When a Book Isn’t Worth Your Time

There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good book. The question is, how far into it do you allow yourself to go before you decide if it is a good book or not worth your time?

I’ve been really enjoying the liberty I have to read books at my leisure and not textbooks. I’ve gone through quite a lot these past few months, some I’ve loved and left me sad when it was finished, and others I thought, eh, and tossed aside. There is one book I started last week that I had high expectations for when starting. I won’t name it.

Travel books in particular have piqued my interest as of late. I love reading about the Mediterranean and other European cities in memoir form. There is something special about being a part of that travel experience, seeing different perspectives of the places and food known to that culture. That is why I latched onto this book and prepared myself to become immersed in a different world. Until I didn’t.

I kept waiting for that moment. I guess you don’t know what that moment is until you’re already there, so it can’t be defined. You just have to wait to cross the threshold and then you’re making your way through the book and surprised and dismayed when it’s over.

The food was mentioned as well as the idea of traveling, but the focus was more on the subject and his/her feelings rather than where they are. It was a well-written book and I can see why people may have enjoyed it, but I came for something I wasn’t getting and it didn’t grab my interest.

And so I stepped away from it.

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by books of all different genres, interests, cultures, and twists. So many, that there is no way to read them all. I got about one-third of the way through the book when it occurred to me that I didn’t have to finish this book. I could put it down unfinished, return it to the library, and carry on to another, without guilt.

It wasn’t one of those books that everyone claims will make you a better person for it, but even if it was, there are so many others out there that can do the same. It’s not that I’m against reading and learning about things that are different because that would go against the point of reading. In NBA endless array of selection, I have the option to pick and choose, and so I did.

I was inspired to do this because of my grandma who is an avid reader. She is open to read anything and everything, but she’s told me that now, if she doesn’t like it, she won’t continue because there are others waiting for her to open. I won’t go as far as to say that finishing this book would have been a waste of time. Reading all the way through may have granted me further insight and perhaps I would have ended up liking it in the end. But I didn’t feel it necessary.

There’s so much entertainment in all mediums out there that we have a right to decide what to enjoy or at least get through and what to skip over and put aside. We have so many things in life that we don’t have control over, and so I think, as preachy as this might sound, that we should try to maintain control over our entertainment.

If I have to be sick with a cold, again, I want to curl up on my couch, cup of tea in one hand, box of tissues in the other, and reading something that helps get me back to normal as quickly and smoothly as possible.

To be fair, if I had bought the book and not taken it out of the library, I would have agonized my way through it. That’s just the principle of it.

Insert Funny Title About Food Here

Baked pumpkin oatmeal was a great way to start off the week. This included pumpkin purée, maple peanut butter, pecans, banana, and blueberries and it was excellent even after a night in the fridge. Oatmeal is a quick, healthy, easy meal in any of its varieties, particularly if you make it a night in advanced. Whether you prefer cold with over-night or hot with baked, it takes just a few minutes of prep and then it’s ready to go when you need it in the morning.

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My peanut butter pancakes were on the menu the next day, enjoyed as they usually are with peanut butter, jelly, shredded coconut, and an assortment of fresh fruit. I can’t ever get sick of these!

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Another one of my favorites is poached eggs over toast. I tried putting jelly on one of the slices of toast because I’ve heard the sweetness pairs well with the saltiness of the yolk. Not bad, but this dish is just as good in its classic form. I also had some fruit, but I don’t like my fruit stewing in egg.

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Some more oatmeal, this time the stove top variety with some peanut butter, jelly, banana, strawberries, and blueberries. Toasted shredded coconut on top completed this deliciousness.

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This next breakfast was a bit of a fail. One thing I am working on is trying new dishes without a recipe. I had the brilliant idea to make some coconut crusted French toast and all was going well until the coconut burned in the pan without fully cooking the bread. It was good, especially dolled up with the usual concoction of peanut butter and jelly, but indefinitely has room for improvement. Experimenting in the kitchen is what makes cooking fun! My friend Andrea suggested next time I try baking it in the oven.

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As you can see, it’s not very pretty.

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Now it’s very pretty.

This is actually a different pancake recipe I tried to devise. I just threw together some Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, oats, and an egg and topped nitwits peanut butter and jelly. Predictable, I know. They were excellent though a bit more indulgent than my other protein pancakes, particularly because I went with coconut yogurt.

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Breakfast on Sunday came much earlier than usual these days because I knew I had a busy day ahead and limited time to fit in my workout. I had a quick, light, and healthy peanut butter on toast and fruit meal to fuel heat ended up being a pretty good workout, despite still being a bit sore from my previous two workouts.

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My first lunch was enjoyed at a Barnes and Noble cafe as I was waiting for a meeting. While browsing, I was appalled at the calories of some of the dishes, including the veggie quiche that I had been eyeing and ended up being over 600 calories for not a lot of food. Instead, I opted for the more friendly egg, cheese, and spinach on non English muffin for 300 calories along with my brought from home veggie sticks. To be honest, I can make it far better.

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I jazzed up some pasta leftovers by tossing it with peppers, broccoli, asparagus, cheese, and black beans. All very good!

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A salad and yogurt was on the lunch menu the next day. I was so excited to find pumpkin chobani at Target and couldn’t wait to try it when I got home. I included a half of a whole wheat pita to go with my salad.

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Nouha came over to try an online Yoga class that had good intentions, but was not what we expected. I suppose it was a good stretch, but I’m glad that it was my rest day from the gym. After, I made stir fries using chicken, zucchini, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms on top of quinoa and mixed with a Thai peanut sauce I found at Target. It was very good! For dessert, Nouha brought some frozen yogurt that made everything a little sweeter.

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After a long workout that kicked my butt and has still left me sore, I was craving carbs. I threw together some more pasta and black beans, a couple of meatballs, cheese, and an assortment of vegetables. This left me so nice and full, I wasn’t hungry for dinner until way later in the night.

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To start off the weekend, my cousin Michael, my grandma, and I had a wonderful lunch out together at Bertuccis. Along with the best company and conversation, I enjoyed some Bertuccis rolls (the best kind), salad, and the pasta abruzzi in which I had some of the pasta and all of the peppers and sausage. I forwent most of the carbs in the meal because I couldn’t resist having two rolls! Pick and choose!

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My final lunch of the week was actually brunch out with my friends Lauren and Andrea. There was a bit of a wait to be seated so we sipped on mimosas and snacked on some homemade biscuits. For my meal, I went with eggs over easy, I had two yolks and most of the egg whites, but did not need the third yolk they offered. The eggs were so fluffy and buttery, I need to improve my egg technique. I loved the sour dough toast and slice of watermelon that came with it. Finally, I chose French fries over home fries and shared the huge plate with my friends and we didn’t come close to finishing them. All very good!

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Dinners this week included quite a bit of pasta, including this first dish. This is a chicken cacciatore that was served with whole wheat fussili, peppers, and asparagus. I couldn’t resist also having a side of toast, though this is something I am trying to cut out!

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Teriyaki chicken with spinach, a huge baked potato blanketed in a bit of butter and cheese, and the most delicious roasted squash dish ever was another dinner this past week. Seriously,the squash (and everything else), was so good!

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More pasta this week, this time whole wheat spaghetti with meatballs, peppers, mushrooms, and kale along with a salad I didn’t snap a picture of. I had to demolish this fairly quickly because my kickball game was on the earlier side and I wasn’t hungry until it was close to kick-off.

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I have been on the lookout for an easy, healthy curry recipe I could make myself and though I’m still searching, I found a substitute at Target that worked nicely. This is a Taste of India brand that was easy to put together, just toss in the paste (no artificial ingredients or preservatives, just a brief list of spices and things I’ve heard of!), water, and chicken and veggies of choice and heat on the stove top. It was spicy and delicious and reminded me a lot of the Indian food I’ve eaten at restaurants. I was quite pleased and enjoyed it over coconut basmati rice also found at Target- I’m loving their brands!

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After a long run, I threw together a quick salad with leftover teriyaki chicken and a pumpkin spice English muffin with a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter. Simple, quick, and filling, perfect for after a workout!

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My final meal of the week was enjoyed with some family at my aunt and uncle’s house. After snacking on a few appetizers, though I tried to keep it light, we ordered in some Mexican. I went with steak tacos, but put aside the tortillas in exchange for some of the chips. I also only had a couple of bites of the rice, but I ate all the beans because they were so good and fluffy. To get more of a veggie fix, I cut up some pepper and carrots when I got home to try and end the week on a healthy note!

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Though I seem to be starting the week off with a bit of a cold and it’s still warm outside, I’m feeling good and excited that it will soon chill off so I can wear layers and boots again!

Eat any good meals this week you want to share?

Standing Room Only- Sunday Night Thoughts

I don’t like sitting all day, so I’ve been searching for a place around the house where I can have an office to stand, but everywhere I go I have to hunch over and then I end up sore for all the wrong reasons.

Not anymore!

Have I mentioned I love my new kitchen? Especially the new island counter top where I have set up shop to do all my work. Being able to stand has given me better posture and helps me realize how long I’ve been stationary.

Except of course when you’re working and the cat jumps up and lies down on all of your work….

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Both my sister and her fiancée requested standing desks at work and love them. In order to avoid any back pain, make sure the computer is at a good elevation where you’re reading. Every so often, I like to include a few squats or calf raises to mix things up and get my blood pumping.

Another big suggestion, especially for those who have to work at a sitting desk, get up and move whenever possible. Force yourself to do this until it becomes a part of your routine that you don’t even have to think about it. I’ve worked a couple of jobs, some more stationary than others, and I’ve been able to find random spaces to stand when sitting became too much.

When I was teaching, I was standing the entire time, which is a very good thing and didn’t make me feel too guilty about going home and sitting at night, though of course this was also after a nice long workout.

Your daily exercise is important, but it’s also important to be moving your whole body throughout the day. Take little walks and get in as many steps as possible. Don’t let the convenience of technology prevent you from being active. Our bodies were meant to move and the effects of not moving have been worsening.

I’ve noticed in schools that teachers have been trying to find ways to get students up more often during class, though I think they definitely have more energy to expend! Healthy bodies are meant to explore and do physical work. I honestly think that if we were as active as they were however long ago, we wouldn’t even need the gym. Alas, we are in these times, so the gym is crucial to health. Just find exercises that incorporate natural movements, like running, swimming, hiking, and strength moves, both body and free weights that don’t rely on machines.

When I was out for brunch today with my friends Andrea and Lauren, we were looking for something to do after. I’ve realized more and more that it’s difficult to do something that’s not centered around eating. Believe me, I love food and eating, both for fuel and for enjoyment, but fun life moments can be enjoyed without it. We ended up walking around a flee market in the square even though it was hot, hot, hot! (I want fall!)

When wanting to be entertained, we are all about consumption. We want to see and receive immediate gratification, but we do far less. That is partly why I had so much fun in New Hampshire this summer because we were up and moving, exploring nature, and being involved in these experiences, rather than just watching and absorbing.

Sometimes, just having the ability to stroll down the street is an extraordinary feat because you learn so much about the world around you. Maybe this sounds cliche or obvious, but in this world, we were given bodies for a reason, and I truly believe it has a lot to do with finding adventures, both physically and mentally. Enjoy the stationary moments, but don’t forget about being involved yourself.

Edit: As my friend Nouha commented on my Facebook, she likes to stand and walk around while she studies because it helps her focus better. Standing is definitely harder than sitting, but it keeps you more alert and aware of what you are doing. Putting in that effort helps to concentrate rather than allows you to zone out into mindless activities, such as my biggest weaknesses, Twitter and Tumblr. I’m more apt to focus on work than browse if I’m standing and realizing it’s a working time.

If anything, give it a try! You may feel mentally exhausted after a long day at work, but being physically exhausted helps you sleep better at night, which lends to improved over all healthy! Convenience does not always mean better!

Hydrate Till You Glow

One thing I find I don’t frequently, if at all, talk about is what I drink. I drink a ton- of water that is. Another important facet of my weight loss and sustainability has been my habit of staying hydrated throughout the day. This seems easy peasy. We all need water to survive. It’s funny though how, if we don’t focus on it or make it a point to drink more water, we end up not drinking enough. People rely heavily on coffee to stay focus and energized, and believe me, I get it, but water helps a lot too, and you would probably feel a lot better if you drank more water.

Every day, even before breakfast, and we know I love breakfast, I have a large glass of water. I chug it down, whether my body feels up to it or not because it instantly makes me feel more awake. It’s like magic. Then I’ll move onto my warming cup of coffee. Coffee is another thing I have been working on. I do love it, but I’ve been trying to train myself to drink it black. I moved on long ago from any kind of sweetener (except for Iced Coffee where I still use half a sugar packet-ugh!) and only drink it with milk or cream. There was that awful realization that the creamer I was using had a ton of creepy, icky fake things inside so I quickly moved away from that and now use a dash of half and half whose only ingredients are milk and cream. Slowly but surely I’ll move away from even that.

After my water and coffee during breakfast, I’ll move onto another tall glass of water and a cup of tea. I do drink my tea completely black because I like the taste more that way. Tea is something I drink way more of in the cooler months because hot tea just doesn’t make me feel great when it’s hot and humid outside.

Throughout the day, I make a conscious decision to drink water on a consistent basis to the point where it’s not even conscious anymore. If my glass or water bottle empties, I fill it and drink some more. I am especially aware of how much water I drink on the days I run because not enough leaves me parched and tired, while too much makes me have to pee- having to pee while running makes running not fun.

One trick I’ve learned in drinking water is by infusing it with fruit. That ish is everywhere, first seen at my undergrad cafeteria. It’s another obvious, and these infusers are everywhere. It softens up the bland taste of water and makes it go down easier. I’ve never loved juice or any of the fancy waters they make sweetened. It always tasted false and full of product. With my more defined and healthier palate, I can’t drink any of that stuff at all.

To get that palate, I had to let go of something I never thought I would be able to- soda. Listen, diet soda was a fixture of my childhood and life, mostly because I spent a lot of time with my Nana and her sister and they were diabetic so they drank a ton of soda. I get it, we didn’t know how bad it was then, nor the importance of drinking it on the rare occasion. I was popping soda like I pop water now. NOT GOOD. I gave it up for Lent one year and I was literally having dreams about it. How sad is that? I was so addicted to that carbonate stuff that I barely functioned during those months.

When I was first getting serious about my weight loss, I knew that soda would have to go. It ended up being not as hard as I thought. My roommate and I made a joint goal to not drink it for a week, then pushed it to two. Then we decided we would give it up for Lent again, indulged in one more glass, and I haven’t drunken it since. There is the rare occasion that soda will find itself into a mixed drink, but I’ve found that I am put off by the taste and it makes me feel gross. Since going off the good stuff, I realized that I have more cravings and appreciation for naturally sweet things, like fruit and vegetables. That’s probably a combination of not engorging myself on fake products, being conscious of what I’m eating, and appreciating food more in general.

Sometimes, life can seem boring when you only drink water, coffee, and tea, especially when you are out to a restaurant. In these cases, if I’m ever feeling left out when one of my friends or family members orders a soda, I go for an unsweetened iced tea with lemon. The other downside is that I have to pee all the time. It’s never-ending and I have no shame.

Another drink I haven’t talked much about is alcohol. I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner on the rare occasion, especially if we are having Italian, but even then I’d rather spend those calories on a cookie. I’m not much of a drinker and I don’t have to drink much to have fun. On holidays or special events, I’ll probably drink more wine than normal, but it doesn’t take much to leave me flushed. When I go out with friends, it can sometimes seem awkward if I don’t get much to drink, but again, I’d rather spend those extra calories on food, and also, it’s just expensive to go out, sheesh. I’m not against drinking, and I’ll indulge every so often, but when it comes down to it, I’m not that adventurous. I like wine and if there isn’t any good wine or if I’ve had my fill, I drink water. No apologies.

Now, excuse me. I am about to enjoy this large glass of beautiful water.

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A Moment and then Movement

Before I begin this week’s Workout Wednesday, I want to take a moment and tell you that today would have been my Nana’s 90th birthday. We lost her thirteen years ago earlier this month and I still miss her dearly. No doubt she is celebrating with a drink and her sisters up in Heaven. My family speculates that she is where I get my penchant for celebrities, parties, and conspiracy theories. There really was no one quite like her and I am grateful for the eleven years I did have with her, reading People Magazine over her shoulder, trying to learn how to write the letter A with her frustrated because I kept writing it upside down, watching her try to get off the moving log ride at Storyland in time then having to go again because she couldn’t and then again when her horse in the merry go ride stopped at the highest point, and the time she had to swat the ants off my ass when I sat in a pile, laughing and muttering obscenities under her breath. Everything she did, she did with a smile, gentle care, and with a touch of sarcasm, which are other facets I hope I get from her. She was one of the strongest, most selfless, and most loving people that I have had the pleasure of knowing, and so it is with bittersweet emotions that I say, Happy Birthday.

Now to take a more judging stance, at the gym, I just witnessed a man stack the barbell with a ton of weight, do two reps, wait five minutes in between each set and only do that three times. He struggled through them and didn’t even complete them fully, which makes me question what his intention is.

When weight lifting, I’ve read many different accounts, and I myself feel as though it is important to push yourself, but only to a point. You want to be able to get through a number of reps, rest, and do a couple of sets of each move. If you put on too much weight and can’t do the moves properly or fully you will hurt yourself and/or make very little improvement. To each their own, I suppose.

From what I’ve read, if you can’t do a move at a certain weight at least five times in a row properly, then it’s too much weight. It just gets me when people feel as though exercise is about killing yourself, when what you really want to do is improve. Working out and pushing your body is so important, but not to the extent of your health!

This past week, I played kickball and found out that I’m actually pretty clumsy. As I was running to first base, I almost tripped over myself (the ball was caught in the air anyways) and then I stumbled trying to field as well. I did make one pretty good catch and was feeling pretty good about my abilities until of course I was running to second on a play and remembered my fateful fall. I am glad to say I have made a full recovery and there has been no pain in the past week!

The next day, I did some strength training and a quick elliptical workout. Since my college roommate was visiting for the weekend, on Saturday, all we did was walk around, which is acceptable, but I was raring to go on Sunday.

That day, I did another strength and elliptical workout, along with some core exercises. I’ve been trying to increase my plank, and I am now up to about a minute and fifteen to a minute and thirty, though I feel like last week I was doing two full minutes. I think that this is partly because instead of only planking once, I include them in my core circuit so in the end, I’m actually doing more time spread out.

Monday, I was loving the fall air and went out for a run after a long walk with the dog. I came back and did some body strength and core moves, including some Yoga.

The next day, I went to the gym and did a few moves with the medicine ball, including my hated burpees. This move is the pits, but I included a quick ball lift and throw down to make it even more fun (sarcasm noted). At the end, I did some box jumps and jump rope before heading down to the pool to swim laps. It feels as though it takes a long time to swim a mile, and maybe it is, but I have been getting faster. Only 43.5 minutes this time around and I was huffing and heaving by the end of it. I completed my day with an even longer walk with the dog, which left me feeling a bit parched.

Today, I went through another strength workout. To change it up a bit, I incorporated eight moves using heavy weights and performed them in five sets of ten reps and then did eight body strength moves in four sets of twelve reps. I was feeling nice and sweaty, but strong, after and went out for a quick two mile run to try and improve my speed. My legs were feeling tired, but I’m definitely seeing an improvement! I topped it off with a mile walk to recover.

The biggest issue I’ve been dealing with these week are respiratory problems that seem to be correlated to my allergies. I have always suffered through spring, but never summer or fall before this past year. An allergy pill will usually help, but I needed to switch products because during random parts of the day and night, my lungs felt as though there were pressure on them and at times I was wheezing. I can handle to disgusting nose dripping because I can just blow it away, but the constricted breathing is scary. Luckily, they did not happen at times during my workout, and I never would have exercised in that moment, so it leads me to believe that it’s not anything more serious than allergies. With a new brand, I have been feeling improvements. Let’s hope there won’t be any allergies in winter at least! I want to eat apples again!

Food Made Delicious

This week’s meals kick off with a bowl of stove top oats. It has been quite cold inside now, though outside it may still be warm. I’m definitely ready for the chilly weather and my warm meals and affinity for wearing sweatshirts and sweaters proves this. This bowl of oats included a tablespoon of maple peanut butter, cinnamon pecans, and blueberries among the usual ingredients. Not too sweet and very satisfying.

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I was craving eggs of the scrambled variety, so I whipped up two with a dollop of milk and then topped it with cheese. This was enjoyed with a dark picture of assorted fruits and a grilled slice of my homemade zucchini bread! Instead of oil, I used apple sauce and subbed whole wheat flour for the white kind. It was so moist and yummy.

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Up next came my favorite, go-to pancake recipe. These are topped with peanut butter (of course), jelly, and toasted coconut and served with fresh, beautiful berries.

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Another oatmeal day included chocolate peanut butter, blueberries, strawberries, and banana. Again topped with a swirl of jelly and toasted coconut. I can’t get enough!

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Peanut butter toast was on the menu one day, the usual served with a healing bowl of fresh fruit. Simple, yet delightful.

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When my college roommate came to visit this weekend, I knew what I needed to serve, pumpkin anything. I decided on the French toast recipe I developed last week. For my bread, I chose one piece of whole wheat sour dough and another cinnamon raisin. Unpictured are the strawberries, raspberries, and grapes I devoured on the side. Obviously these were enjoyed with my usual topping.

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I ended my breakfasts for the week with two eggs over easy, with a little cheese, buttered toast with jam, and a side of fruit.

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My first lunch was a bit of a stir fry fail. I get too over enthusiastic about vegetables so I couldn’t finish it all, and the salmon and chickpeas I used were past their freshness and I had tone at around them! The whole wheat bow tie pasta was the best part!

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Since I had eaten eggs for breakfast, I was missing my peanut butter fix, so for lunch I decided on a peanut buttered English muffin and veggie sticks with hummus. Light, filling, and so good!

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Leftovers always make for am easy, great lunch. This includes whole wheat spaghetti, shrimp, and a variety of veggies mixed with homemade marinara sauced and topped with cheese.

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Leftover pizza in general is the best gift. I quickly chopped up a healthy salad to accompany my slices and loved my meal.

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Oh, this is awkward. Another day, another pizza lunch. Again served with salad and again enjoyed with immense fervor.

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Okay, this is getting embarrassing. At the very least, this version is homemade and much healthier. And I served it with carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes so that’s not quite a salad. Don’t judge me.

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Phew, my last lunch was a chicken kebab salad enjoyed out with my siblings. I saved face there. For now at least.

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My first dinner this week was some steak tossed with peppers and mushrooms and topped with cheese. I opted for some tortilla chips instead of a flour tortilla, threw on some sour cream, and enjoyed a side of spinach and cabbage.

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Whole wheat spaghetti, shrimp, and veggies came next with a Caesar salad, which I had been craving for some reason. I love this colorful, delicious dish!

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The next night, my sister and her fiancé came over for dinner so we ordered pizza and I made a huge salad. This week we got suckered into the Roosevelt special on PBS, which was excellent, but it’s hard to watch something on a weeknight that’s two hours long with no commercial breaks! Conversation was limited that night.

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To offset all that pizza floating about, we had grilled chicken over a salad the next night. I had to eat this quickly in order to get to kickball, but it was light and yummy fuel for the game. Of course it was enjoyed with a side of toast.

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I went out on Friday with my friends Stephanie and Katie to a Greek place. The service was not great, but the food was fantastic! This was a beef kebab with peppers, rice, and a big Greek salad. Hummus and pita enjoyed on the side.

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Another big salad for dinner before the ghost tour I mentioned in my last post. This included grilled chicken over mixed greens, veggies, peanuts, and a few tortilla strips which I handed off the majority to Stephanie. Very flavorful. For some reason, the peanuts were my favorite part…

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My meals were topped off this week with a perfectly grilled cheeseburger on an English muffin, broccoli, and the sweetest, freshest corn picked up from a farm. I also had a couple of chips for the salt factor.

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Another great week of eating!

Spooky Adventures

Adrenaline pumping, heart thumping, screams emitting from your throat without you being able to control it, there’s something about feeling, watching, and experiencing the danger without physically participating in it.

Scary movies, right? They sound all fun and amazing when you’re watching them.Then you try to go to bed that night and end up sleeping on your parents’ bedroom floor like you did when you were five and thought there was a monster in the closet.

The Conjuring was terrifying, ok. And for the record, it took an ounce of stupendous bravery to be able to get myself out of the protective cocoon of my bed and run in there.

My college roommate, Stephanie and I have an affinity for ghost stories. The first Paranormal Activity remains my favorite of the bunch because it was new and refreshing to that genre. I am not fond of gruesome slasher flicks or anything that spews blood, guts, and other yucky things. Ghosts are in some ways more terrifying, while I just find those other varieties to be disgusting and unnecessary. The point of a thriller is the anticipation, not the violence.

Over the years, Stephanie and I have consumed many paranormal films, the good, the bad, and the very ugly. Some of them have little thrills, but the best ones get you screaming- the end of Paranormal Activity 4!! We also enjoy going on walking ghost tours of cities to learn more about the history, see a different side of things, and be scared, hopefully, witless for a bit.

We’ve been to Salem every October for at least the past four years because Halloween is fun and exciting and there’s nothing quite like Salem during this time. The ghost tours are always fun because the tour guides and other people get really into the mood, especially with the history of Salem.

So far, we did the Boston Ghosts and Gravestones last night, which was a fun part-trolley, part-walking tour around some Boston cemeteries. Fun fact: did you know the Common is one of the largest unmarked burial grounds in the United States? Ack! We’ve done Salem tours a few times. Last year, we drove to Providence and did a fun walking tour there. The best of the best was the one we did in London, which was centered around Jack the Ripper. That one didn’t have much to do with ghosts, but it was downright spooky. Another time, we went on a tour in Dublin and one of our other friends was pretty sure she saw a ghost. I won’t name her in case it makes her feel uncomfortable.

Going on these tours, I’m not sure what I expect or how I feel about the whole thing, other than that it is fun, exciting, and intriguing. It can be silly at times, especially when you are wide awake later that night with the covers pulled over your head and refusing to get up even though you have to pee, or when you scream at anything that jumps out at you, i.e. your cat.

It’s all speculative, unless someone sees something, and then you’re kind of jealous that you didn’t experience it, but also relieved because then you’d be afraid to be haunted the rest of your life.

I mean, I could handle a ghost of Casper’s caliber, but don’t for a second think I have the stamina or the courage to deal with anything that is nasty. My sassiness can only get me so far.

Since Fall has begun and Halloween season is upon us (the grocery and convenience stores started marketing for this two months ago), indulge yourself beyond just chocolate and sugar (though tis the season!), and throw on a scary movie, go on a tour, read a book, or not, but never feel bad about sleeping with the lights on.

Happy Fall!