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26 to 27, day 1

16 May

Day 1 of 26 to 27 went pretty well, and was definitely interesting! Although I don’t necessarily believe that counting calories/macros are 100% needed, I’m going to post all meals eaten over the next 26 days, as well as the calorie counts and macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein). I usually track on a daily basis, but I’m posting them for accountability and to be able to better reflect at the end of the challenge.

Breakfast was eaten around 10:30, and was really simple. I waited too long to eat, and was starving! I had a bunch of mini bell peppers we picked up at Sam’s Club over the weekend, along with a cottage cheese cup, a few water crackers and a couple of Morningstar veggie sausage links. I love the Morningstar maple sausage patties, but the links just didn’t do it for me – the texture was completely off! I ate everything but one link, along with 4 cups of water. Breakfast came out to 238 calories, 32g of carbs, 5g of fat and 17g of protein.

I’m not sure if it was too light or I waited to long to eat, but breakfast didn’t hold me over at all! At 12:15, I had a double chocolate dream VitaTop, vanilla Greek yogurt, raspberry-pomegranate preserves and sprinkled with a dash of ground flax and slivered almonds. Post-photo, everything was mixed together and immediately consumed. Snack 1 was 258 calories, 47g of carbohydrates, 4g of fat and 16g of protein.

Several loads of laundry later, I realized that it was time for lunch. At 3, I helped Ev pan-sear some cornmeal-crusted Gardein fillets, and wrapped them in whole grain tortillas with a sprinkling of vintage cheddar and some spicy brown mustard. Served with a few Doritos on the side, I took a bite and had my second food fail of the day. There was just something…off….about the taste. Gardein as a whole just isn’t for me, I think, which is a shame. Super high in protein, low in carbs and fat, but I’ve only found one of their products that I can stomach. By 3:30, I was sitting down to another wrap, this one filled with refried jalapeno-black beans, a sprinkling of vintage white cheddar and some raw asparagus on a whole-grain tortilla. Much better! Lunch (including the sample of the Gardein wrap) was 265 calories, 31g of carbs, 10g of fat, and 18g of protein.

After what felt like a ton of delays, we were finally heading down the road for our night out on the town. While E refueled my car, I refueled my body with a tea I received as a (free) sample this morning – orange, passion fruit and jasmine green tea from Lipton. I usually dislike green tea, but this was awesome, tasted like Froot Loops, and brought me 3 glasses closer to my daily water goal. Win all around!

We made really good time on the drive, so we had dinner around 6:30 at one of our favourites – Tricky Fish. They use mostly free-range, organic and local ingredients, and their tofu tacos are killer. I was craving a sandwich, and ordered the free-range chicken breast sandwich with salad as my side.

Killer! The bun was soft and bready, the chicken perfectly cooked, and the veggies were so fresh. I topped my sandwich with spicy mustard and a little cocktail sauce, dressed the salad with lemon juice, malt vinegar, chipotle Tabasco sauce and a bit of Newman’s Own ranch dressing to cut the heat. Best meal of the day, hands down, by far. I also had 2 more glasses of water at the restaurant. Dinner was a total of 493 calories, 47g of carbs, 15g of fat and 39g of protein.

We had a little time to kill, so E played photographer, and we had an impromptu photo shoot. Professional model, right here!

We headed down to the Clay Center, and got ready to see David Copperfield. E was a professional magician in his early years, and Copperfield is one of his idols. It was my first time, and E’s 7th at least! We had amazing seats (3rd row, center), and it was absolutely incredible. Copperfield still has it, and is hysterical – gotta love a guy that can make you laugh. The highlight was sitting behind Gov. Joe Manchin and his family – I met them during the GMA remote at the Kitchen, and have an official photograph of me crying on his shoulder. I know how to keep my cool, apparently! Thankfully, no tears were shed last night, much to E’s relief.

We came home a little late, but I decided to whip up a quick snack since we were both pretty hungry. I ordered a bunch of different protein powder samples a few weeks ago, and decided to try one out. I made up a quick shake, using nonfat milk, ice, cinnamon and BSN Lean Dessert Fresh Cinnamon Roll protein powder. After seeing it on Janetha’s blog, I’ve been dying to try it. It took a couple of sips to get used to, but it’s actually really good! The whey aftertaste is minimal, and it has a good texture without being gritty. Snack #2’s totals were 204 calories, 20g of carbs, 3g of fat and 24g of protein.

Why do I look so nefarious?!?!

The daily totals were 1458 calories, 176g of carbohydrates, 37g of fat and 114g of protein, or a ratio 47.3%, 22.1%, 30.6%. Not bad at all! Feeling really satisfied and hydrated, thanks to the 9 glasses of water I drank. Onto day 2!

an adult tuesday

6 Nov

So, my last post was a little confusing, but completely on purpose. Wait, that doesn’t make a ton of sense in itself. But…oh, never mind. A couple of weeks ago, I signed up to be a volunteer for a new community kitchen that opened in town. They have an amazing collection of cookbooks, give free lessons 4 times a day, 5 days a week, and use all organic produce and ingredients.

Oh, and this guy:

image image source

Seriously.

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The Kitchen’s goal for this week is to have 1,000 (or 2% of) people in Huntington cooking, and so a cook-a-thon was thrown! From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., there was a cooking class held every 30 minutes, taught by Jamie, for free. They made a beef and scallion stir-fry with noodles, and it smelled amazing – going outside was torture!

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We had a great turn-out; the firefighters and the media came out, and by 3 p.m., we’d had 250 people cook. Considering 20-30 people were cooking at one time, that’s crazy!

So, did I meet him?

YES!

He’s super-sweet, and at one point, he even called out to me from the stage, and was all, “darling, are you okay? we having fun?”. Oh yeah, we totally bonded. I’m bummed I wasn’t able to get a picture with him, but he was running around like a madman, and I hated the thought of bugging him like the crazy foodie fangirl that I am. I did get the next best thing, though.

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Yup, totally posing with his shirt. Love the fact that I looked thrilled beyond belief. For a shirt. I’m such a weirdo!

After coming home and eating dinner, E dragged me away. Don’t I look terrified?

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Just kidding! It was more like a treat…AVENUE Q!

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The show was amazing. The puppets were incredible (and I hate puppets!), the songs were amazing, and it was just darn plain funny. I would definitely recommend it, but not to young children, anyone uptight, or those who have no sense of humor.

Now for the food!

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9:15 a.m. Kashi GoLean and Honey Sunshine, with a teeny banana on its last legs, pecans and nonfat milk

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12:25 p.m. Clif Mountain Mojo Trail Mix bar – sheer heaven!

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12:50 p.m. ‘Bucks’ Grande Passion Tea with 1 Splenda

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4:35 p.m. Worst lunch ever! Benny’s Hickory Chicken sandwich, no bacon and no Swiss and a garden salad with no cheese and ginger dressing on the side. Seriously disappointing – too much bbq sauce, stale bread, off salad dressing, and obviously cheese. Ugh. I ate all the veggies, 1 tsp of dressing, all the chicken (with half the sauce wiped off) and half the bun. Everything else got tossed, although I able to salvage the cheese for E’s next lunch, which was about 1/4 cup’s worth.

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Now some girls are all about little blue boxes, but for me, my heart melts for a certain medium red one.

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Oh yeah. The fastest way to my heart is chocolate-covered fruit, and to me, Edible Arrangements is king. The best part? Thanks to Facebook, it was free. Definitely had to sample to make sure it was up to par.

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5:20 p.m. Granny Smith covered with dark chocolate. I was a good wife, and split it with E.

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6:30 p.m. Cedarlane LF chicken burrito. I’ve never had a Cederlane product that I didn’t like, and this was no exception. A little spicy, a lot of chicken. Almost too much chicken, but can there ever be too much? This guy was small but filling, especially with Blue Smoke salsa and shredded mozz on top.

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7:00 p.m. And of course, fruit for dessert! Dark chocolate-covered pineapple, split with E.

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Now there may or may not have been a junior whopper, no mayo, consumed after the show, on the way home at around 11 p.m. Not ideal, but it happened. Just saying.

Who’s your foodie rock star?

Mine are definitely Jamie Oliver, Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Giada deLaurentiis, and Paula Deen. Edited to add Martin Yan, Alton Brown and Michael Smith – how could I have forgotten? Thanks for reminding me, Susan!

saturday

31 May

I’m not sure if it was that we left the blinds open or the feather pillows, but I couldn’t sleep worth a damn on Friday night, and woke up bright and early Saturday morning. With E still fast asleep and breakfast not being available for another 3 hours, I headed down to the hotel gym for an early morning swim. I was shocked at how small the pool was! At most, it was 15×10, with the deep end being 5 ft. I swam a few laps, but after 20 minutes I was totally bored, and without being able to tread or do pull-ups, I headed back up to our room.

Post-“workout” snack” – 1/2 each of a Bartlett pear and a gala apple, plus some Barney Butter. E wanted to eat the pear without cutting it, so I had to wait for him to finishing munching on his half before he’d cut up mine – silly boy!

I got a couple of packets of Barney Butter right before we headed out of town, so this was the perfect time to give it a try!

pros:
-very smooth consistency
-made in a completely peanut-free factory
-kosher
-low in sodium and sugar
-comes in both jars and single-serving packets
-roasted peanut flavor

cons:
-hard to find in brick-and-mortar stores
-unlike MaraNatha which contains only almonds, Barney Butter also contains evaporated cane juice, palm fruit oil and sea salt. While the additives are natural, I don’t know that they’re necessary.
-very similar consistency and mouth feel to peanut butter, which is evidenced by E, Mr. PB himself, liking Barney Butter when he’s never like any other nut butter before. Great if you love PB, not so much when you don’t.

I’d definitely buy the single-serve packets because they’re super-portable and great for traveling, but when it comes to jars, I’m sticking with my MaraNatha – sorry, Barney Butter!

Once we were finally ready, we headed out for breakfast at ZenCha. A little under a mile away from the hotel, we decided to walk it, and I’m glad we did. The Short North is one of our favorite neighborhoods, and it was really great to be able to stroll by on such a beautiful day. As we were walking, I couldn’t but think how less than 6 months ago, there were days when it was a struggle to walk half as far – we’ve come a long way!

Check out the greatest advertisement ever – given more time, we would’ve totally hit it up for kicks!

ZenCha is what tea heaven must be like – with 120 or so varieties from all over the world, and everything from Bubble Tea to French tea lattes, you just can’t go wrong! E picked a sampler of 3 – silver tip white tea, Earl Grey, and a Pu-erh which is an aged and fermented black tea. E loved them all, and got somewhere between 7 and 9 cups of tea out of the mix, which definitely jazzed him up.


I’m a simple gal, and had an iced Cinnamon Mint Chai. Creamy, refreshing and soothing, this was the perfect pick. I really loved that they added the ice cubes to the filter inside the pot, so not only was this constantly cool, but the tea wasn’t watered down a single bit.


With so many great dishes to choose from, we decided to share two, and thankfully we were on the same wavelength!


Our first pick was the Arabian Night, a delicately crisp yet fluffy cardamom-scented waffle. With dates baked right in and topped with sliced almonds, orange supremes, a little creme fraiche and served with an orange-cardamom syrup, these were some serious waffles! Not too sweet and definitely satisfying, these were spot-on.

Check out the cross-shot of waffle goodness!


For our second choice, we went savory with a Vegetable Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake/omelet hybrid filled with veggies like shitake mushrooms and crispy napa cabbage, and topped with Kewpie mayo and a mysterious sauce similar to a hoisin. This was our time to try okonomiyaki, and it will definitely not be our last! I can just imagine how great the chicken and seafood varieties are.

We decided to take our time coming back, and checked out a few of the little shops lining the street. We also took a side trip to one of our favorite spots, North Market, where E convinced me to try some Morbier, a super-stinky cheese he’s been wanting for years. Surprisingly delicious, the Morbier turned out to be much milder than it smells, with a nice nuttiness. I shared in, and ate about 1 1/2 oz. of the cheese with a little more than half of a wholemeal roll.

We headed back to the convention for a few hours, and picked up a small lunch since we weren’t eating dinner for a while. I had another packet of salmon and avocado sushi.

I also had a few of these teeny hash browns, were were really fresh and crisp. Yum!


Later on, I’ll be posting our experience at dinner, and don’t forget to vote for me here. Also, Eating Bird Food is having a sparkling giveaway which you need to check it out, so head on over!

on the road again

30 May

I made a pretty important decision this morning – I’m not tracking my food or exercise intake all weekend. I tend to get a little obsessive, and I’m trying to eat like a normal person, and normal people to obsess over or record every bite and step. Don’t worry – I’m not going to take this as an excuse to shovel down everything in sight! I will pay attention to what I eat, and enjoy every bite, meaning if I don’t enjoy the first taste, there will be no second. We’ll see how this works; if nothing else, it’s an interesting experiment!

We headed down the road pretty late yesterday, and kept waiting and waiting until we were finally both so hungry we couldn’t stand it. We headed over to a Burger King, where I had a pretty mediocre grilled chicken sandwich. Other than it not being the best of condiment choices, I really dislike mayo on most things, so I just got mustard instead.

Thankfully, I’d made my favorite fruit salad earlier in the day, so E and I munched on that for a little while – it definitely made up for the earlier sandwich! Apple, pear, walnuts and cinnamon mixed together with a small container of vanilla Oikos – super simple and delicious!

Side note: Oikos has got to be my favorite yogurt of all time. It’s thick. tangy, high in protein, fat free and low in carbs, and is a great substitute for sour cream or mayo. Love it!

An hour or so later, we got pretty munchy, and broke into the Krinkle Sticks. OMG, these were amazing, and were like a thicker Pringle! Light, crisp and totally yummy, they’re also gluten-free, cholesterol free, dairy free and vegetarian, which means pretty much everyone can enjoy them. E and I were totally fighting over the bag, and it fulfilled both of our snacking needs. It really is Snacident Prevention!


After all that driving it felt really nice to have a room.


Especially one with a view!

We got a corner room on one of the top floors, and the views of downtown are amazing, especially at night. Too bad the internet’s ridiculously expensive! As soon as we checked in, we headed down to the convention, picked up our passes, and headed to the food court to get some dinner. Sushi and Thai? Yes please!

I had an order of salmon and avocado sushi, which was really fresh and tasty.

E and I also shared a plate of veggie Pad Thai – really flavorful, but didn’t taste the same without lime juice, crushed peanuts and tofu.


Tattoo conventions are some of my favorite places on Earth – great people, amazing artists and a heck of a lot of fun. We spent a fair amount of our time at Innerstate, a new live painting exhibition. 40 of the world’s best tattoo artists paint live for 5 days straight from morning to midnight, with convention attendees streaming in and out and a DJ spinning tunes. I honestly could’ve stood there and watched for hours, and we’ll probably be back today and tomorrow. This painting by Muriel Zao had me entranced:

Finished off the night with a trip to the bar, which is always the most popular part of the convention! Started off with some bar mix and a Pearl Harbor Punch – Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, pineapple juice, sweet and sour , a grenadine float and a cherry. Fruity and tangy, this went down like nothing at all! At 92 proof, one was enough for this lightweight!

We needed sustenance to even out all the booze, so E and I split an order of veggie nachos, which were the cheesiest nachos I’ve ever had! I ate a little less than half.


We’re heading to a tea house today for brunch, but expect a recap tonight! If you know of anywhere totally awesome in Columbus, OH that we should check out, leave a comment or e-mail me at livelaughgrow AT gmail DOT COM.

monday mood

12 May

Waking up yesterday morning, I was still feeling like absolute crap, and couldn’t work out due to congestion and breathing issues, which pissed me off tremendously. I was going to cancel my appointment for a hair cut, too, but figured since I waited 3 weeks for it, I should probably go. I grabbed the usual cereal before I went, but amped up the protein and fiber – the combo of the day was 2/3 Strawberry Glucerna, 1/3 E’s Kashi GoLean, 1 Tbsp. of walnuts and some nonfat milk.

If nothing else, the haircut made my head feel a little lighter and slightly less congested. I walked a couple of minutes down the street and got my weekly immunotherapy shot at the same time – gotta love a 2fer trip! I decided to walk a little bit, and somehow ended up almost a mile away when it started to pour. I happened to be in front of Fat Patty’s, so I hopped in for a bite. I had their Cobb salad, but made a few changes to healthen it up – I omitted the dried cranberries and sliced olives, got the dressing on the side and added bell peppers and carrots. I forgot to ask for no cheese, and I didn’t realize it came with garlic bread. I ate the egg whites, all the veggies and chicken, half of one piece of garlic bread and only the cheese that was stuck to the chicken and lettuce, which was about 2 Tbsp. I did 6 fork-dips of dressing, about 1 tsp. and accounted a tsp. of oil, which I guessed was about the amount the chicken was cooked in. With two big glasses of lemon ice water, it came out to 428 calories.


The salad filled me up really well, so I didn’t snack much at all. Around 5:30, I got munchy and grabbed 3 almonds and a yogurt pretzel and dark chocolate almond from my candy stash. With the starlight mint I had at the salon, it came out to 87 calories.


I was out of ideas for a creative and yummy dinner, and was way too stuffed up to make anything time-consuming. I didn’t want to order out, so I threw something quick together. We had some It’s All Good Chick’n Bites Provencal sauteed with spinach and shredded carrots with a half each of Kashi’s Mayan Bake and 1 3/4 baked corn tortillas with Blue Smoke Salsa. I liked the plantain in the bake, but the sauce just wasn’t my thing, and could’ve used something to brighten it up. The chick’n bites were good, but a little too springy for my tastes, so I gave 1/4 of them to E, bringing dinner to 375 calories.


I wasn’t too satisfied from dinner – it just didn’t work for me! Around 9ish, I heated up a strawberry Bagelful for 200 calories, bringing the day’s total to 1359. It’s under the daily range that I try to hit, but the protein was high, the carbs were low and the fat was right at range, so I decided not to eat any more. With a very random appetite, it’s hard to eat properly when you’re sick, so I did the best that I could, and I’m okay with that.