I told her she was wrong! If it needed anything more, it would have been extra tahini dressing. But the salad combines raw asparagus (which actually does get a little steaming action when everything is tossed together at the end) and toasted slivered almonds - loads of toasted slivered almonds. Absolutely delicious. You should give it a try.
I completed my 3rd week of my running plan. Week 4 has me running for 5-minute stretches. Who knew I would make it this far? If I don't injure myself, I just might make it to a 5K sometime in the near future.
Well, that all starts on Monday. Tomorrow I'm driving my daughter up to her new apartment in New York City, taking some of her stuff to get her started on her move. When I return, I'll be getting back to conjuring up more yummy food and concentrating on more working out.
Until then, have a happy weekend, what's left of it that is!