Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Case of Writer's Block

I guess I've had a case of writer's block.. or.. well.. absolutely nothing interesting to say. Lately I've been wondering why I still write in this space. Who cares and it is actually worth my time to continue? Did you know each post takes about an hour for me to write? I am soooo slow and it's very time consuming to upload pictures, etc. etc. Mostly though, it's difficult thinking about what to write.. ho hum. I'm not disappearing too soon though because one of my 36 in 365 goals is to write everyday for a month, and May is going to be that month.

In the meantime, M and I found a place to live in Chicago! I'm very excited because it has a backyard. I haven't had my own backyard for... ohhhhhhh.... 10 years. It is high time. Our place also has interior brick (gah!), a real fireplace (omg) and it's two levels. Alllleluhhhhhhhia. I haven't lived in a place with stairs for 7 years. It's also located in a very nice area and is super close to the lake and el train. w00t.
I haven't seen it in person, but M went and took enough pictures for me to get the gist. It's definitely not the most beautiful place in the world (you should see what it looks like from the outside - ivy everywhere, ew) and it only has one bathroom. All of the appliances are different colours and the washer and dryer are in the kitchen. But I'm convinced it'll be great!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Food Revolution

Have you caught any of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on tv? I enjoyed the first couple of episodes and was quite shocked/saddened by a few things I saw. I decided to show my class two clips and do a bit of my own research.

#1. I was so surprised that the seven(ish) year old kids on the show did not know the difference between a potato and a tomato, yet could readily identify pizza and chicken nuggets.

We have a phys ed teacher at my school who discusses nutrition with the kids so I wasn't positive how much my class knew about names of foods. I played the clip where Jamie Oliver asks the kids the names of fruits and vegetables, but paused every time to see if my class knew the names. They could identify everything but the beet (thought it was a turnip). Success!

#2. How disgusting was it when the kids on the show wanted to eat those chicken nuggets, even after they saw how they were made (from bones and carcass and skin and other crud)???? Gross me right out.

I showed the chicken nugget clip to my class and they were all revolted. I then asked how many still wanted to eat those chicken nuggets and (oh dear) three out of nineteen said yes. Granted, these are the three kids that would probably eat dirt for a snack, but still. Peer pressure is so funny, too. After they saw their classmates looking at them all crazy like, they told me, oh no no no, I meant, no I would never eat those nuggets in a million years.

I've been spending a lot of time going over Canada's Food Guide with the kids and today I had them plan meals/snacks for a whole day. I asked them to add the totals of each food group to see if they were close to the recommended amounts.

One group told me what they had planned to eat for breakfast: cereal, milk, half a bagel, two eggs, an apple, and a glass of OJ. And then we ran out of time. I see I still have some work ahead of me!

Monday, April 12, 2010

When Husband's Away...

What do you like to do when your spouse/partner/dog/roommate is away?

I'm not talking about dancing around naked, peeing with the door open, or eating an entire tub of ice cream (we all do that)!

Here are my favourite things in no particular order:

1) Watch really horrible girly movies like A Cinderella Story, High School Musical, or 13 Going on 30. You know, the ones that get less than 10% on rotten tomatoes?

2) Make weird food that only I would touch, like black bean brownies, chia pudding, or banana anything.

3) Read blogs or other internet stuff for hours and hours until I have to (see #4)...

4) Take an afternoon nap! Oh, how I love this.

I'm quite the rebel, eh? Come on, don't be embarrassed! What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finally Done

One of my goals for this year's 36 in 365 was to read Jane Eyre. I finally finished it this weekend. This novel took me a looong time to read (over a month, but that's long for me). I actually had to send it back to the library because I renewed it the maximum number of times, then had to take it out again to finish.

I began this book on a plane ride to Chicago. The man next to me said it must be pretty good because I didn't put it down once the entire flight! And the beginning was so good! But the middle got a bit boring and thankfully the end finished strong.

Jane Eyre, in short, is a woman who stands her moral ground and stays true to her heart. Knowing this book was published in 1847 makes me like it more than I might have because it's so progressive. I don't want to spoil anything for you, just go read it yourself!

Overall, this is not an "easy" book to read but it is a true classic. There are many parts I enjoyed and I'd rate it a 3.5 out of 5. I really wanted to love this book. Perhaps I'm not a classic type of gal?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What Did You Eat Today?

For the last couple of weeks I've been trying to track the food I eat each day. Weight loss is basically a simple calculation - calories eaten vs. calories burned. Of course I *know* this, but doing anything about it is my problem! It's really interesting to find out how many calories I am eating vs. how many calories I think I'm eating.

I always seem to fall off the healthy eating wagon on weekends, so I thought I'd show you my food for today in hopes that I am more accountable. Here goes...

Since I have time on weekends I try to make a nicer breakfast, rather than the green monster I have on weekdays. Today I made an onion and ham egg white omelette, some of it in a whole wheat wrap, with OJ.
All of the calorie totals are from fitday.com and this breakfast was approximately 354 calories (38g carbs, 5g fat, 37g protein).

For a morning snack I had a piece of homemade banana bread which is about 130 calories (30g carbs, 5.4g fat, 3g protein).
For lunch I was really craving a salad. I used romaine lettuce, red pepper, mushroom, cucumber, half an avocado, broccoli, chickpeas, and light feta. I topped it with a homemade dressing of balsamic, EVOO, and dijon mustard. This salad was MAMMOTH, I could barely finish it.
It totalled about 375 calories (46g carbs, 17g fat, 17g protein).

In the afternoon I had two squares of dark chocolate, which is 75 calories (4.5g carbs, 6g fat, 1.5g protein).
When I was out and about I bought a tall nonfat chai tea from Starbucks, which is about 150 calories (33g carbs, 0g fat, 6g protein).
For dinner I made lettuce rollups. I used chicken, carrots, ginger, lime juice, garlic, and soya sauce to make the filling for the romain lettuce wraps.
Dinner totalled only 150 calories (16g carbs, 2g carbs, 20g protein). This is a tiny dinner, calorie wise, and that is probably why I was hungry 20 minutes later!

My after dinner snack was plain yogurt with apple butter, which is just apples and apple juice. This equalled about 110 calories (10g carbs, 2g fat, 7g protein).
And that is the end of my eating for the day! In total, this is about 1400-1500 calories, with 55% carbs, 20% fat, and 25% protein. I would consider this an okay eating day, but I should have had more protein and less carbs. A piece of fruit or two wouldn't have hurt either!

My goal is to eat more natural, wholesome food and be more mindful in my eating. I was actually reading today that I should be eating upwards of 1700-1800 calories a day, where I have been aiming for 1400-1500 the last couple of weeks. I am not hungry for more food though, so I'm not sure what to do about that. I obviously know that counting calories is not a permanent solution, but it is a really good way (for me) to start the weight loss.

So, what do you think? Would you ever consider counting calories, even for one day, just for interest sake?

*PS: I am in no way an expert and all of these nutrition facts are approximations. If you have any suggestions, comments, or concerns, let me know!

Nanner Bread

Here's a yumtastic recipe for the whole wheat banana bread I made this morning. I've made it a few times now and it never disappoints! I found the original recipe here.
-4 ripe bananas, mashed
-1 cup plain yogurt
-1/4 cup egg whites (or one egg - I didn't have any)
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 cup raisins
-2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat over to 350. Spray loaf pans with cooking oil. Mix dry and wet ingredients, then combine. Don't overmix. Pour into loaf pans. Bake 50-60 minutes, or about 40 minutes for mini loaf pans.
I just read that brown sugar is considered a "wet" ingredient. Is this true?

I cut each loaf into four pieces (making 16 slices in total). Here's the nutritional info for each slice: 132 calories, 30g carbs, 0.5g fat, 3g protein. Not bad!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My New Favourite Show

United States of Tara. Have you seen this show? It's my new favourite. Ahh, seriously, so good! It's about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder who has alter personalities that come out at all the wrong times.

Below is the alter named "T" who's a sixteen year old bad ass.
Here's "Buck", a beer guzzling Vietnam vet.
And this is "Alice", a 1950's housewife.
Don't even attempt to watch this show if you're offended by foul language. I personally love it and think it has some of the best writing I've ever seen on tv. It's one of those shows you can watch over and over again and catch quirky little things you previously missed.

I was sent the first season from Rogers Video Direct and watched all the episodes in a couple of days. The second season just started, so really, you don't have much to catch up on!

I highly, highly recommend this show. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Makes Me Happy #4

Here we go again! 5 more things that make me smile...

#16. When M first moved to Chicago he lived near a restaurant called Mon Ami Gabi. Anyone from Canada who knows even a tiny bit of French would likely pronounce this name how it looks, ya know, with a little French accent of some sort perhaps. Anyway, M was talking to someone from the States about this restaurant and they were pronouncing it "mon-ommy-gobby". All together like one word monommygobby. I still kill myself laughing every time I think about this.

#17. Okay, poking more fun at Americans... M tried to order potatoes "au gratin" at a restaurant recently, but used a French-ish sort of accent while saying "au gratin". The server didn't understand and then finally said, oh you mean O-GRATin? Like with a horrible mid western accent, can you picture it? Again, kill myself laughing.

#18. If you've ever walked hand in hand with someone you know there is a proper way to do it where you legs are synced up and your arm movements match. Yes? Okay, good. When M and I were backpacking in Europe for the first time, he made up this little skip hop to do when our legs weren't in sync. It worked perfectly every time! Very cute to see husby time out the perfect hop.

#19. Hearing the kids I teach tell me I'm the BEST TEACHER EVER! True, they say it to every teacher and it's usually after I've given them candy :) but I'll take what I can get!

#20. The classic wedding photo with my high school friends. I love looking at how we've changed over the years.
What's making you happy lately?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's a Happening?

Last night I got back from Chicago where I was visiting this guy
and this guy!
I LOVE this dog! I just want to maul him all day long!
We had a fun, although non-Eastery weekend. Does Chicago not sell mini-eggs? All I wanted for Easter was one little package yet they were nowhere to be found. Boo!

We did find tickets to a Blackhawks game. You know what's really weird? The Americans clapped and hooted and hollered throughout their entire national anthem. I have never seen this before! Very much different than what I'm used to.
M surprised me with tickets to see Ingrid Michaelson on Friday night!
We also spent time walking around the area we want to live in and viewed one apartment for rent, but it's still too early to be searching for July 1st availability. I can hardly believe in less than three months I'll be living in the USA. Eeek!