URL changed!

Readers, followers, and friends,

I have finally purchased my own domain and all future posts can be found at http://myspoonisnotbigenough.com.  I hope that you will continue reading and commenting as I strive to make my blog better and better!

Thanks for all of the support so far!

Happy eating!

-c

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A One-Person Pity Party

I woke up Monday morning determined to dominate this week.  I felt like progress was being made at work and in life, I felt rejuvenated, and was prepared to tackle anything.  The week started out well, but has been going downhill ever since.  What I thought was progress at work turned out not to be, I feel like I have made all of the wrong choices when it comes to important life decisions, I am tired of feeling like crap all the time, and I basically just feel completely apathetic about everything.  I got home from work yesterday and just fell on the bed and started bawling.  Then my husband, Bob, trying to comfort me, was talking loudly (so that I could hear him above the sobs) and I just assumed he was screaming at me and got even more upset.  I told Bob that I wish I could just re-live the past ten years of my life because I would do everything differently.  Luckily after I calmed down, he was able to talk some sense into me during my one-person pity party. Bob told me that everyone has regrets, but we have to enjoy the progress we make as we learn from our mistakes and move on from them.

So, today, I am keeping these thoughts in my head in an attempt to have a more positive outlook on life:

1.  I have the best husband I could ever have dreamed of.  If I made different decisions over the past ten years, I never would have met him.
2.  Moving to Richmond may not have helped me figure out what I want to do with my life, but it at least confirmed what I do NOT want to do.  Baby steps.
3.  Things take time.  As long as progress is being made, I should keep chugging along.  I can’t become an expert at something quickly, and the journey itself is half the fun.
4.  Sometimes things just don’t work.  That doesn’t make me any less of a person.  Life is too short to dwell on those things.

How do you recover from life’s setbacks?

Happy eating!

-c

I love vacation!

This has been the most relaxing weekend I have had in a long time!  We spent all day Saturday laying out by the pool, then grilled out for dinner.  My husband ate his body weight in meat (he takes advantage whenever meat is offered to him) and I had corn on the cob, a baked potato, and spinach salad!  Today we walked around by the river, then picked up some boiled peanuts on the way home!

Congaree River

Boiled peanuts are a delicacy in the south and the best boiled peanuts are always prepared in a giant cauldron stirred with an oar.

Awwww yeah!

My best friend stopped by for a quick visit today too!  We hadn’t seen each other for a year and a half and she just happened to be in town for a family reunion!  For dinner, we’re grilling out again and I’m going to eat a ton of grilled veggies and some watermelon (not grilled).   Tonight is bowling night.  My dad is upset that I beat him bowling last time I was here, so he thinks he will redeem himself tonight.  We’ll see about that!

We’ll be heading back to Richmond tomorrow and will hopefully get back in time to get some groceries and make a delicious dinner.  It’s been too long since I’ve done some serious cooking!

 

Happy eating!

-c

Sometimes the simplest meals are the best meals

“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” 
-Kim Hubbard

I always feel like I am so incredibly busy.  I wake up at 5:00am, get to work by 7:00am, work until 5:00pm (or later), do some sort of exercise, shower, cook dinner, then do more work until 10:00pm, then go to bed (and fall asleep within 30 seconds of my head hitting the pillow).  I feel like I do so little, yet my days always seem so full.  Then I think about the people (and I know people like this) who are in school, plus work 2-3 jobs, work out regularly, and volunteer…all while raising kids!  If you are like that, I salute you!

This week has seemed particularly busy for some reason and my cooking has definitely suffered!  We have still managed to eat healthy meals for the most part.  They have just been very quickly-prepared healthy meals.  Quinoa, jarred pasta sauce, and frozen veggies can make a great meal that is ready in 20 minutes!

An easy dinner!

This evening we had packaged soup, steam-in-the-bag shelled edamame and some fruit that I cut up quickly!  So easy, but delicious!

I think I have had ever flavor of this brand soup and they are all awesome (and gluten-free)!

Fruit–one of life’s treasures!

To combat these busy days, my husband and I decided that we need a 3-day weekend…somewhere tropical!  Unfortunately our finances will not allow an incredible trip anytime soon, so we decided that we would drive down to Lexington, South Carolina to visit my parents this weekend!  It’s about a 6-hour drive from Richmond, so we’re heading out tomorrow after work!  We’re planning to spend most of the time laying out by the pool with frozen beverages, but we’re going to try to go for a run at some point (to combat said frozen beverages) and maybe do a bit of computer work (yes, we are horrible at taking vacations).  I don’t plan to post any recipes while I’m gone because I can’t cook with gluten-contaminated pots/pans at my parent’s house, so I will be living off of salad, gluten-free crackers, cheese, fruit, and peanut butter (fine by me!), but I will try to have some good recipes to share next week!  I will definitely post some highlights of my mini-vacation though!

“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
-Kenneth Grahame

Enjoy the weekend and happy eating!

-c

Coffee, coffee, coffee!

I am a self-professed coffee snob.  Back in college, I would drink as much coffee as I could just to get the caffeine.  I didn’t care how it tasted as long as it kept me awake to study.  Now, I savor my coffee.  I think my coffee snobbery started when I toured an Organic Coffee Plantation in Kona, Hawaii last September.

Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation (you can order their coffee online!)

I have always preferred my coffee black and they told us on the tour something to the tune of, “If you can’t drink it black, it’s not good coffee”.  I agree.  Some of the interesting things I learned about on the coffee tour:

1.  The lower quality beans are used in the darker roasts to mask their imperfection.

2.  Darker roast coffees actually have less caffeine than the lighter or medium roasts.

3.  Compounds extracted from coffee beans are great for the skin.

4.  Coffee beans on the plant do not look how you expect them to.

Coffee plant!

5.  There is not much prettier than a huge batch of shiny, freshly-roasted coffee beans.

Beautiful!

My husband and I found an amazing local coffee roaster (Lamplighter Roasting Company) here in Richmond that sells their coffee about half a mile from our apartment.  It is the most hipster coffee shop ever and their coffee is phenomenal!  We go every week to pick up a pound of whole beans (roasted within the week), grind our beans fresh every morning, and make a big pot of drip coffee.  We also found awesome Thermos travel mugs that actually keep your coffee hot, not tepid, for 10+ hours.  I look forward to my coffee every morning, not because I need the caffeine, but because it warms my soul.  Goodbye, Starbucks.  Now, I just need to find money to go back to Hawaii.  A one-way ticket would suffice!

I wouldn’t mind living here…

 

…or here!

 

Happy eating (and coffee-drinking)!

-c

That’s one small step for man…

…but, perhaps, one giant leap for the environment?

Over the past few months, I have become more and more interested in being more self-sufficient and environmentally-friendly.  I’m not talking about going completely off the grid or anything (although that would actually be pretty cool).  I just mean doing small things in my every day life to use fewer things and generate less waste.  The things I have been doing so far are very minor and may not have a huge impact, but I think that every little thing we do adds up to both help the environment and save money.  Here are a few of the little things I have been doing and I am hoping that, over time, this list will continue to grow.

1.  Reuse food containers.  I have been saving peanut butter jars, pasta sauce jars, and yogurt containers.  The jars make great storage containers for nuts and beans and the yogurt containers work great for planting herbs.

Hipster food storage!

2.  Save coffee grounds.  I have been using coffee grounds on my plants as a nitrogen source.  Also, you can use coffee grounds and scraps of food for composting.

3.  Carry only re-useable water bottles and food containers.  Less expensive and less waste.

About 5% of our reusable Ziploc containers.

4.  Waste less food.  I have gotten a lot better about finding uses for small amounts of food that I formerly would have thrown out.  I eat leftovers whether I want to or not.  I choose meals that are based on what food items are starting to get old.  I add remaining tidbits of vegetables to sauces and soups.

5.  I use less shampoo and other toiletries/cosmetics.  Less products means less packaging over time and, therefore, less trash.  You would also be surprised at how much money you can save over time.

6.  I started using reusable sponges instead of Lysol wipes.  The Lysol wipes are incredibly convenient but sponges can be washed and reused for months.

7.  Reuse grocery bags.  We use these as trash can liners in the bathroom and to carry our lunch to work.  Eventually I would like to have all reusable grocery bags to take with me when I go shopping, but I only have 3 or 4 now and I seem to forget to take them with me every time I go to the grocery store.  Some stores will give you a few cents off of your purchase price per bag that you bring yourself.  Also, many places will accept plastic bag donations (animal shelters, libraries, etc.).

8.  I try to only run the dishwasher or washing machine when there is a full load.  Saves on soap and water.

I hope to continue becoming more environmentally-friendly and self-sufficient.  One day I hope to have a huge garden but, for now, I just have my small container garden (some in yogurt containers!).

What steps do you take to be more environmentally-friendly?

Happy eating!

-c

I would like to buy a sailboat!

Where did spring go?  The weather is like this today…

I am NOT a fan!

…so I’ve been in pajamas and sipping coffee since noon.  Yesterday, my husband and I took a road trip to Yorktown, Virginia to meet up with his mom, uncle, and grandma.  We walked around for awhile and had a nice sailboat ride on the York River (right at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay).

The Alliance!

 

I'm thinking that a sailboat might be a good investment.

We were lucky the weather was so nice (sunny and in the lower 80s)!

Pretty plant near the beach.

There is a sunken Revolutionary War battleship right at the end of the pier!

I brought a big bag of snacks to keep me going all day.  Leaving the comfort of my home for a day is really stressful because I can’t just stop anywhere for food.  When we moved from Dallas to Richmond back in November, we had to bring a ton of food for the 3-day drive.  We made some lentil stew to pack in a cooler (we stayed in a hotel with a microwave the first night), a giant box of Lara bars, a 3-pound bag of apples, a bunch of bananas, Udi’s muffins, and almonds.  We even packed up a pot and pan in case we needed to make food the second night when we stayed with my parents.  I did a similar thing for our road trip yesterday even though we were only going to be gone for 10 hours.

A hungry Caroline = A cranky Caroline

It may have been a bit overkill considering we ate a big breakfast before we left and were going to be back in time for dinner, but I am not a fan of being hungry.

I have been feeling kind of lethargic the past few days, probably due to too much junk food, too many ciders, not enough exercise, and being slightly dehydrated yesterday.  Today’s goal was to eat as many fruits and veggies as possible.  I have had a cup of spinach, a serving of blueberries, a banana, an apple, an orange, a mango, and tomato soup so far today.  On top of that, I had a great workout this morning (5 miles on the stationary bike + 5 miles on the treadmill (7:50/mile pace!), and stretching, so I’m finally starting to feel back to my usual self.  I have also decided to start the 100 push-up challenge again.  Has anyone else ever done this?  You might not be able to do 100 push-ups after the 6 weeks, but you will definitely see improvement quickly.  I did this once before and I progressed from doing 10 consecutive full-body push-ups to 45 in the 4 weeks that I actually kept up with the program.  I did my test today to see how many I could do (with good form) so I will know where to start and I completed 22 push-ups.  I’m going to start the challenge this week.  It’s a great way to motivate yourself to do something that you usually are able to talk yourself out of (for me, this is push-ups).  Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes 3 times a week.  There is also a sit-up challenge, squat challenge, etc.

Tonight we’re making a salad featuring a vegetable I have never tasted before (recipe coming soon) and some gluten-free pasta with extra veggies added in.  I can’t believe the weekend is almost over…and I still have laundry to do!  Off to finish doing the typical weekend life-maintenance chores!

Happy eating!

-c

 

The 10 Most Ridiculous Kitchen Gadgets (available from Amazon.com)

There is a continuous influx of new kitchen gadgets on the market.  Everyone is looking for that newest gadget to make kitchen tasks easier, less messy, and more fun.  I am constantly seeing new gadgets and either thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?” or “Who on earth would buy that?”.  Fun kitchen gadgets make awesome gifts for anyone who loves to cook and I would invest in many more gadgets if only I had more space.  I decided to do a search on Amazon.com to find the most ridiculous gadgets that I would never allow to take up space in my small apartment kitchen.  Here is my list of the 10 most ridiculous kitchen gadgets I could find on Amazon.com.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #1:  Fruit/vegetable savers

These are plastic devices for storing unused portions of fruits and vegetables, often made in a similar shape as the specific fruit or vegetable it is intended for.  They make these for tomatoes, bananas, citrus, onions, and even avocados.  Why?  I find this especially strange because the shapes and sizes of these items are not uniform.  Why not just use a Ziploc bag?  I understand the whole issue of being environmentally friendly and all, but you could just wash out and re-use the Ziploc bag if you are that worried.  A Ziploc bag, assuming it is large enough, can fit things of all shapes and sizes.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #2:  Portion Control Tool

This is a group of plastic rings to help the general public figure out how much food they should be eating.  Call me old-fashioned, but I’ll stick to my kitchen scale.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #3:  Shaped ice cube trays

Okay, these are at least functional and can replace the more boring, traditional ice trays without any fuss.  I have seen phallic-shaped ice cube trays and these awesome handgun-shaped ice cube trays, but my favorite is probably the tray for making fish-shaped ice cubes.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #4:  Butter spreader for corn

Spreading butter on a cob of corn hot off the grill can be challenging.  The inventor of this hunk of plastic with a groove large enough for a corn cob is brilliant.  But still, who eats enough corn to find this worth purchasing?

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #5:  Microwaveable S’Mores-Maker

S’mores are delicious.  I loved them until I realized that marshmallows are not vegetarian.  This gadget allows you to make s’mores in the comfort of your home right in the microwave.  It saddens me that kids these days are making s’mores in the microwave and not by a campfire or at least outside on a grill.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #6:  Banana Slicer, Boiled Egg Slicer, Butter Cutter

I know, I know–slicing a banana, hard-boiled egg, or butter is so challenging.  Or not.  These are probably the biggest waste of space of all gadgets I have listed so far.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #7:  Tabletop Vacuum

This little pig will crawl around your counter and eat your crumbs.  How about a wet cloth or sponge?  That would probably work even better.  If you don’t like pigs, you could instead buy the cow- or elephant-shaped one.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #8:  Plate Retriever Tongs

This is used for lifting hot plates without having to deal with the bulkiness of a pot holder.  I see this as a disaster waiting to happen.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #9:  Carrot Curler

This tool will make your carrots curly.  Maybe I’m just jealous that I don’t have enough time in my day to curl carrots.

Ridiculous kitchen gadget #10:  Egg Cuber Square Egg Press

This lovely tool will allow you to turn an egg-shaped egg into a cube-shaped egg.  Transformative!

If you have a chef in your life that you need a gift for, consider one of these impractical gifts.  You probably wouldn’t even have to worry about them already owning any of these things.  Several items listed here are also Amazon Prime eligible!

Happy eating!

-c

I want a giant pizza…

I have been so incredibly hungry lately!  I’m trying to figure out what my body wants me to eat because clearly it wants something.  I don’t normally count calories, but I recently decided to do it (weighing/measuring EVERYTHING) for a few days just to see where I’m at on a typical day.  My calculations revealed that I am eating 2500+ calories per day!  That is a lot more than I used to eat, but I am still slowly losing weight (averaging about 1 pound per month).  The last time I had my blood work done (about two months after going gluten-free), everything, including my transglutaminase IgA that had previously been 8X the normal level, was fine.  Tg IgA is the subclass of auto-antibody that is overproduced in individuals with celiac disease, and is usually the first test in diagnosing the disease.  Overproduction of the antibody leads to destruction of the villi in the small intestine, often leading to a huge host of symptoms that differ among individuals.  I’m going to be getting more blood work done next month and will see if I can get everything checked again (full metabolic panel, Tg IgA, hemoglobin, etc.) just to be sure everything is okay.  Until then, I’m going to keep increasing the protein and healthy fats and see what happens.  I feel great, so I’m not really too concerned.  I guess I’m just not used to having such a high metabolism!

Make me a gluten-free version of this, and I could probably eat the whole thing. Source.

I just had a huge taco salad (with tons of black beans) for dinner after a good 6.5-mile run with my running group.  I’m already hungry again.  Off to go stuff my face with more food!  And maybe make a big mug of hot cocoa because it’s freezing in here!

Pretty view from my run!

Happy eating!

-c

A Hidden Gem

Don’t you just love it when you discover a hidden gem right in your neighborhood?  Down the street from my apartment, there are several small lakes with sidewalks for running, roads for cycling, and an abundance of waterfowl for shitting admiring.  Okay, that’s pretty cool.  But if you go a bit further, past the large earthen mound that I only recently bothered to look behind, there is something even greater.  This thing is the Vita Trail!  It’s a path roughly one mile long with stations along the way for push-ups, pull-ups, monkey bars, etc.  My first sighting of the Vita Trail brought about memories of my childhood hopes and dreams. The dream—to become an American Gladiator!

I spent several summers as a child training to become an American Gladiator. I attempted (and never actually succeeded in) one-armed push-ups, did flips over couch cushions, and made obstacle courses out in the woods.  I knew that if I worked hard enough, I too could be freakishly muscular and perform ridiculous stunts on an even more ridiculous television show.  Unfortunately, American Gladiators was cancelled in 1996, and I was forced to settle for another dream.

Today I hit up the Vita Trail for the first time to do some interval training that included sprints, strides, recovery pace running, obstacles, push-ups, and jumping jacks.  That workout left me feeling way more exhausted than a 10-mile run ever could!  And I pretended to be an American Gladiator the entire time!  After my workout, I was looking into the old television show and found out that a new version of the show started in 2008.  What?!?!  It appears as if that show was cancelled too!  So sad.  My memories of that television show will be with me every time I run on the Vita Trail for now on!  And I am still working on that one-armed push-up…

Happy eating (and gladiator-ing)!

-c

 

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