Monday, December 23, 2013

The Holidays

Have you noticed that there's lots of food involved in the holidays?  Silly question.  You are alive, I know you have noticed.  If you haven't, just google holiday recipes and you'll see.


It makes sense, I mean you want to get together with your family and friends, so what do you do?  You invite them over for lunch or dinner.  If you're hosting a party you serve snacks, right?  Me too.

There's just so much all the time.  Do you ever feel like you are drowning in recipes and food?  I do.  Take for example Thanksgiving.  We had 8 people at the table for Thanksgiving.  We made turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash casserole, corn pudding, green bean casserole, and rolls.  That's a lot of food!

Yesterday we had some family over for lunch and kept it simple.  Pork tender, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, stuffed artichoke casserole, and french bread.  Done.  We still had tons of leftovers!

One thing I am learning on this journey is that downsizing the menus helps tremendously!!  Think about it.  At Thanksgiving even with small portions my plate was overflowing with food!  And I even skipped one of the dishes.  Yesterday I loaded up on roasted veggies and had average size servings of everything else.  I think I did pretty well and I was full and satisfied.

I also caught myself doing something totally crazy for me the other day.  I didn't eat just because it was meal time!  I wasn't hungry.  I didn't eat.  It was wild!

I am starting to like this trusting listening to my body to tell me what to do.  I could get used to this.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not perfect, I am far from it.  But I am learning to make peace with food, with myself, and I am learning.

I like progress.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Struggle and Strength

As you probably guessed if you saw yesterday's Stream of Consciousness post, I am struggling.  I was thinking about everything last night as I was eating Chinese food.  Do I feel guilty for ordering Chinese food?  No, those spring rolls were delicious.  Did I stop eating when I was full?  Yes.  Did I get over stuffed?  No.  I even stopped eating the fried rice because it was not satisfying me.  It is not what I wanted then.

I do feel like I am learning.  I know I need to slow down and be patient.  Deep breath, Emily, deep breath.

I was web browsing early this morning, randomly.  I entered a search for inspirational quotes.  Do you ever do this?  Anyway, I saw this one and you know what, it got me to appreciate my struggle.


Here's hoping I can be patient enough to get to the strength.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

I haven't posted in a while.  I am discouraged, I am frustrated, I am confused.  I started this blog as a site where the husband and I could blog together.  The husband has not blogged yet.  I feel like I should delete this site and just blog over at Grand Ideas, but I kind of like this site being separate and I still hope Daniel will want to write eventually.  I could still absorb this back into my other blog and let him guest post whenever he wants.  What to do?  I know.  Show you a picture of me and the husband...

...with a gondolier no less.  There that made me feel better.

Let's see...what's new on the healthy living front.  I can tell you that I have started talking to a counselor who works a lot with eating disorder patients.  She is a great resource to talk and I feel like I will learn a lot.  I have only seen her twice, so I will let you know how it goes.  She is also well versed in intuitive eating and I very much like that philosophy.  It feels like a permanent fix, not a temporary one.  I am currently frustrated though since it is a much slower process than a crash diet.  There are no quick results, there is a lot of self reflection, a lot of thought, and a lot of loving yourself as you are.  It is especially frustrating when you are menstrual, bloated and not so much feeling great with the self love thing because you are too consumed with feeling as big as a house.  It makes it even harder.  I know I sound like this...

I am having that kind of day.  There has been lots of stress at work, I am working on an upgrade and issues are making us have to push the deadline.  I really wanted to get this project done and behind me, on time.  But it isn't happening that way.  I was stressing about it last night and this morning and then I got in my car and it wouldn't start.  Dead battery.  I wanted to scream, but I didn't.  I laughed instead.  That's a good thing right?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weekend Confessions

I think I am on my way to becoming an intuitive eater and I am rather excited about it.  My clothes are not getting baggier at this point, but I have to say I feel great, empowered, and happy.

My daisy still blooming in September also makes me happy.

I was reflecting on Sunday to Daniel about how my weekend eating is completely different now that I am not restricting different foods.  Whenever I would "get off track" (which happened A LOT on weekends) before it would trigger binging.  I would eat three high calorie food meals in a day and have snacks.  This weekend we grilled fajitas for lunch on Sunday.  I ate one and a half fajitas with a little rice and beans.  I stopped eating when I was full.  I wasn't hungry at dinner (it was a late lunch) so I didn't eat again that evening.  Complete change.  I love it.

I am logging my food, moods, and exercise in my handy dandy journal so I can see how my habits shift and how my appetite changes.

I am of course loving the journal since it gives me the opportunity to use lots of different colored pens.

I confess I am easily excited by bright colored pens.

In other news from life I have begun to decorate the house for fall.

And we brought home a foster pup over the weekend!  This is Wags!

She is a pretty sweet snuggle machine.  If you know anyone in the Houston area looking for a sweetie, she's a great one!

Snuggle Machine

I am learning about dog training and in the interest of not showing favorites and being fair, here is a picture of our pup Sammy.

And our cat Trixie.


I hope you are enjoying balance in your life as well.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Trusting Myself

I am continuing to read Intuitive Eating.  I wish I could report that I had finished the book, but the truth is that I am only at the halfway point.  I feel like I am learning a lot and that I am in phase two described in the book.

In a nutshell I am learning how to eat.  It is kind of cool to feel like I am developing a healthy relationship with food.  I find myself eating a lot slower and really enjoying it.  Even if I am eating at my desk in the office, I take a short break.  I close my door and I enjoy what I am eating.  It is no longer mindless and it is no longer eating because it is time.  I am eating because I am hungry.

It is liberating and at the same time petrifying!  I have spent the majority of my life counting things, calories, fat grams, fiber, carbs; it is weird not to count anymore.  I took the food scale off my counter and put it in the cabinet.  I have disowned my bathroom scale.  It feels so free to not get on the scale every week, but at the same time I am scared to death!  I wonder if I will achieve a healthy weight by just trusting myself.  I can tell you that I set myself free of dieting (it was fairly exciting to delete my Weight Watchers online account) about a month ago.  My clothes have not gotten any tighter (I was very afraid they might); in fact in this month I have put on a pair of pants that I had been avoiding in my closet because I was sure they didn't/wouldn't fit.  Guess what?  They do.  I have gotten several compliments that I looked good; and questions if I had lost weight.  I have no idea.  I hope so.  Crazy, right?

I can tell you that I still cook the same kind of food I did before.  Delicious healthy balanced food.  I am no longer afraid to go out to dinner, to a happy hour, or have lunch with friends.  Just last weekend I was at a Labor Day pool party.  There was food everywhere.  Do you know what?  Without even thinking about it I made a plate when I was hungry, I ate it and when I finished I was done.  I was in the pool that afternoon and it hit me.  I was in the pool!  I was not grazing, I was not feeling tempted by the food, I was not obsessed thinking about the food.  I was free.  I was not thinking about trying the cookies or having another serving of queso.  You know why?  When I made my plate I had a small serving of queso on some chips on the side of my plate.  When I was finished with lunch I had one small peanut butter cookie.  It was all delicious and I was satisfied.  I didn't tell myself I couldn't have those things and I had to have x, y, or z instead.  And because of that I wasn't grazing, I wasn't obsessed with what I had forbidden myself.  I was just satisfied.  Later that day, you know what I had when I was hungry again?  A big salad.  That's what I wanted.

The next stage is Crystallization.  I might be getting there.  I do recommend this book.  I won't say that I am discounting other ideas I have learned about whole grains (like brown rice being better for me than white); it is nice to incorporate those kinds of ideas into my free choices.  In this midst of all this freedom I have also chosen to cut sodas out of my diet.  I drink them VERY rarely now.  I had one last week and I didn't finish it.  I am re-learning what tastes good to me.  Apparently soda is not one of those things.  Good for me.

I am spending time appreciating myself and my body for what it is right now.  I have been treating myself to a few new things like clothes and makeup.  I discovered a clothing company called Soft Surroundings.  I love the new tops I ordered from them.

And I am loving the Essie nail polish collection I am creating.  Who knew I really did like color on my finger nails.  Usually I go color only on my toe nails.

Good bye boundaries!  LOL.

I hope you have a happy healthy day!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

It's What I Ate Wednesday and I remembered to take pictures!  I am feeling accomplished.  I took a trip to Trader Joe's this week, so you may notice a theme in my eats.  I hadn't been to TJ's in a while; possibly I was going through withdrawal.

I started my morning with super simple shake.  Unsweetened almond milk, frozen banana, and frozen strawberries...blend.

When lunch time rolled around I was ready for the Thai Vegetable Goya I picked up at TJ's for lunches.

These are one of the easiest bring to the office lunches ever.  I throw them in my lunch container frozen then when it is lunch time I put a wet paper towel over them and heat them in the microwave until they are hot (about 3 minutes if they are fully frozen).  Delicious.

Question.  Is it wrong to have these napkins in your office?

I didn't think so either.

My snacks throughout the day were all from TJ's.  See.  Theme.

Lentil and potato crunchy curls, a hand full of macadamia nuts, and four chocolate covered pretzels.

In the afternoon I needed a break from my desk and a non-fat latte was calling my name (or at least the name of my heavy eyelids).

Eyelids that were looking particularly fantastic yesterday compliments of my new Clinique cream eye liner. 

I finished off the day with sauteed red shrimp (yep, from TJ's) over pasta.

If you have never tasted red shrimp you really should.  They taste like lobster.  I sauteed them with tons of garlic, sea salt and a little butter; then tossed them with pasta and sprinkled with green onion.  Delicious. 

I hope you are having a yummy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Last night Daniel and I went on a walk.  I decided to concentrate on enjoying the workout and feeling how my body felt during the walk (a recommendation from the book Intuitive Eating).  I left all devices that track time, pace, and distance at home.

It was a nice stress free walk and it felt really nice.  My body approved.

My mind, on the other hand,  was unhappy with how dark it was outside and how Daniel has tricked me into watching The Walking Dead with him.  I admit I was on the look out for zombies.  Sigh.  I much prefer walking during the daylight...much easier to see the flowers (and zombies).


Have you heard of Princess Sassy Pants & Co?  If not you must log into Facebook immediately and follow her.  She puts out some of the cutest pictures and quotes and I love having them in my feed.  This one particularly spoke to me this week as I am concentrating on listening to my inner voices.

Linking Up:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Confessions

I spent time reading Intuitive Eating over the weekend.  I will be honest the book scares me a little, but that's what moving outside of your comfort zone is about, right?  I am only in chapter 4, but so far the idea of being an intuitive eater is to abandon diets (in the sense of restricting foods, calories, or anything) and focus on your body and what it is telling you it needs.

Why is this scary to me?  Well, I have spent years trying to listen to my mind when putting together eating times and meal plans.  This whole listening to my body thing is different.  I like the idea though.  Here are the principles that they list for being an intuitive eater:


The other part of this concept that is frightening is that for the first phase while you are re-evaluating or repairing your relationship with food you have to be okay with putting any weight loss goals on the back burner.  They should take second seat to this relationship establishment.  How different is that for anyone who is trying to get in shape?

The book indicates that once you have a healthy relationship with food your weight will normalize to a healthy weight.  I like the idea of having a solid relationship with food where I don't feel any guilt for my choices and I don't feel the need to over eat on a type of food because I feel like I will be deprived of it later.

I also really like this idea:

How many times have you felt you are eating something that isn't really satisfying you because you feel like it is the right thing to eat?  I know I do it kind of regularly.

I still have my own opinions that I will use in addition to ideas from the book.  While I would love to have a better no guilt, no deprivation relationship with food, I would also like to eliminate some processed foods and incorporate more whole/clean food choices.  These are changes I was already making in my life.  I plan to still include those.  I do plan (as suggested in the book) to remove the feeling of guilt in all food choice scenarios.  No matter what.  There is no reason we should feel like we do not deserve to eat or to take good care of ourselves.

I hope you have a happy, healthy week!

Linking up:

Daily Dose of Del Signore

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Recipe Wednesday

Don't you hate it when life interferes with your blogging time?  Lol.  At long last my recipe for stewed cucuzza makes the blog!  Without further delay...

Stewed Cucuzza
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, diced
  • 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 29 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (also used to get the extra sauce and tomatoes out of the cans before adding)
  • 1 scant Tbsp sugar
  • 1 scant tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicey)
  • 1 - 2 cucuzza squash, seeds removed and cut into bite sized pieces
I realize for a lot of you cucuzza might be a squash you have never heard of.  For me, it brings back memories of childhood.  My mother is Italian American, but her parents were the children of Italian immigrants; many parts of the family were born and lived in Sicily for some of their lives.  My grandfather used to grow cucuzza and my grandmother used to stew it.  I am sure at some point this recipe involved fresh tomatoes and sauce, but this recipe with the cans is less time consuming and delicious, so we will go with it.  Sorry Granny and Grandma Margaret if it offends you.

Heat olive oil in a large stew pot and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute a minute more; then add the sauce and diced to tomatoes.  Use your cup of water to get the last bits of good stuff out of the sauce and tomato cans and then add to the pot.  Add the cayenne and bring to a low simmer.  Allow it to simmer 20 - 30 minutes.  Prep your cucuzza while your sauce simmers.

Since cucuzza might be new to you, let's talk about how to prep it.  You want to peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler.  The skin is waxy and hard and does not cook well.

Once that is removed, cut the cucuzza into two more manageable pieces and then split those length wise and remove the seeds with a spoon.

Once the seeds are removed, cut them in half again the long way and then slice into bite sized pieces.

Cucuzza has a wonderful flavor and remains intact and slightly crunchy after stewed.  It is great.

After your sauce has stewed for 20 - 30 minutes, add your sugar.  This helps cut the acidity in the tomatoes.  You want a scant tablespoon, possibly even 3/4 of a tablespoon.  Stir that in and then give your sauce a taste.  If you need a little salt you can add it in now.  Then add your cucuzza and simmer.

I let mine simmer at least two hours.  The flavors just gets better the longer you leave it simmering.  If you are looking at my pot and thinking that is a lot of food, you are correct.  It freezes beautifully (who just though of Steel Magnolias?  Only me, okay).  I always freeze about half the stew pot in various size containers.  It is great for quick weeknight meals; pull it out of the freezer and into a pot and heat on low until hot.  Couldn't be simpler.

Once your cucuzza is ready serve it over pasta, rice, quinoa, hard boiled or fried egg, or chicken.  Serve it over nothing and eat it with a spoon, it doesn't matter.  It is delicious.  I love to bring it to the office for lunches.

Don't be jealous of my fancy ziploc china.

Now, if you see a cucuzza in your market, buy it and give this a try.  I have a feeling you will love it too.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Weekend Confessions

Hello all!  It is great to be back with you.  I was utterly uninspired last week and had nothing to share so I didn't.  :)

I have been feeling guilty about what I consider over eating which leads to binges and eating too many calories and then eating too few calories and then eating too many...and then feeling guilty.  Weird little cycle there isn't it?

I read about a book called Intuitive Eating that sounded very interesting, so I picked it up to read.

So far I am liking it.  I haven't gotten to the part where they tell you what intuitive eating is, but the preface and the first chapter talk about how if you define a diet as a restrictive eating plan to lose weight it will always fail you.  A diet should be a way of eating and nourishing your body - a forever type thing, not a temporary thing.  Right up my alley since I am trying to do away with the restrictive weight loss diet.  I will let you know what I think of the whole book once I am finished.

In other news, Daniel and I have been visiting Canino's Produce Company to pick up our fresh veggies for the week.

I love it!  I am so happy we started making this a regular trip.

It is fruit and vegetable heaven!  Do you make farmer's markets a regular stop for your produce?

The bonus about Canino's is that they carry cucuzza!

That's the Italian squash I showed you originally in this post.  Tomorrow my recipe for stewed cucuzza will finally appear on the blog.  YAY!  It's delicious.

Have a fantastic week!!!

Linking up:

Daily Dose of Del Signore