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Yikes!

My internet service keeps cutting out because the Rock is currently being pummeled by hurricane-force winds, which are no friend to wireless service.  This has been going on since yesterday evening and at one point last night, the rain against our bedroom window was so loud that we were both laying there at 4:30 a.m., wide awake and contemplating just getting up and watching a movie or something, since sleep didn’t seem like an option.  Somehow  I managed to get back to sleep eventually, but my better half spent an hour or so playing Tiger Woods on PS3, waiting for the wild weather to die down.  Poor guy. 

It seems like roads, bridges and schools are open today, so we’re going to slowly make our way into work in the car.  No scooters today – they are our usual method of transportation.

I’ve been eating SO badly this week.  I blame a stressful week at work, but that’s really no excuse.  February always seems to be a low point for my normally healthy eating habits.  I don’t know what it is about this month that makes it so blah, but my body seems to crave things in February that it normally rarely thinks about…like cookies.  We’ve committed to a healthy eating plan starting this weekend, loosely based on the South Beach Diet.  Has anyone tried SBD?  I know so many people, and read the blogs of many, many more (including the fabulous Fitnessista), who have had a lot of success on the plan, especially with curbing cravings (which obviously, I could use some help on right now).  Anyways, I have had (and loved) the cookbook for awhile now, so we’re going to give it a shot.  It really is a very sensible eating plan, and VERY close to how we eat when we’re doing well with meal planning and cooking…which we’re currently not.

Anyways, wish us luck.

In other news, time for work!  Fingers crossed that my connection doesn’t cut out as soon as I hit ‘publish’….

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Oatmeal, on the rocks.

The return of the Oats!

Back when I first started this blog, I was eating oatmeal every. single. morning.  I love oatmeal.  I’m an oat-a-holic.  But then I brought home THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL TIME and my poor little oats were left behind.  Unloved.  Unwanted.  Overshadowed by kale.

Well, I recently discovered a way to marry my love for the oat with my love for THE blender.  Oats in my smoothies!  Why did I not think of this before?  I dump so many other randoms in my smoothies…surely oats would be a great addition as well?  I can now answer this.  They are great in smoothies.  They add fiber and bulk while keeping the smoothie…smooth.  Because who wants a gritty smoothie?  I blended a jar of smoothie first (kale, banana, strawberries and a spoonful of manuka honey), and then added a handful of spinach and a sprinkling of oats and blended again until smooth.

Delish.  I love it when food worlds collide.

Served in a stemless wine glass, because sometimes I'm fancy like that.

Introducing…George.

There are a lot of aspects of our life here on the Rock that I would say are fairly unconventional, but most of them come nowhere near as unconventional as our pet…

George.

 Meet George.  George is a 30 year-old tortoise who lives in our backyard.  George is roughly the size of a large, oblong salad bowl, if you can imagine such a thing, and enjoys chicken (or ham) sandwiches on white, with lettuce and crusts ON, thank you very much.  And by “chicken” I don’t mean deli-sliced meat.  The tortoise has a refined palate and prefers real chicken breast, roasted or baked.  Thankfully, our landlord is responsible for his diet.  But, since he lives on our side of the yard, we reap all of the rewards of having George for a pet.

He’s been hibernating since November, so the rewards thus far have been few.  However, he came out on the weekend, nibbled at the corner of an offered ham sandwich, and then retreated back to his igloo for…another month?  Was it the ham?  Did we offend him?  Or was it just too early?  I don’t know.  He doesn’t say much.

Expressing distaste.

I love him.  He’s not exactly a fast-paced thrill ride of a pet, but if we’d wanted that we would get a beagle.  For now, he is the perfect pet for us.  And, since he’s such a fantastic model (this tends to be the case when it takes 10 minutes to gather up the energy to take a bite of sandwich), I’m sure I’ll be posting much more of George when he re-emerges from hibernation.

See you soon, little friend.

Monday, Monday.

I took a few days away from the computer because my man and I celebrated our six year anniversary this past weekend!  Six whole years from our very first date, back in snowy Ottawa.  Hard to believe…the years have flown by.  But then other times I think that it feels like we’ve been together forever.  Anyways, we celebrated with a little trip.  We stayed on the Rock…a “staycation”, if you will, and spent a lovely evening at a resort.  It was awesome.  No computers, no cell phones, just us and the ocean (and a five-course dinner).  Good times!

View from the Rock.

It is just so ugly here. I don't know how we can stand it.

And then we came back to reality.

Before our little getaway, I snuck in a trip to the farmers’ market on Saturday morning to stock up on this week’s goods:

kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli and an avocado!

I know that it doesn’t look like a lot for a “week’s worth of goods” but we still have the bunch of beets and a bunch of carrots from last week, so we’re fully vegged out over here.  One of those sweet potatoes was roasted with some cauliflower last night and served alongside garlic shrimp and steamed broccoli. 

Roasted sweet potato and cauliflower. Mmmmmm.

I’ve been craving roasted veggies a lot lately.  I’m not sure what it is – the time of year, or just the fact that for once I actually have been able to get my hands on organic roast-ables that are staring at me from various bowls and the depths of my fridge.  Who cares?  I just love them.  LOVE.

In other news, my entire department is getting struck down, one by one, with a nasty cold.  Mind you, I am one of only two members of the department without kidlets at home, and those kids, collectively, seem to be a gigantic germ machine.  I am fighting back, however, with this:

My Savior: Effervescent Vitamin C.

Effervescent vitamin C.  Taken this way, it is more easily absorbed by the body (compared to large pills that may not dissolve completely).  I’ve been taking one of these each night in an effort to ward off the germies.  So far…knock on wood…I’m healthy.

Hmmm.  We’ll see.

Mexican Eggs.

Many, many years ago, or back in 2002, I had a half-Mexican roommate.  We had recently moved far from home together to go to university and had a great 2-bedroom apartment in the coolest area of town.  I loved it.  I still look back on the two years we spent as roomies as some of the most fun that I’ve ever had.  But the real bonus for me was that her Mexican daddy had taught her a thing or two about cooking.  I’d come home from a particularly horrendous day to find a hot quesadilla waiting for me, or Mexican hot chocolate, or…if I was really lucky, the coveted Mexican Egg.

I’ve never been a huge egg eater.  To this day, Mexican-style is pretty much the only way I really enjoy them.  Maybe eating them just brings back all the great memories of living with my best friend, or maybe it’s because they’re really that good.  I think both are pretty true.  They are delish.

You start by cooking chopped onion in a frying pan in a splash of olive oil and a dash of salt.  When they’re transparent, crack in the eggs and scramble them into the onion.  When the eggs are cooked, pour in about 1/2 cup of tomatillo (green) salsa – though, any salsa would work.  The optional ingredient at this point is cheese, which can be stirred in or sprinkled on top.  Ladle onto a plate and voila, Mexican Eggs.

How Mexican they really are is questionable.  We called them Mexican Eggs because she is half-Mexican, we used a brand of salsa made in Mexico, and she *thinks* she ate them in Mexico once, served by her Mexican aunt.  Good enough for me.

Mexican Eggs, drizzled in sriracha hot sauce. My ultimate weekend lunch.

Yum.

Blah Tuesday.

Today wasn’t the greatest.  The dark clouds rolled in while I was straightening my naturally (unruly) curly hair with my ceramic straightener which, by the way, is set to 415 degrees.  That’s hot.  I discovered exactly how hot this actually was when I reached down without looking and grabbed it by the hot end, searing two parallel lines into the palm of my right hand.  Oh, and I’m right-handed.  Awesome!

The day got worse from there.  I had recently referred a friend for a position at my company and found out this morning that they hired her.  That isn’t the bad part.  The bad part is that my company has a recruitment program where referrers of successful candidates get a nice cash bonus for helping the HR process out.  The nice cash bonus is contingent on the submission of an obscure form, which I didn’t know about until it was too late to send it in, because they’d already offered her the job.  Major bummer.  The “nice cash bonus” could have covered the airfare and hotel costs for our upcoming trip to NYC…no joke.  Lame!

And THEN, I spent an hour attempting to print a document booklet-style on tabloid-sized paper.  It worked when the document was in draft form, but when I went to finalise it, I couldn’t make it print properly again.  I sat there for an hour, trying every setting imaginable, to no avail.  Might have been the most frustrating hour of my life.  I hate it when computers revolt. 

OK, the dark cloud has passed.  My hand is fine.  I’ll get over the cash bonus.  And my secretary will be back tomorrow (THANK ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY) and she will probably figure out the printing issue in about 4 seconds (and she’s so nice that she won’t even make me feel like an idiot about it).

Season 4 of Friends awaits.  Night y’all.

Book Review: Green for Life

Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko

A few years ago, I went home to visit my parents and found my 50-something year-old Dad furiously grinding vegetables and greens in his new and fancy blender.  I’m not going to lie…it was weird.  I was skeptical.  How could liquified spinach, beets and grapefruit possibly be a good thing?  Well, maybe that particular combination wasn’t fantastic, but he was on the right track.  I was curious, so I bought Green for Life, by Victoria Boutenko and read it in one sitting.  Because it was that interesting.

Green for Life introduces the famous green smoothie, in all its glory.  The author, Victoria Boutenko, is well known in the  raw foods world and, with her family, has dedicated her career to educating people on the benefits of eating fresh, raw produce.  Blended.  According to Boutenko, our digestive systems are not able to properly break down leafy greens enough on their own to capture all of the nutrients stored in the cellular structure of the plant.  By blending greens, the “chewing” is done for us on a much more efficient scale than we are capable on our own, so the nutrients can flow right into our own cells, where they can be utilised by our bodies immediately.  She talks about the many health benefits that can be gained from adding green smoothies to our diets and profiles a study where she prepared and provided a group of people with green smoothies for 30 days and observed changes in health.  The results were amazing…disappearing asthma and allergies, skin conditions cleared up, weight loss…those are just a few. 

The end of the book contains a number of green smoothie recipes to get you started.  They’re pretty basic, but contain combinations I wouldn’t think of (parsley and pear comes to mind…) and so far, they’ve all been tasty.

I found this book really interesting and it was definitely what jump-started me on making my own green smoothies on a regular basis.  I was surprised by how delicious they are and how you really can’t taste the greens at all when you add fruit.  It just tastes like a regular fruit smoothie.  Seriously! 

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of green smoothies, I would highly recommend this book as a starting point.  It’s an easy read, super interesting and motivating when you read through the results of the study.