The Healthiest Damn Lunch Ever

Since I had Dirt Pudding for breakfast (totally not my fault, the power went out, and I needed something that didn’t require my blender or microwave… Nevermind the fact that 2/3 of this lunch required neither…), I figured I should eat a healthy lunch.  Except that now I have a major craving for potato chips and french onion dip.  Allow me to revisit the lunch in hopes that the craving passes.

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Unsweetened iced mango green tea; strawberry, blueberry, banana smoothie; cucumber boats.  The tea is loose leaf from Tea Source.  The smoothie is a standard recipe, except that I have now stopped putting milk in my smoothies and add water and psyllium husk powder to make them extra filling.  This one didn’t have spinach because frankly I let my spinach get a little too… ripe.  The cucumber boats, though… I’m of the opinion that they’re the smartest thing I’ve ever made.

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My favorite couscous recipe consists of cucumber, feta, olive oil, vinegar, and dill.  And watermelon if I feel like dealing with a watermelon.  I have run out of couscous–a tragedy I need to remedy sooner than later.  But I had half a cucumber and some feta laying around that needed to be used sooner than later.  So I peeled the thing, cut it in half, and scooped the seeds out.

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Did I mention that this is not only healthy, but insanely easy?  That right there ^?  That was the hardest part.  Now find a tiny little cup that you can put a lid on.  If you get take out at KFC, the mashed potatoes come in the perfect little container.  If you haven’t, treat yourself to some KFC before making this meal.

In your little cup put 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp white wine vinegar.  Liberally sprinkle in some dill.  Put the lid on.  Shake shake shake.  Shake your booty.  Shake your groove thing.  Shake what yo’ mamma gave ya.  Shake it like a Polaroid picture.  Shake some action.  You get the idea.  Set it aside and let the contents gather in a little pool for a minute.

Get yer feta and divide 1-2 tbsp between the boats.  Fill ‘er up; don’t be stingy.  Then pour on your vinaigrette.  Then devour the heck out of it.  And feel good doing it, because those are some wholesome ingredients there.  And then… If you eat it, sit through writing a blog post about it, and still want chips and dip… Well, fine.  Who am I to judge.  Just don’t get crumbs on the keyboard.

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January Update, February Challenge

In some ways I’m starting to grow tired of the challenges.  In other ways, I fear that I am going to grow stagnant if I stop doing them.  So for now I shall continue to challenge myself to do something for an entire month.  Maybe I’ll start coming up with weekly challenges, but I’m afraid that I’ll either run out or forget to do them.  As it is, I’m having a hard time coming up with new ideas for each month, so if you have anything you think I should do, please leave a comment.

So, let’s talk exercise.  For the first half of the month, I was all about the yoga.  And then I quickly got tired of the fact that I needed to find an hour out of my day to accommodate the yoga video I was using on netflix.  I also had a hard time exercising when The Hippy was around, and there were a couple days when I just didn’t get up early and The Hippy was home in the evening, so exercise didn’t happen.

Then I read a blog post about 5 easy exercises to add to your day–every day.  Because they only take a couple minutes, you can pretty much always sneak them in.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember what blog it was, so I can’t give credit where credit is due.  But what I’ve added to my day is this:

  • 50 leg lifts, each side.  I often do these while brushing my teeth, or waiting for the microwave to beep, or waiting for water to boil or the bathtub to fill.
  • 25 waist bends–I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what a waist bend meant, so what I do is bend at my waist, try to touch my toes, and bend back up and touch my waist.  I do this while doing all the “waiting” above.
  • 15-20 push ups–I do cheater push ups against the edge of a counter or the bar of my oven door, again during waiting periods.
  • 25 crunches–these are the ones I have the hardest time fitting it, because they’re harder to do while “waiting”.  I don’t have enough floor space in my bathroom, and the kitchen floor seems like a weird place.  Sometimes I do them in bed, sometimes while watching TV.
  • 10+ squats into toe lifts–this is another one I like to do while brushing my teeth.  Squat down, come up, stand on my toes, squat down, etc…

The fifth one was actually not specified in the original blog post–she said something about switching it up like another arm exercise or more crunches.  I chose those because they are easy to do whenever.  And I can do most of these behind closed doors, so I don’t have to worry about They Hippy catching me in the act.

Sure, they aren’t fat busters like kick boxing, but they are something I can make a habit of every day.

Now, onto February’s glamorous challenge.  Drink 8 glasses of water or tea every day.  I’m not going to super measure, but I figure two of my water bottles and 4 cups of tea should do it.  To make it easier on myself, I’m going to give up my morning matcha latte with breakfast and have just plain green tea.  I know I’ll get my liquid requirement from milk, but I’d rather stick with something more pure for the month of Feb.  I think next month’s challenge is going to be pretty cool, too, and it doesn’t require me to do something every day, but does require me to be super creative.  Stay tuned.

Seeing Green (Milk)

For once the “green” in my title doesn’t refer to ecoliving.  There’s only so much of that even I can take.  It’s a chilly night here in Minneapolis.  We had our first snow of the season this weekend, and it was a biggy.  Usually the first snow disappears almost overnight, but we go hit hard.  So many people ended up without power, which makes me sad when it’s so cold.  Thankfully ours stayed put, so I’m able to enjoy the drink I’m enjoying now.  The drink that I’m about to share.

A little over a year ago I started taking ASL lessons.  After the Community Ed class finished, and after we found out enrollment for the second class wasn’t enough for it to run, my instructor and I agreed we’d meet one-on-one so I could still learn.  We ended up meeting at a nearby Starbucks.  Until then, I had more or less been a Caribou girl, though I’m in no way a coffee drinker.  It was more a reflection on Caribou’s MN background, Starbucks’ “every corner” meh-ness, and Caribou’s white hot cocoa.  I did enjoy Starbucks’ coffee-free frapps, but that was as much as I had ventured out.

One day, as I waited for my teacher, I made an out-of-left-field decision to try their green tea latte.  Admittedly, I’m a sweet lover, not much for the bitter (one of the reasons I don’t care for coffee, the sheer disgustingness being another), so after my first sip I decided to add a couple packs of Splenda.  Don’t judge.  After the first few sips, I suddenly found the drink irresistible.  The days following my first cup were spent wanting more.  I indulged a bit, but I knew that a Starbucks-a-day habit would be well out of my budget.  I had to come up with an alternative.

Enter my studies with what I affectionately call “Green Milk.”  I’ve been playing around with how I drink matcha for the last year.  I first went to Amazon in search of matcha, and after reading many, many reviews, I ended up with this fantastical deal: Vita Life Matcha.

And because I’m slightly neurotic about my weight, I found that Cub makes a knock-off of Splenda in the big ol’ economy bags, which last very nearly forever.  It lasts just about as long as the matcha.  I’ve purchased 3 packages of matcha, I’m on my third bag of not-Splenda, all for one year.  Not including my milk, which I’d be buying anyway, I’ve spent about $70 on green tea (and, okay, I still indulge in it whenever I meet for ASL, though sometimes I branch out…).  IF I stuck purely to Starbucks, I would have only made it a month on Starbucks drinks, at the frequency with which I drink my matcha lattes.

The nice thing about matcha is it doesn’t need to steep.  It’s like chocolate milk powder, which is why I’ve taken to calling my drinks green milk.  Why is it important not to need to steep?  Because when it’s 90° out, one doesn’t want a 112° drink.  One wants to have a nice cool drink.  Or at least this one does.

So, blah blah blah, Chelsey.  Cut to the chase.  How do I make this fabulous green milk?

To start, get out your favorite coffee mug:

Fill it with milk and chuck it into the microwave for about a minute and a half (or until it’s as hot as you like it, who am I to say how to need to drink your tea?).  While that’s heating up, get a small bowl and throw in four (or fewer, or more, for that matter) teaspoons of not-Splenda (or Splenda if you’re rich or sugar if you aren’t a paranoid weight freak like me) plus one scoop of matcha (approx. half a teaspoon, if your tea didn’t come with a scooper).  Stir this up.  It’s nice to have one of those cute wire whisks that come with hot chocolate kits, but I’m sure a spoon would work just as well.

By now your milk is probably hot, unless you work really fast and/or want scalding hot milk.  So go ahead and take that out of the microwave.  Slowly pour your powder/not-Splenda mix into your milk while stirring.  You may end up with tiny little blobs of matcha.  You might just have to get used to them.  Or go after them with your whisk and squash them, but really, getting used to them isn’t a big deal.  Just sayin’.  Now drink up.

The neat thing about the matcha powder is that you can chuck it into all sorts of stuff for added antioxidanty goodness.  Cakes, cookies, ice cream, stew, bread, tomato sauce…  It hides fairly well in soups and flavorful sauces.  I find it needs sweetening up in cookies and ice cream and the like.  Regardless, I’d like to see you throw your bag of Lipton in a cake batter.

Resolutions all around…

…plus some loose ends to tie up.

On my “work” blog I revealed my official New Year’s Resolution.  I have a few minor resolutions that I also have in mind.  In addition to making something from my stash once a week, I would also like to try a new recipe once a week.  That one might be a stretch as I get lazy and complacent, but I also have a crap-load of recipes at my disposal, so I will really never have to search very hard.  First up will be Whole Grain Bagels.  It’s my first step in not visiting Panera all the time for theirs.  I will post particularly successful/pretty creations here.

Also food related, I want to get my snacking under control.  I’ve become a wicked sugar fiend.  I want to go back to snacking mainly on popcorn and having fruit or yogurt on one of my work breaks.  I refuse to give up desserts, though, and no one can make me, not even myself.  I’d like to give up the soda too, and I found myself madly, madly in love with Tazo’s Zen green tea… Even more so than the green tea I got at Tea Source.  I’d link to it, but I fully hate Tazo’s website.  I can’t link directly to the tea because it’s all flash.  I hate flash.  But…. Sugar addict.  Ugh.

But, immediately in the new year, I will buy myself some clothes.  My work wardrobe is literally falling apart.  It just has to last me one… more… day!  My shoes are shot, my black pants have been worn through by my monster thighs, my khaki pants are close to the same fate…  I’ve put it off long enough, and now I’m going to go nuts.

I’m still trying to relax.  I packed up my sewing machines, and that’s as far as I got before I became too overwhelmed.  The Hippy was pissed because his mom and sister took it upon themselves to put all his stuff in boxes.  I would welcome that right now.