The little Jen-gine that could

March 31, 2008

After being terrorized by a pulmonary tech who kept YELLING at me during all of my lung function tests (BIG breath in…. NOW PUSH IT OUT!!), I managed to a) stop crying and b) go back to work and be helpful to someone who “like, majorly needed some psych articles, like, today.”

Okay, I didn’t really cry. I did, however, help. I am that way.

During my tests, they gave me a five minute albuterol treatment that was like smoking a pipe. Seriously, stuff was coming out of the other side of it. Now I get to wait to find out what’s wrong with me. The albuterol kicked in a few hours later and I actually managed to go to the gym and do some exercise. I just walked on the indoor track, but it felt pretty awesome after a few days of relative inactivity. I kept it slow but managed to walk the equivalent of a 5k. I have to set these kinds of goals for myself, because saying “I’m walking a 5k!” is a little more motivational than “I’m walking around and around in circles like a lab animal and going nowhere!” Right? Right.

I never thought I’d be the kind of person who would miss exercise. It still kind of freaks me out.

Dinner was a nice mix of things: leftover chili, hummus and carrots, salad, mini bagel with almond butter and flaxseed. Then I had this beautiful after-dinner snack of pear, strawberries, cottage cheese, sliced almonds, cinnamon and more flaxseed.


Mmmmmmm. I can feel the omega-3s coursing through my bloodstream. Now I’m waiting for my “increased physical energy” and “unique exuberance.”

Now, I have to go to sleep, since I’m getting up in like 7 hours to do more indoor circle walking.

Where is my unique exuberance?


Simple minded

March 30, 2008

I’m ravenous today. Being less active seems to make me hungrier than usual. Which is counterintuitive, really.

So, we had leftovers that we could have eaten, but we also had a bunch of asparagus in the refrigerator that was looking kind of rough, so I resuscitated it for dinner – chicken and asparagus with orzo. I made this once last month after seeing it on Eat Like Me, but it came out much better this time.


So, there’s that. It was simple, it has different colors, we always have chicken and tomatoes, and it was warm.

And now, I’m going to lie down for the rest of the night. So, for the next 20 minutes until I fall asleep.

Souper Saturday

March 29, 2008

Um. Yeah. I just couldn’t think of another title.

I did not go to Target today, as we will go tomorrow morning after we take our laundry to the Wash Palace. Also, I’ve already been maybe three times this week, so waiting it out seemed like a good idea – make it a little more special. And, I can enjoy my favorite Sunday morning activity – looking at the Target ad online as soon as I wake up.

Instead, I went to the public library, took a walk with Matt (who is monitoring my exercise after this morning’s episode), went to buy a few groceries, and walked to the mall and to Best Buy. Though I currently have some beef with Manhattan (as it is KILLING ME slowly by attacking my sinuses), it’s really nice to live in such a walkable town. Chapel Hill was walkable, too, but you couldn’t walk to the mall OR Best Buy without risking important pieces of yourself, like your legs. Or your life.

When we got back from the mall, I made Golden Pear Soup, a Mollie Katzen recipe from Still Life with Menu. I’ve been excited about it all week, and I think I must have overhyped it, because I’m honestly a little disappointed. I think the pears were too ripe and not tart enough. Because, which creamy and delicious, this soup was a little too in my face with its sweetness (though I’ll note that Matt thought it wasn’t sweet enough). Actually, it may have been my selection of butternut squash as the base. Maybe I’ll try it with something a little less sweet next time.

It had a really nice texture, though. Seriously, the immersion blender is the greatest invention of our time.


Roasted green beans with balsamic vinegar and sliced almonds on the side:


All together with a mini bagel:


I may have very little to post in the next few days. Money’s tight until payday, and we don’t have a lot to work with here, so we’ll probably be having a lot of leftovers. Though I hate to disappoint the halves of dozens of you that read this, so I’ll see what I can do.

Okay, it is time for me to give my attention to the Elite Eight. And then do some major dishes. I owe Matt a break – he did them yesterday and then spent some serious time today vacuuming the 700 square feet of my hair that is our carpet.

Rare lunch post

March 29, 2008

This post is dedicated to my beautiful and inspirational sister, Stephanie, who requested that I post the sandwich that I was getting ready to make when we were talking on the phone.

So here’s a pita sandwich with some turkey, avocado and part of a Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese wedge. I saved the rest of it to have with an apple. Also, it wouldn’t really fit.


Mmm. Sandwichy. I cut myself making this. The sacrifices I make for my family…

Okay, so, I tried to exercise today and it was a total disaster. I need to get some activity in or I’m going to go nuts, so maybe I’ll take a few laps around Target this afternoon.

See you for dinner.

Nacho salad

March 28, 2008

I threw two of the best foods in the world together in a big bowl and called it dinner:


It’s a massive amount of lettuce, some leftover black bean salsa from taco night heated up with a little cheese, and a few blue corn and flaxseed chips (Target) thrown in. Mostly because I really like when chips absorb things and get all soggy. Also, I heard flax makes you really happy and has other health benefits. Clearly, I could use some health benefits.

This was kind of light for dinner, probably because I spent the afternoon eating candy and almond butter from the jar. Halfway through, I got inspired and added a third component to nacho salad: bulgur!


Sometimes, you just have to throw caution to the wind.

Note that this salad was so massive that my normal bowls couldn’t accommodate it, so I had to serve myself in a small mixing bowl.

I had all kinds of good intentions to make a delicious soup for dinner tonight, but I still don’t feel well, and after working for most of the day, including standing for two hours while talking to disinterested high school students, I really wasn’t up for it. So, I took the easy way out. I’ll get to the soup sometime. Hopefully before the pears go bad.

Tonight, we did something pretty exciting: we left the house on a Friday night, and it wasn’t even to go to Target. We went to Donna’s, where we contributed to a tray of pretty skewers for a baby shower:


We made the ones on the left. In exchange for some fancy homemade hot chocolate. Did you know that some people don’t use the packets? I know. Weird.

The excitement of “going out” on a Friday night has taken its toll on my 108 year old inner self, and I’m going to bed. I skipped all exercise today, as per my doctor’s strong suggestion, and it just made me feel nervous. I’ll have to work something in tomorrow. Maybe a heavy session of Wii Sports.

Comfort; food.

March 27, 2008

I can’t wait to post my dinner here one day and be able to say “Today, I felt awesome!”

Sadly, today is not that day. In spite of being a walking health problem, I try to be active and positive and have a good attitude and things like that. That can be hard to maintain when you’re happily exercising at 5:30 in the morning, surrounded by other (clearly insane) people who exercise that early, listening to, I don’t know, Galaxie 500 or something and wondering if it’s weird that something slow like that can get you pumped before it’s even light outside, and then suddenly you are almost passing out on the stair climber thing and you have to wade your way through weird tunnel vision to go lie down. In the gym bathroom. Luckily, there was a bench, so it wasn’t on the floor or anything. But, still. Ewwww.

So, that was my morning. And, like an idiot, I just came home and rested and got ready for work like nothing happened. And then, suddenly I realized that sort of fainting at the gym was probably, I don’t know, not a good thing. So I called my doctor’s office and the nurse said “Jenny, what happened?” in a very mom way and they told me I needed to come in. I had several new experiences, including an EKG and a chest x-ray, and several old experiences, like a peak flow test and some other lung tests. I left with a prescription, several more appointments with medical professionals, a mandate to cut back on my exercise for a few weeks, and a crazy bad headache from having to breathe in and out so many times.

I came home, worked for a few hours, tried to be fine and then completely crashed at about 3 in the afternoon. I woke up, luckily, in time for Carolina’s sweet sixteen game, which I’m still enjoying now. I made a delightfully comforting pot of chili using a new recipe from Cooking Light. I’m working on my food photography. How am I doing? Here’s some Three Bean Chili:


With some plain yogurt because I always forget to buy sour cream.

And, because I had a headache, roasted brussels sprouts:


All together, with a mini bagel and my 89th glass of water today:


I have some more yogurt that’s going to expire, so I’ll probably have that in a little bit. It’ll go nicely with my special new tea:


I know – the fussy title also made me nervous. But it’s really, really good. This is my third cup today.

Taco casa

March 26, 2008

There’s a chain of convenience stores/gas stations here called Dara’s Fast Lane, and connected to a few of them are fast food Mexican restaurants named “Taco Casa.” They put up very clever marquee messages like “Got Tacos?” and cryptic ones like “Ta os.”

We did not have dinner there. Last night, Matt took me out because I had a weird day and my skirt was wrinkly and too big and my pedometer wasn’t working properly, so all my walking effort felt WASTED and I said “um” a lot more than usual during my presentation. I had a “chicken tortilla salad” which is my favorite thing to get at a restaurant, because, really, who doesn’t like glorified nachos with some lettuce thrown in? And, on the way back, we passed a Taco Casa and it solidified my plan to have black bean tacos for dinner tonight.

I worked from home for part of this afternoon, so I mixed up up the filling (which is also salsa; basically – black beans, diced tomato, some cilantro, garlic, cayenne pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil with lime juice squeezed all over it) and put it in the refrigerator to, I don’t know, infuse itself with… itself. That meant that dinner was COLD as Matt kept pointing out, and, combined with the sort of dreary gross day we’re having, I guess he had a problem with that.

Anyway, it’s a good thing I mixed this up earlier because I had some kind of physical break with reality at about 5 and since then I’ve basically been sleeping sitting up. I will probably go to bed soon, when I can get the energy to walk from here to the bedroom. It’s about 14 steps, but it feels really daunting.

Here’s round one of my dinner – one taco w/ some appetizers.


Okay, the picture sucks. I’m going to try to do better with that. But, on the bright side, I finally found some corn tortillas that don’t break when you try to do anything other than sit them flat on a plate. Apparently the trick is to buy them from somewhere other than Aldi. I wanted to have a salad with this, or at least something green, but I only have a brand new box of mixed greens and I couldn’t be bothered to get out scissors and open the package, so I just threw some peppers and carrots on the plate with some hummus and called it an appetizer. I also ate another taco and some chips, and I’m strongly considering another one and maybe some yogurt. If I ever get up. I guess this means no Kickbox Kombat tonight (hey – I didn’t make it up), which is a shame. But not such a shame that it’s going to keep me from enjoying a 6:30pm bedtime.