Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lemon Cookies

OK, so cookies are not exactly health food, but sometimes I make sweets for my husband or for the people in my office. I don't eat them, but it's way cheaper (and healthier) to make them at home than to buy them at the store. The recipe can a variation on a common theme:

2 cups of flour (can use whole wheat, organic wheat, or cake flour)
1 cup sweetener (can use splenda, stevia, brown sugar, turbanido sugar, regular sugar, whatever)
1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 Tbsp. vegan smart balance spread
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon oil (or lemon extract)

If you have poppyseeds you can add them, but I did not have any, so I omitted them. Heat the oven to 350 F, roll the cookies, slice them, bake for 12-15 mins, remove and cool.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A day at the zoo

Before I met my husband, I had never been to the zoo as I felt that it was cruel to keep animals in cages. On our honeymoon while in Amsterdam, he convinced me to go to the zoo, under the premise that some of the animals, which are endangered, actually thrive in zoos. They all had pelnty of space and seemed truly happy to be there and even a bit tame. All seemed very lazy, docile, and waiting for the humans to bring them their next meal. Since then I have asked to go to the zoo pretty much constantly. In fact we donate to the zoo now and have a membership!
Red Pandas are an example of animals that are endangered in the wild but can thrive in a captive environment. There are three at the Cleveland zoo that were born as twins. They are soo cute. Red Pandas are actually related to racoons, not pandas, but until I can go to the Altalta zoo this is the closest to a Panda I am going to get :) We also visited the Wolves, the Flamingos and other birds, and of course the cats.

Risotto two ways

I have been craving risotto lately, so this weekend I decided to cook risotto! You can boil it just like regular rice, but this requires stirring pretty much constantly as it is extremely glutinous. A more common method is to first brown onions in oil and to this mixture add the risotto and a portion of the cooking liquid (you can use water or stock of your choice here) at a time, stirring and adding liquid. I tried both methods and I have to say the second method made my
risotto much more creamy. One batch I made with purple cauliflower, onions, and sunflower seeds pan seared in olive oil. The second was made by first pan searing onions in an olive oil and smart balance mixture, after which the risotto was added with a small portion of vegetable stock at a time until it cooked al dente. At this point spinach and red wine vinegar were added and the mixture was cooked just until the spinach witled. Although both were delicious, the second was by far the best :D

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Food!

I use to track diet and exercise. Most of the features are free, and it is a great way to keep up with nutrition stats.

Alcohol (hey, everyone needs wine occasionally!)

When I first started using it I was only concerned with my "daily calorie balance" but lately I have actually been trying to eat healthy and so I just keep an eye on the nutrients bar chart to make sure I am getting an adequate amount of everything I need from food sources. I know it's a really tiny graph and hard to see, but the things below the 100% line are calcium and vitamin B, which the supplement covers. I do try to get calcium and vitamin B from fortified rice milk and juice, but "fortification" and "supplementation" are the same thing in my opinion. I mean, even cows milk is "fortified" with calcium and vitamin D.

Even though I take a multi vitamin also, just to make sure I am not deficient, it is still a good idea to shoot for 100% of everything! Today I have had a bagel (recently have been on a bagel kick, lol) and two larabars. One was not enough. I am going to Ruby Tuesday with my husband after work for the salad bar, so yummy.... Tomorrow I am going to cook and will post some photos. I am planning on making a risotto with steamed vegies, perhaps purple cauliflower. I can't wait, it has been almost a week since I have cooked anything and/or not eaten out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Helping Others

Today when I got to work I had an email from someone in India asking me to help them with one of their computer simulations. They included the input and did not know what they were doing wrong. They got my email from a physics forum I post on, and they were nice in the email, so I decided to help them. There was also someone from another forum that needed help with their chemistry homework, so I helped them too. I generally don't get the chance help others, unless donating my old last season clothes to goodwill counts, which I don't think it does because it's just a lame excuse for me to shop more, so this felt good :) I played Frisbee in the park again today. The weather here is so lovely, it was 50 deg F this morning with a high of 70 deg F. Food wise I feel alot better about today than yesterday, I guess I am still full from the Indian Food! I had a bagel for breakfast, a larabar for lunch, and a raw vegie salad for dinner. Snack was 8 strawberries and a square of Green and Black's 85% Caco Organic Dark Chocolate. The best chocolate on the planet. Yum...I have to hide it from my husband because a bar lasts me like two weeks and if he finds my bar it is gone in a day :(

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh Indian Food

Today was a sit at my desk day. I spent the entire day referencing research papers in BibTxt format using this nifty little piece of open source software called JabRef:

Engrossed in my librarianeqsue activities, I basically just sat in my chair reading and cataloging articles all day. I think I got up twice to walk down the hallway. Breakfast was a bagel and carrot juice and lunch was a larabar. Dinner was a samosa, rice, and vegetable jalfrezi. So yummy! I love Indian food. The waitress at the restaurant was the same waitress we had nearly a year ago, but she was pregnant this time, so we left a nice tip. It's always good to see someone like her who really enjoys what she does. I mean, who wouldn't want to serve Indian Food? There is no way I could do that. If serving Indian food was my job that I would be as fit as she is. I have to limit myself to one or two curries a month :) Anyway, time for some Wii fit, coffee, more reading then bed. All in all a nice and relaxing day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My babies!

So it's only fair if I post pictures of the other two fluffers as well. My husband Nathan had a cat, River, when we met. He is a russian blue tabby mix. You can see his little tabby stripes, but he is like a panther, because the strtipes are the same colour as his fur! He is a shy boy, and my cat, Pashmina, is kind of bossy and hissy towards him. He handles it well though. I found Pashmina
outside my apartment (when I still had an apartment). Someone had abandoned her when they moved out. She is blind in one eye, and is missing several teeth. When I found her she was about 5 lbs, had distemper, and was really sick. She was living in a chipmunk burrow and was so hungry and disoriented that she was not even chasing the chipmunks. She is a long haired cat, too, so her fur was terribally matted. It only took about two weeks of canned tuna though and she had already turned into a little butterball. She is still a bit feral, but we love her anyway. I think she is about 9, and River is 5. Then there is our newest family member, little Stevie cat, who is the one year old Himalayan rescue that we have had for a little over a month.

Have Cat, Will Travel

Every year my husband and I pack up the car and head from Birmingham, AL to Cleveland, OH. I have a NASA graduate student researchers program (GSRP) grant, part of which includes a visit Glenn research center. I always enjoy this time of year, because it gives me the opportunity to really direct my research and focus without the distraction of seminars, people stopping by my office, tempting lunch with co-workers, and a Starbucks within walking distance from my building. On the downside, we trade our house for a 700 sq. ft. Extended Stay America type live in hotel and drop of our tw
o catt
ies with Grandma. Well, this trip we decided to adopt a third kitty right before we left, so somehow she wound up as a part of the road trip party. Her name was Stevie Nicks when we adopted her, so we decided to stick with that, although it has kind of morphed into Stevie Micks, because she's a cat, not a rock star. She is a year old Himalayan rescue.
We stopped in Nashville,TN to visit friends before enbarking on the other 10 hours of the drive. There was a hot air baloon festival passing us somewhere along the way. It was a beautiful drive. We have been in Cleveland for about a month now, so for eating and
exercise I have to be a bit creative. I bought a Wii fit when we first arrived, and although I bahsed it at first, it really is alot of fun. Lots of Frisbee in the park and jogging outside.

Just Another Tuesday

So today I woke up early, made it to work before 8 AM. For breakfast, I had carrot juice, steel cut oats, a larabar, and rice milk with protein powder. Lunch was another larabar :) I keep a stash in my desk and have eaten one every day for lunch for so long I can not even remember. I don't even switch the flavors up anymore, and I am still not tired of them. I know the time is coming though when I will need to switch flavors, but for now I am satsfied. For a snackie I had baby carrots and pumpkin seeds. So I am eating the pumpkin seeds thinking, MAN these are salty! So I check the sodium content, and it says 20 mg. Then I see the fine print on the bottom of the package, stating that the sodium content increases to 3260 mg if you eat the shells. I did not even know not eating the shells was an option. I did not even know there were shells. Oh well, lesson learned. I played frisbee in the park with my husband for an hour or so after getting off work and had 1/2 of an all fruit raspberry smoothie and a salad from Chipotle consisting of black beans rice, guacamole, hot salsa (more salt!), and lettuce. I also snuck in six chips and two tiny squares of Green and Black 85% caco chocolate. I have been doing Wii fit every night for about an hour and today I also walked for about an hour between my office and the lab.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Eating on the go

So lately we have been traveling a lot, and so my dietary intake has been adjusted somewhat. Lately, I have been eating pretty much the same thing every day.

Breakfast: McCann's Irish Oatmeal

Lunch: Larabar Cashew Cookie or Apple Pie

Snack: Owalla Juice

Dinner: Seaweed Salad or a Salad from Panera Bread

Although it will be nice to get back into the cooking routine once I am not on the road 24/7, for now this is the best I can do :)