Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Accidental Hiatus

Sorry about my accidental hiatus away from the blog! I have been seeing a lot of people in the blog world (aka blogosphere) either quitting their blog altogether or just opting to take a break from it. I do not intend to do either of these things and will keep up with it to the best of my ability over these next few months. I mention the next few months because they are crammed packed with wedding showers, weddings (2 friends), bachelorette parties, graduations (4 cousins, 1 friend, and my brother), birthday parties, and a dinner my brother is hosting at my parent's house for all of his friends. Whew! That was exhausting just writing that out!! But I am SUPER-EXCITED for the events to occur (just please bear with me).

As I mentioned in a previous post, I just started a new job and so far I Love it! Every single person in the company has been extremely nice and have made me feel right at home. Hopefully I will know everything (well, it's impossible to know everything) soon and will feel more confident in myself and my abilities. One day after work I went to a nearby grocery store we have here in Cincinnati called Jungle Jim's. Now when I say grocery store, think bigger than Kroger, bigger than Fred Meyer, bigger than Wal-Mart and even bigger than CostCo! Jungle Jim's prides itself in being an International Market and a food lover's paradise. They're not lying either! They have just about every food you could imagine. Aisles and aisles of Italian, Indian, Mexican, Asian, and Greek cuisines and much more are able to hold my attention for hours on end. I once spent 4 hours in Jungle Jim's with a friend (we were doing a project for a Food Service class and doing our own shopping on the side!).

I provided the link to the store's website in the above paragraph- be sure to check it out and click on attractions to see the many amazing things the store has to offer. They have all sorts of fun things to keep kids and adults entertained from Soupy- the giant singing Campbell's Soup can, to their award-winning "America's Best Restrooms."

Here is a run-down of some of the awesomely (is that even a word?) weird things I bought during my visit:

  • Persimmons- I am SO glad that I tried these! They are almost like a cross between a tomato, plum, peach, and fig. They have a very thick skin and a soft flesh and let me just tell you that they rival figs as my favorite fruit! The sign said they are nature's candy and they were right on that!
  • Artichokes- Not a weird food at all, but they are delicious, on sale, and I had to have them!

  • This is a product called "pitted baking dates" and they are perfect for me because I wanted to buy dates to use in a recipe that I have and this was the cheaper option, plus less work for me! The only ingredient is dates so there are no added sugars. I will post the recipe when I get around to making it!
  • DoFu Delight. What is it you ask? I don't know and I have no clue why I bought it. It was in the asian aisle just screaming my name. According to the package it is a "Natural Agar Dessert" and "A favorite Asian Treat." Agar is basically a thickening agent (much like gelatin), that is made from seaweed, thus making it vegetarian. However, this particular product also uses gelatin for some odd reason. Oh well- I'll report back when I try it even if it's gross!

  • Bob's Red Mill Graham flour- I have always wanted to make my own graham crackers so I thought what better time than now?! Well I tried them and they weren't very good at all! Both my mom and brother spit them out! I used a recipe I found online, but it wasn't from a reputable source. Back to the drawing board...
  • This is a yeast that is especially for whole grain baking. My friend Angelica told me that she saw it and when I came across it---once again---I had to have it!

  • Whole Grain Sourdough Bread- Mmmmmmmm! I should have taken it out of the package for the picture; it was heavenly.
  • Chocolate Pizzelles- My aunt makes traditional pizzelles each year at Christmas and I love them, but there is just something about these chocolate ones I can't get enough of! I suggest you give them a try; at only 25 calories per cookie, they are the perfect "Summer is coming and I'm going to the beach" treat!

  • Yotta bar- I'm really not sure of what the name means, but this bar claimed to contain a full serving vegetables. I have to be honest and say that I didn't like it and didn't eat the whole thing!
  • Primal strips vegetarian jerky- One was made out of soy, one was seitan, and one was shiitake mushrooms. I have had them before and think they're really good and an awesome snack. I only wish they were cheaper!

If you live in the area, go to Jungle Jim's; if not, come visit and stay with me! Adios amigos!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quick Note...

Just a quick note:
I really don't like the way that last post was formatted, but I can't figure out how to fix it! Sometimes it seems like blogger thinks it is smarter than me when it comes to determining how the blog should look! I am going to look through their "help" options and try to work out some of my problems. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Please Cut Me Some Slack...

"Chicken Soup for the Sick, Blog-Slacker's Soul"
Photo taken from which is a very
impressive website!
If you're mad at me, I understand. I haven't posted in about a week (I think) and I did not do a Make-me-laugh-Monday the past 2 Mondays. I'm mad at me too! The thing is, I have been doing a lot over the past week and to be honest the blog is not on the top of my mind right now.

To catch you up to speed, I have been preparing myself to start a new job, which I started yesterday- I'm SO excited about it by the way!! I have been diligently digging through my nice-ish clothes and deciding what I like/what I don't like and also what fits and what doesn't. I have also been brushing up on some materials from school that will be helpful in this position.

In addition to all of that, I have been sick, sick, sick! Somehow I managed to get through the entire Winter without even a sneeze (exaggerate much?) and now, just as I start a new job, I get a bad sore throat and head cold. I think it hit me now for 2 reasons: 1 is that it is the changing of the seasons and the weather has been crazy (it snowed today!) and 2 is because I have been so stressed out about finding a job lately that when I finally found one, I think my body just let go and felt it was "OK" to get sick.

Do you find that you get sick when you finally get a break from stress? This used to always happen to me after final exams just in time for Spring break or Summer. Ohhh, the irony of it all!
Stay well and if you are on Spring break or will be soon, Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Free Recipes for Healthy and Cheap Meals

First let me just say that the title of this post has to be one of the most appealing sentences ever written, don't you think? I usually try to think of something "catchy," but I think this one needs no manipulation to get your attention!

Have any of you heard of It is an awesome website that provides a ton of healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss advice. You can create a FREE meal plan and track your progress. There are message boards where you can talk to other people that may be going through similar things as you (ie weight loss, lack of motivation, etc.) and you can also "Ask an Expert." SparkPeople actually invented a word called "Healthtainment" to describe the fun that can be had while exploring their site.

I found out about SparkPeople through their expert Dietitian when I was a Dietetic intern. I feel like I know someone famous or something! This online company was started in Cincinnati in 2001 and has continued to grow into something HUGE!

Check this out:

"SparkPeople is growing into one of the largest free diet and health-related sites in the world. SparkPeople has received media coverage from: Fox TV, The New York Times, and ABC TV.SparkPeople was voted best online health site in Business Week's 2006, 2007 and 2008 "Best of the Web" awards."

I guess I signed up for SparkPeople a while ago, so I get daily health-related e-mails. I get recipes, exercise ideas, and my favorite- articles written by Becky Hand, the expert Dietitian that I admire so much! Yesterday, an e-mail showed up in my mailbox with a subject line that read: "Special Attachment: Recipe Book With Healthy Dinners for Under $2.50 a Person." What?! Healthy meals that are cheap- they DO exist!
The body of the e-mail encourages you to pass the recipe book along to family and friends and even mentions posting it on a blog!! How could I resist?! Since I have only had the recipes in hand for less than 1 day, I obviously haven't had the chance to make them, but they sound delicious!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Colors Duke, The Colors!!!

...I'm Colorblind Kid.

Do you remember this commercial?


This morning I went around and took a few pictures of some of the vibrant colors in the yard.
FYI- I just figured out how to change the font color- pretty cool, huh? I guess I have never actually needed it or looked for it before.

Getting back to the whole yard colors thing, I have to say that this year--more than ever--I noticed a HUGE difference in the appearance of the yard in very little time. What I mean by that is, it wasn't long ago that the grass was brown, the trees were bare, and in a word it just looked lifeless. Now everything is bright, colorful, fresh, and full of life!
I know I am getting carried away with the colored words- I promise I won't over-do it in future posts!

No one in my family remembers this plant ever blossoming like this before- Beautiful!!


On the left they are hiding behind a bush and on the right they appear to be looking through a peep-hole. They seem to be up to something...

I like how the "leafy things" in back
are shining through. Can you tell
I'm not a gardener?

While we are on the topic of Color, I might as well mention how important it is to eat a variety of colors. This is a great way to get all of the nutrients and antioxidants your body needs.

Try to plan your meals around color- hospitals, restaurants, and catering companies all plan their menus according to color, texture, and shape (along with taste, of course!).

Let's say, for example, that you are planning a meal of pork chops, applesauce, and baked potatoes. BORING!! Where is the color? You can change it by doing pork chops, a baked sweet potato, and broccoli. Add a nice colorful salad and you've got yourself a bright and healthy meal!

Now go out and Taste the Rainbow- in the form of fruits and vegetables, not Skittles!