Thankful Thursday!

Just another edition of Thankful Thursday!

If you look hard enough, and with the right lens, there’s always something you can be thankful for!

I had hoped to start off the day thankful that the Septic Guys arrived late in the day yesterday and quickly and easily pumped us, so I could do laundry today.  Since that didn’t happen, I’m chosing to be thankful for the fact that the guy did call Hubs and did admit he dropped the ball and we’re first on the list after lunch.  I might be very much less thankful later if we get “lost in the shuffle” again. 🙂  And I’m verrrrrrrrrrry thankful for our awesome neighbors… One of our neighbors up the street offered the use of their laundry equipment.  So lucky!

I’m thankful for the weather!!  It’s gorgeous out.  The skies are “Perfect Summer Sky” blue today with lovely white puffy clouds.  It’s so perfectly beautiful that I didn’t even want to take a picture to share because there’s no way to do it justice.

I’m thankful for a job I love… and that I am surrounded by people who support me.  I have some of the most amazing clients, and my at home support is pretty fabuloso too.

I love that I’m taking the time to recreate the way I massage.  My thumbs are very hyperlax, and bend all the way backwards, which used to be a great party trick is a good way to hurt myself.  I hadn’t been taking as great care with them as I should have.  I’ve worked diligently to rework how I massage to minimize my use of them, and I’m very proud of the result.  Self-care doesn’t have to be optional.  In fact to be a healthy individual it should be mandatory!  And I’m thankful for that reminder.

And finally, what I am probably most thankful for today is getting a great night of sleep last night.  I’m my best when I get 8 hours, give or take 20 minutes.  I love being rested!!!

Anyone else out there thankful today????

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Bottom Creek Gorge – Nature Conservatory

Sunday afternoon, to beat the heat, we took to the woods.

Bottom Creek Gorge to be exact.  It’s a nature conservatory area, so Theron had to stay home.

We’ve gone on this hike before.  We like it because it’s about 35 minutes from our house, and the drive there is pretty.  I always think someday we’ll do the hike earlier in the day and stop at Ahmrein’s Winery on our way home since we drive right by it, but somehow it never seems appealing when we are drenched in sweat…. Wonder why that is?! 🙂

There are three trails to chose from.  Somehow we started on Yellow (Knight Trail) and then ended up on Red and Blue both on our way back.  And in light of my decision to embrace where I am in the here and now, I am actually posting pictures with me in them.  Even though I hate to do that lately.   Big steps baby, big steps!!

Enjoy, we sure did!
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Held Hostage by My Septic Tank

Since I am still waiting for the septic men to show up, I’m basically held hostage in our house.

When do you know that it’s time to get your septic pumped?

Since we moved in here in March of 2007 and had them pump it before we moved in, we should have had 3-5 years.  Therefore, this past March was at the long end of that time-frame.  Which means for me, it was time to pump it LAST fall.  You know… BEFORE we had a sewage swamp for the dog to frolic in.  (Note: This has not yet occurred, but Theron is very suspicious of why he can’t play in his beloved backyard.)

For Hubs, it would seem it was when I kept smelling sewage and seeing liquid come out of the top of the septic.  

Then don’t you know, he’s more than happy to pick up his phone and make some calls, get some quotes and schedule someone.

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So now… Until we’re actually pumped, we have to follow the rule:  If it be yellow let it mellow, if it be brown flush it down.  Please note, if  anyone pulls the “pop over visit” and I don’t have time to do a last-minute flush…. I am totally planning to sell it as us being wicked  green and saving water and all that jazz.

We also get to play this game where we strategically schedule our dishes, laundry and showers…  And by strategically schedule I mean use paper plates as much as possible, don’t do any laundry and take quick showers (Read: My legs are not getting shaved.).  

Which also  means we’re close to being out of underthings… And to teach Hubs a lesson or something I might just refold his unlaundered boxers and see if he notices that they don’t smell all laundry fresh before he wears them.  You know… Like I said…To teach him a lesson… Not to be vindictive or anything…

I’ve also thought about putting mud on Theron’s paws and saying he sneaked out while I was bringing out the compost and then make Hubs clean the paws…. Because I know he’ll think it’s sewage paws….

And today, I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel…  The Pump Guys were supposed to be here late morning… but Hubs’ phone isn’t ringing and when he calls them, it’s going right to voicemail…   I think the Pump Guys ditched us.

This is actually a great lesson on why you totally wait until there is an actual problem to call help in, and why you don’t call before there is a big problem… you know… that way you can get the adrenaline kick of not knowing if the problem will be solved before it creates a lasting problem.  Right?!?

Weight Talk Wednesday

I have tried to flesh out several different topics for today’s Weight Talk Wednesday… but none of them feel fully formed just yet.  So today will be more in the format of musings on a few subjects.  

  • I’ve been reading and working pretty intensely through The Rules of “Normal Eating” by Karen Koenig this past week.  I’m feeling extremely happy with my progress.  I’m feeling like its really clicking for me, and that it’s going to help take me where I want to go with my relationship with food and my body.  However, it’s intense and draining…  I don’t have a ton left to give to thinking on this topic.  It’s amazing that there’s so many books on this topic but once you find that one that talks to you in the right way, it really gives rise to hope.  
  • I’ve been really focusing on my hungry/full signals, and letting myself throw out food or put it away if I am not hungry anymore.  It’s been a really calming experience.  
  • I’m really really anxious about our trip home and my eating habits and the mental progress I’m making.  I worry that it will unravel when I’m home.  When I’m around Hub’s parents we eat relatively healthy and clean because they are very Mediterranean in their eating habits (My MIL is 1/2 Italian and my FIL is 100% Greek), but it’s a portion thing.  My MIL is an amazing cook, and I think often shows her love with food.  I end up eating so much each night at dinner that I’m surprised I can get up and move after!  I don’t want to hurt feelings by refusing that second portion or by leaving food on the plate.  I am really hopeful my work on exploring this will help me set my boundaries and rationalize the situation better.  Realistically, I highly doubt that me not overeating will say to my MIL that I don’t like her!  
  • When I’m around my family I tend to eat differently than I want to.  I eat different foods, and I literally find myself racing to eat as much and as quickly as possible.  After thinking about it and spending time with the situation in my mind I have established that I eat to quell anxiety, and to quiet the emotions I don’t want to deal with.  I also tend to drink, a lot when I am around my family.  I know these two activities are not healthy for me; mentally, emotionally or physically.  I know emotions are what help to guide us, and if I can just feel the emotions maybe I can help navigate that part of my life better.   I tend to slip into a mode where I don’t want to rock the boat, and I want to keep the peace at my (And to be honest The Husband’s) expense.  If I am to be authentic to feeling my emotions and caring for my own needs/wants, I am fairly certain to rock the boat.  I have been getting more and more anxious about that as I get closer to vacation. 
  • I’m still acclimating to the heat.  It’s 77* inside when I wake up, and 82*-86* (depending on how often/how long I use the oven during the day).  I’m feeling a little drowsy and lazy during the days.  And the heat is making sleep somewhat of a struggle.  I sleep best when I’m cool and when I’ve worked out and walked the dog.  I like my body tired so it can override my mind if need be. 🙂  That’s not happening with having to wait for the house to cool down before sleeping, and therefore staying up late.  As you can imagine, that also skews getting up early to work out.  My muscles are craving a good workout, but it’s just not happening!!
  • Summer pictures are already gracing FB…  It really makes me want to let go of my body issues and just enjoy.  I am not going to magically wake up tomorrow and be thin… so I might as well embrace what I am working with in the here and now, and let myself enjoy that for what it is… and let myself enjoy the sunshine, water, wind, whatever.  Maybe a month down the road I’ll be more comfortable… but the size of my body does not determine my ability to have fun and to love the summer.

Today is house cleaning day, which is best done before the house gets crazy-hot.  It started out cooler today, and it’s very pretty out with a nice breeze.  Plus, our septic tank (which is desperately in need of pumping) is getting pumped today so we should finally be able to run the dishwasher the same day as we do laundry… so I can get back in my Suzy-Homemaker-Mode!!!  Fingers crossed I can get some quality sleep tonight, and we can get up and workout in the cool of the morning!

2 Bite Brownies

2 Bite Brownie Glory

I remember when I was still back home in Vermont and Hannaford’s used to have these cute little “2 Bite Brownies”.  They were perfect to just satisfy your little craving, or to make a small brownie sundae with. 🙂

Times have changed… I don’t shop at Hannaford’s anymore (We’re Kroger people through and through)… And over the years I  have stopped eating so much sugar and have become really aware of how what I eat makes me feel after, so I find I don’t enjoy brownies as I used to.

Last week we had on the menu to have white beans (cannellini)  with pasta and pasta sauce.  So I soaked a bunch of them up and cooked them on low in the crock pot (My favorite way to make dried beans!).  I always make extra and then freeze the extras so I have beans on hand.

Well, I kinda eyeballed more than we needed… Even when you take into account freezing some… So I was at a loss as to what to do with  all these beans!!!   Until I remembered people using black beans to make brownies.  I figured the white beans are pretty similar to black beans and I could just try to make some and if they failed I could keep it all to myself, and if they succeeded, I could share them with the world!

Let’s just say, the are abso-freakin-lutely awesome.  Hubs didn’t really believe they had beans at first.  They are super yummy, without being too sweet.  We’ve been having them in the morning before we take our walks or go running or work-out… and they don’t make me crash.  That’s always the problem for me with sweets… If they are too sweet with out enough protein and fiber, I feel like crud after eating them.  But not these babies!!

I made these last week… and they are still so good… We’ve kept them in the refrigerator and decided they are officially a household staple.  They are so good that I even baked another batch of them today… In my un-airconditioned 84* IN THE KITCHEN house…  That’s how good they are!!

If you can't stand the heat...

I made them, both times, in my mini-muffin pans which make them into the perfect 2 bite size!  The first go round, I ended up with 24 brownies… and about 1/4 cup of “batter” left over.  It would make a great dessert dip since it’s eggless and all.  Today I baked all of the batter and ended up with 34 brownies.

2 Bite Brownies

Ingredients:

3/4 C Whole Wheat Flour (I think oat flour would work wonderful and would make this gluten free)

1/3 C Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 C Brown Sugar

1 1/4 C cooked White Beans

3/4 C Pumpkin (canned or mashed… I think applesauce would work, really any mashed fruit, mashed ripe bananas would as well I bet!)

1/4 C Yogurt

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Process/Method:

Preheat oven to 375*.  Grease your muffin pan (I misto-ed mine).

Puree white beans.  I did so in a food processor the first time and felt that the beans were a little chunkier than I would prefer, so I this time I pureed them in batches in my mini-chopper and added a couple tablespoons of water each time.  I was MUCH happier with the consistancy.

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  I use my KitchenAid stand mixer, but it’d be easy to do this with a spoon and elbow grease!

Bake for 10-12 minutes… Or until toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool, remove from muffin pan, and enjoy.

The World’s Best Rice Salad

I humbly call this The World’s Best Rice Salad.  It’s very very similar to one found  in the Tassajara Cookbook.  

You can use any grain really… Sometimes I’ll use quinoa, sometimes brown rice.  It’s good with either.

If you have a rice cooker, this is a super simple and easy summer meal because you don’t have to cook anything but the rice and the rice cooker will do that part for you!

It’s chilled just below room temperature, but you could eat it cold or room temperature.  I’ve never tried it warm.

Without further ado…

The World’s Best Rice Salad Serves 4 as a good-sized side.

Ingredients:

1 cup Rice/Grain + amount of water needed to cook it… For me, this is 1 cup rice and 1.5 cups water in the rice cooker.

3 Tbsp Raisins

2 Scallions, sliced thinly

3 Tbsp Toasted Sliced Almonds

2 firm Avocados, diced

FOR THE DRESSING:

1/4 cup Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Canola Oil or EVOO

1/4 tsp Ground Coriander

1/4 tsp Cumin

1/4 tsp Paprika

1/8 tsp Garlic Salt

Pepper to taste

Cilantro to garnish

Process/Method:

Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

Combine all other ingredients – Except the avocado, since they brown easily I like to add that at the very last-minute, after the salad has chilled and flavors have melded!

Dress the rice salad with the dressing, chill and/or allow flavors to meld at least 20 minutes.  

Top with cilantro and avocado.

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It’s perfect for days like today… where it’s insanely hot, and it’s only 10:30 am!  

We’re trying not to use the central air until after we return from Vermont, so it’s been around 77*-83* on the main level…. Thank goodness for the basement being below ground and therefore a LOT cooler.  Plus, the backyard is mostly shaded and the bugs seem to like to bite Hubs instead of me, so that’s been a nice place to enjoy!

I think we’re off to marinate some (organic) chicken drumsticks to grill after the sun goes down, and find a hike to take in the meantime!  

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!