Friday, October 1, 2010

Last Night Had Its Ups and Downs : (

Good Morning everyone,

Yesterday was one of those days that started off being typical, then got really amazingly fun and then ended on a ridiculously awful note. I thought that writing about it might make me feel better since this blog is an outlet for me. Yesterday was a typical day or work and then hitting the gym, nothing special there except I was really excited because one of my very good friends Kim was going to come over!

Kim just got married a few weeks ago and I had the honor of being there to see her marry the love of her life.
One of Kims Wedding Photos

Well after she got married, her and her new hubby moved to a house that is much closer to my apartment which makes me happy because that means more hang out time.

Kim and I at WHIM in Station Square for her Bachlorette Party
So since yesterday was so rainy and gross in Pittsburgh..I asked her if she wanted to come over and Ill cook if she brings the movie. I had some of my favorite pasta in my almost bare cupboards and so I decided that I would get to work. I started cooking and before I knew it I had made a whole delicious dinner for us.

When I got home from the gym after work I was starving! I put my friend Amanda and I through a pretty intense leg work out and I am definately feeling it today..but I knew that I wasnt going to be able to control my portions if I didnt get something in my stomach before the main event. So I made myself a little romaine salad with oil and vinegar to tide me over.

It was the perfect thing to tide me over until Kim came

I make my new favorite organic spinach pasta with red sauce and home made garlic bread.

 I grabbed some health nut whole grain bread and sprayed it lightly with Pam spray .. dusted both sides with garlic salt and basil. Baked it on a rack for about 8 minutes until it was toastey. It turned out to look like a pretty awesome plate..

Looks pretty good huh?
I am such a fan of sweets too and I wanted to have some kind of dessert but Ive been working so hard in the gym lately that I didnt want something that was going to make me feel like I ruined my eating for the I searched the grocery store shelves and stumbled upon something I havent had in a super long time..butterscotch pudding! I grabbed some of the instant sugar free pudding and some light whipped cream and made it as the pasta was cooking to put in the fridge. The parfaits didnt hold theyre shape very well but they were delicious none the less..and I never told Kim they were sugar free. I dont know if she noticed or not.. but she reads this blog.. soo she knows now. (Sorry Kimmy)

Kim and I talked and solved the problems of the world over dinner and the movie "Step Brothers." ..btw.. "Do you wanna go do karate in the garage?"

While we were talking, I got an email from my dad (he thought I had class and couldnt pick up the phone) telling me that my grandma had just had hospice called in. She has had dimensia for the last 5-6 years after my grandfather passed away of hit her hard. She had to be placed under constant care and couldnt remember who anyone was.. last night she was taken off all medication and I spent the rest of my night bawling my eyes out and talking to family.. Even skyping with my big sis in South Korea.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not handle it well when people pass away. I mean no one ever handles it well when a family member passes away, but I it is one of the things in life that makes me particularly inconsolable. I am definately going to need my family and those I care about to reach out and help support me and my family as we go through the next probably week.

So, I ask that any of my readers if you believe in God.. please say a little prayer for my grandmother in these next few days and if you dont believe in God.. just send positive thoughts our way. It would mean a lot to me. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear POM, You're in Trouble....

Hello everyone! Today was such a crazy day but finally at 930pm I have time to sit down and post. I wanted to make sure I got this post written because it actually started as a request from my friend and avid blog reader, Stephanie. PS Everyone congratulate her because she is getting married to my friend Alex in less than two weeks!! YAY!! She asked me if I ever considered writing a blog about the truth behind sports drinks and bottled water.. It made me wonder.. how many people really understand what theyre drinking?

Did you know that the average american drinks almost half their calories in a day? Did you know that Diet Drinks are just as bad for you as regular drinks because what they take away in calories, they make up for in chemically enhanced sugar and artificial flavors? One of the first changes that I made when I decided to overhaul my health was to change the things I was drinking.. cut down on alcohol ( not hard.. I wasnt a big drinker anyway), cut down on Soda.. I still have one if I am at a cook out or something but I dont keep them in my house..I probably average 1 a month and understand whats really in what youre drinking.

There has been a major trend  lately dealing with bottled water. First off, its always important to carry around a water bottle with you to make sure that you have the opportunity to stay hydrated during the day.. but make sure you use a refillable bottle because a filtered water pitcher is much more environmentally friendly! but what about those flavored or vitamin enriched waters? They are enriched with vitamins and they say catchy things on their labels like "concentration" and "immunity" so the must be better for me to drink than regular filtered water right? Wrong. Many flavored water drinks have been in the news lately for their health claims having no real merit.

Vitamin water for example titles their different flavors for what they are supposed to do such as helping immunity or keeping you calm. However, these drinks were just bourght forth as being filled with artificial sweeteners

Snapple just came out with an "Antioxidant Enriched" water. First off, does anyone really know whats so absolutely life changing about antioxidants that they have to be in water and you cant just eat fruits and veggies? anyway.. this "healthy" water has 33 grams of sugar in one bottle!

Gatorade was first created to replenish football players on hot summer days. It will give you energy for sure because it has artificial sweeteners. Plus I think that Gatorade leaves a funny film in your mouth.. but thats personal opinion.. its a blog .. Im allowed.

One of the drinks thats been in the news most recently is actually being sued over their unfounded health claims. POM juice comes in a cute little bottle but unfortunately what it can do to your body and your waistline isnt as cute. The pomegranate juice is claiming that it can help prevent and treat certain illnesses including cardiovascular disease and ED. The FDA is coming back at POM saying that it never confirmed that POM can be used as a medical aid and to be honest eating an actual whole pomegranate is better for you.

So with the majority of the healthy claims being unfounded and the chemicals and artificial sweeteners commonly used in these drinks.. doesnt it make more sense to just drink regular ice cold water? Put some fruit like lemon or lime in it if you dont like the taste of just plain water. Also, if you want to make sure your water tastes as crisp as possible.. try cutting up some cucumber and throwing it in!

Questions of the Day: Whats your favorite healthy drink?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Do I Eat Healthy and Not Spend a Fortune?

Hello everyone,

This blog is going to be a two parter I believe. If you followed me to blogspot from my Network Pittsburgh account you know that I blogged previously about how outraged I was at the expense that eating healthy can have. I have explored farmers markets and many other ways to cut costs but at the end of the day a zuchinni is still two dollars a pound while a bag of potato chips is one fifty. Now I could go on and on about how the major food corporations care more about their profits than their customers health (which is true by the way) or I could try to share some good information on how to cut costs.

Now why the sudden interest in saving money? Well I found out this month that my schooling is going to cost alittle bit more than I expected and so money is going to be severely tight for the next four months. I have even started looking into some part time gigs to get me through the Christmas season. The one thing that I refuse to let money effect however, is my healthy eating. I could go off on some tangent here to explain why low income families are statistically more overweight than middle/ high income families.. but I wont. Think about it though.. doesnt it make sense? If you had to feed 2 kids and 2 adults.. and you had 75 dollars a week to spend on 7 days worth of meals.. Would you buy all produce that will go back in 3-4 days and maybe serve 2 meals or would you go for the Totinos pizza rolls that are on sale 3 boxes for 6 bucks that will be your childrens dinner for 5 days? Its not right.. but the sad truth is that its a decision people have to make every day. Sorry I guess I really did go off on that tangent when I said I wouldnt.. oops!

Well anyway.. I am going to have to tighten my belt and so I have some inexpensive but healthy eating tips for anyone else thats on a budget. You need to buy foods that will last through out the entire week and can also be very versatile. I think some of the best foods for being versatile are grains! An entire container of Quaker Oats will run you about 3-4 dollars and usually one container will last me months because they are huge! To buy the quaker oats will save you money over buying the individual packets which are loaded with sugar anyways..Make your own delicious oats by adding things like raisins, cranberries, cinnamon, or cut up fruit! Its sooo good!

This is my mid morning snack!

 Breakfast usually makes life pretty easy when it comes to inexpensive meals. Buying cereal in bulk can really help. My go to cereal is always cheerios. They are heart healthy and also if you spice them up with a little fruit.. its so good. My favorite is strawberries! mmm! Eggs are also a great way to start your morning! Eggs are usually around a dollar for a dozen which can be used for omellettes or breakfast sandwhiches with some bagel thins. I actually had one this morning!

Dont you just love the animal inspired plate? LOL

The protein in the eggs will keep you full through out the morning and will help you maintain your muscle!

Dinner gets a little bit more tricky but some of the things that I have found help out if youre on a budget are soups and canned vegetables. You can buy canned vegetables or frozen vegetables at a cheap price and they will last longer than buying fresh. If you are in a budget crunch you may not be able to afford the turn over of fresh vegetables but that doesnt mean that you shouldnt be buying them! This works with fruit too.. however, be wary of canned fruit because a lot of canned fruit has extra sugar and syrup added. Look for the fruit that is canned in its own natural juices or stick with the frozen.

Whole grain pastas or brown rice can make multiple meals and arent very expensive. Take some of your canned vegetables and mix with the pasta or rice and make a stir fry! Remember to save left overs and eat your healthy meal for lunch the next day..itll be just as good!

These are the tricks that I am going to try. Do you have any tricks for saving money but still eating healthy?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I met a Steeler! and sweet potato fries : )

Happy Steelers Sunday everyone!

If you live in the city of Pittsburgh at any point in your life, you know that the Steelers games are the end all/be all of Sunday afternoon entertainment. If you arent watching the game.. then what the heck are you doing?  Its a great excuse to get together with friends too. Unfortunately, I have a ton of homework to get done so I am not doing anything too wild. I am having a few friends over and just watching the game at my apartment : )

I have a specific interest in this game  because I recently had an encounter with a Steeler! This weekend was the celebration for Oktoberfest in Pittsburgh at Hofbrauhaus. I love this time of year.. its like it really kicks off the fall! All of my friends and I were there front and center last year because my room mate was running for "Miss Oktoberfest" and this year we were there to support her giving her crown to her successor.

Me and Rach

Well later in the night, I had the opportunity to meet Lamar Woodley! My old room mate actually met him a few weeks ago and we all happened to be in south side at the same time. We met up and had the chance to talk a bit. It was awesome! I didnt want to snap a picture and be "that person" so I have no photo evidence of this but I promise it happened! haha I couldnt wait to call Dwayne and tell him because he is such a Steelers fan!`

While my friends were on their way today,  I decided that I needed to make a little game day snack. I searched my kitchen and I decided that the best food to use was my sweet potato. Have any of you tried a sweet potato? I am suprized to find out how many of my friends have never tried one. They are so versatile you can make pies, mashed potatoes, or just bake it with some cinnamon ..mmmmm. Its one of the only vegetables that I crave because its just so sweet.

Well for the game I decided to make something healthy but that would remind me of being out at one of Pittsburghs sports bars. I was gonna turn this sweet potato into some delicious french fries! I chopped the sweet potato up into the size of shoe string fries (my favorite types) put a few pinches of salt and more than a few pinches of cinnamon on them. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and checked on them every 10 minutes. You wanna make sure to turn them around every once in a while.. because sometimes they will cook a little unevenly depending on how you cut them.

Dont these look delicious??

These are some tastey treats for sure! Warning though.. dont get confused with this healthy recipe and those that you get out at restaurants. One of my favorite restaurants in the South Side is "The Library" This place is great because it has the best atmosphere and its not a place for people that are 21 trying to get wasted but more for good friends that want to get together and have conversations. They have very delicious sweet potato fries but like all others they are deep fried and not baked.. They do have many healthy alternatives with salads and sandwhiches. I would say check it out if you've never been there for sure!

What are your favorite game day treats? Do you stick to healthy foods on game day or do you splurge? Have any good recipes to be shared with the readers for game day treats that are healthy?