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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spa week?!

It all started with my salad bar lunch.  I NEEDED veggies. 

"This feels so good to eat!"

"Why don't I eat like this all the time?"

"What if I could go away to a spa for a week where they fed me good, clean food and made me exercise and relax?"

"Rates starting at $4,000???  And I didn't win PowerBall last night?  Never mind!"

*googled spa week at home*

LOOK WHAT I FOUND.  This woman does her own spa weeks at home where she takes amazing care of herself:

Can I do this?!  Why not?  My last assignment is due December 13.  I DO have to work over the break, but I can sort of call the shots.  So, if I wanted to take off, say, the 14th-18th and really focus on myself, I could.

Half the fun will be imagining what the time should be like.  No TV?  No internet?  No junk food or drinking?  Music?  Reading?  Should I be alone the whole time?  Should I try to detox from caffeine?  Should I only eat raw? 

Her basic framework will be the same as mine.  A few hours a day for exercise (including long walks/hikes AND gym time), healthy food, relaxing baths.  This is the best idea I've ever had.

My goals would be to come away refreshed and refocused (I've been so burned out and lost about school/career stuff) and to sustain a reasonable amount of spa-week in my regular life (more healthy food, long walks, and wellness).

Generally, my time off is spent binging on TV, internet, beer, and junk's more escapism than sustainable rejuvenation. 

What would you do with 5 days totally focused on your wellness?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Soups are the best.  I am never more satisfied than when I make (and enjoy) a delicious soup.  The best thing about soup is, the simplest ones are always the best!

I had a big soup victory this Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving (can we coin this something, like Blue Wednesday?)  I have been fighting "the crud", one of those mysterious not-really-sick-sicknesses, ever since last week, and I thought Wednesday would be a good day to make some soup.

Soup is nearly impossible to make to make in small quantities.  Even though I only used one chicken breast, by the time I threw in all my random use-em-or-lose-em veggies, I had a whole stock pot of soup going.  I usually feel bad for throwing out the leftovers, but this turned out not to be a problem.  My boyfriend (Thomas) came over for lunch and ended up spending the afternoon at my place while I ran errands and went to class.  He went nuts over this random crappy soup I made and ate the whole pot over the course of the evening.  Why?  Because it's addictive, feel good, guilt free tastiness.

Do you know how to make soup?  Like, if you wanted to throw a soup together, do you have a good starting point?  Here are the two soup recipes that have trained me to throw one together on the fly.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Vegetable Soup

Having made every variation possible on that chicken noodle soup, I've learned that it's pretty much infallible.  Blue Wednesday's version was a chicken breast (thrown straight in frozen), 1.5 cups shredded carrots, a few stalks of chopped celery, garlic, a small can of corn, a small can of green beans (from this time that someone told me they lost a ton of weight eating tuna and green beans for lunch...those green beans sat in my pantry for 2 years), all the herbs in the recipe, some bouillon, and....I think that's it.  No noodles or rice.  It was AWESOME even as weird as it was, and I finally used those freakin' green beans.

Are you feeling snobby about bouillon?  I hear ya.  It's a ball of (delicious) sodium.  I have made that chicken noodle recipe with homemade slow cooked stock, and it's wonderful.  And if you have time to do that regularly, do it!  But bouillon is key to doing this stuff fast, and honestly, I don't remember the last time that bouillon was the worst thing I'd had in a week.  It's like corn.  Corn has such a bad rap lately, but one of my favorite salads I make has spinach, radishes, corn, chickpeas, and a splash of red wine vinegar.  I realize there isn't much good about corn, but if corn is the worst thing I eat in a week, that's a pretty good week.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself for selling Thomas on the wonders of soup.  Tonight, I got cocky and decided to try again.  In our post-Thanksgiving state of shame, we are trying to eat healthier this week, and I remembered that he bought a bag of lentils and some ham last time we went to the store together.  So, I went to his place and made lentil soup.

All this went into the pot:
Rinsed 1 lb bag lentils
bag of cubed ham (don't know how much, probably 1.5-2 cups total)
8-ish cups of water
a couple bay leaves, some dried oregano, basil, and thyme
Half a bag of shredded carrots (I almost always have these on hand...I hate chopping carrots more than I hate the weirdness of using shredded carrots in everything)
Chopped celery (1-2 cups.  Bought it pre-chopped, didn't measure it, just dumped it in)
Onion powder (use a real onion if your soup-eaters will eat one...mine will not)
2 extra large Knorr chicken bouillon cubes

Then, after the lentils were done (45-60 minutes), I added about .5 cup of tomato sauce.

So.  Good.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I used to blog!

I saw someone posting on FB about blogging today, and I remembered that I used to LOVE blogging!  I wonder if I'm any good at it anymore, or if my life is just too much graduate school drudgery.

One of the biggest changes in my life lately is having roommates.  I haven't had an actual know, someone who is ONLY your roommate...since my very first year in college back in 2002.  I was kind of nervous about taking the plunge again, being so used to doing my thing without caring about anyone else, but so far it's pretty awesome and only occasionally gives me something silly to raise my eyebrow at.  Mostly, it's been fun and SO COST EFFECTIVE.  Both girls are students - one is in the same doc program as me, and the other is a psychology undergrad.  And one is the most honest, remorseful cheese thief that ever existed.

But all in all, I'm pretty much doing the same things I did when I blogged before.  Cooking, eating, going to school, finding humor in unexpected (and sometimes inappropriate) places, and taking pictures of my cat, Puddin'.  So, stay tuned!