Eat well, Stay fit, die anyway

Probably a cynical phrase for how I sometimes view healthy living. Healthy living. What is that anyway? It seems to be latest fad, as many people are eating only raw foods, going natural with their hair and spending hours in the gym. I however, want to do none of those things in excess. Why? Probably because I am a little lazy and enjoy being busy having fun all the time that I could care less about eating only salad when there are so many great restaurants in the world, love my straight hair and really despise the gym. Yet, I still want to live a life that is healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally. So I am on a journey to discover what healthy living is for me.

The first thing was my natural hair. I went natural only for vain reasons; I wanted longer hair. If you are unfamiliar, the natural hair movement is about using natural products on your hair- no chemicals, and no treating the hair with heat ( blow dryer, pressing combs, flat irons, etc). Anyways I decide to do this. I haven’t really gone all out. I have been experimenting with shampoos that have less chemicals and using no heat and less store bought product. And it worked. But of course, because I am little vain I have been rocking pressed hair for about a month now simply because my hair is great!

My next task for my healthy living project is my weight. I definitely do not have a goal of Janet Jackson abs from back in the day. I just want to lose this gut I have developed post college. Now I have always been overweight but the gut is finally out of control. However, I have decided that I am NOT eating only salad or using drops or powder to boost my weight loss. Part of my endeavor is to learn healthier ways of living while still enjoying life. And in my world, eating only salads is not enjoyable, especially knowing that I can make some great Mac n Cheese. So I decided I am going to workout (currently a walking/ running deal with a mix of weights and ab work) and eat more vegetables and fruit, since I like that stuff anyways. And no read meat. Adios Carne asada.

I don’t consider any of this to be unconventional; surely someone somewhere has lived like this or is living like this. I do know that most of my friends are endeavoring to live healthy lifestyles, but are extreme. I have never been an extremist type of person. always more of a middle of the road girl. Which is fine with me. And so it’s time for me to find my middle of the road, otherwise known as balance. I pretty much just want to take care of me, because I might sink faster when I go river rafting. On a more serious note, the journey has already proved to be valuable in learning to love me now and who I am; nappy or straight hair. And to be honest no one teaches you how to truly take care of yourself. There are no classes on balance in college. And although you can take nutrition, chemistry and biology, there is no class called life application of all the things you ever learned.

So here I am on my healthy living journey, maybe more appropriately termed path to balance. And if you think you’ve already achieved balance like a buddha, you should share!

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Undiscovered beauty

I  was back in LA, which I am sure you can tell is a place I love. There is always so much to do. When I came, I was excited because I got to go to Clipper game, and I love going to basketball games. They are always so fun! I have been having quite the time this trip, but there are a few things that stick out to me. Last time I was there, I went to Whimsic Alley, or as I have been calling it, the Harry Potter Store. Harry Potter Fans, you need to visit this place! It is such a cute and fun little place. It is in the mid-wilshire district of Los Angeles. When you walk in there is so much Harry Potter merchandise, movie replica, and memorabilia, I was in awe. Of course, I bought a tin Harry Potter lunch box with thermos. Anyone remember those? The kind with the top with the little handle? However, the lunch box was not even the best thing there; there were t-shirts, hats, jewelry, Hogwarts school uniforms, and even wands. And not just any wands, wands from just about every character in the Harry Potter series.My favorite part of this little place, was their replica of the great hall, you know the place where the students eat and such. This replica was fantastic! It had the floating candles and everything. Behind this they had a wall mural of platform 9 and 3/4. I was having quite the time in this place. Here is a picture of me at platform 9 and 3/4…

I also went hiking in Pasadena close to the Rosebowl. I don’t like hardcore working out, but I do really love hiking. I always feel at peace and in awe while a work up a little sweat. The trail I went on was absolutely beautiful so I thought you would enjoy some pictures from the hike. Enjoy the pictures! Live well and smile!

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Fabulous Finds

I love LA, well Southern California that is. Even though I live in the bay, So Cal will always be home and one of favorite places. This weekend I visited my favorite place so I could watch the LA marathon. My mom and one of my good friends participated and completed this feat! I am so super proud of them! While I was waiting to see my loved ones cross the finish line, I went to breakfast with another friend and my Aunt. We went to Jinky’s in Santa Monica on second street off of Broadway. Jinky’s sure was wonderful! I mean really, those pancakes were sooooooooo good! The service was great, the wait wasn’t too long, and they even cooked my bacon to perfection, which is something I am quite particular about. I definitely give it both thumbs up and suggest you visit it. Mind you they are only open until 3:30 in the afternoon. So go get breakfast! This is what Jinky’s looks like from the outside…

Jinky's

After breakfast, we hung out at 3rd street promenade. We go into Barnes and Noble and I make a fantastic discovery! A Lorax  tin lunch box. It is so cute! I really love tin lunch boxes. I love how creative they are as they are becoming popular again. Here is what my new lunch box looks like!

 

Later we killed time waiting at the finish line. I wasn’t sure how I would feel, but I was extremely happy and proud of my mom and good friend. They are an inspiration to me. Maybe I will work out more and give myself something to work toward, like a 5k or 10k (since I despise running, this will be something that requires focus!).

Eat Well and Enjoy Life!

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Basketball Obsession

So I have been so busy getting back into school and doing work for work, that I haven’t cooked anything good or done anything worth reporting to you all about. What I have been doing instead is being an obsessed Clippers fan. You read right. The Los Angeles CLIPPERS. No, I’m not a band wagoner who has jumped another NBA team ship to ride one currently captained by Chris Paul and anchored with Blake Griffin. I have been a fan for years. Since Darius Miles had a basketball career and future, since Lamar Odom did his first stint in LA as an NBA Player, and since Corey Maggette had cornrows. Now I have always loved sports, especially basketball. I spent Saturday mornings when I was younger watching college football and basketball with my dad. One day I decided that the Clippers would be my team. I’m not entirely sure why except that I like underdogs and because I thought Corey Maggette was hot and maybe because I like being just a little contrary to the masses. This one decision has turned into a love for me. I have a ton of unnecessary Clippers paraphernalia and have stood by them through thick and thin, which has mostly been thin, except for a brief trip to the western conference playoffs. And I don’t care. Who would have thought that  this dedication to constant disappointment would turn into pride when the Clippers acquired Blake (although he spent the first 2 years injured) and later got Chris Paul, among the others who have come to be part of the “new Clippers” team. And so now, I am completely obsessed, streaming all of the games on my laptop and making watching the games top priority. I don’t even live in LA right now and yet, I watched the Clippers at an away game, and hope I can catch a game or two next time I go down to LA for a visit.

And maybe you are thinking how crazy this is. I mean I am dedicated, I don’t want to paint my face because I think it takes away from my great looks, and I don’t plan on wearing crazy wigs and painting my car with the Clippers logo. But I love wearing my Blake shirt while completing the look with my basketball earrings. And I pray they make the playoffs so I have a reason to go to a playoff game at the Staples center and support my team.

And maybe people being dedicated to a sports team seem ridiculous to you. It does give me something to do, a hobby, although it is not the only hobby I spend time on.

What about you? Any favorite sports? Teams?  Or maybe you don’t even get sports, what say you?

Either way, enjoy this shot of one of my favorite players at the All Star Game.

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Water Front Eats

So I am sure by know you can see the affair I am having with food. I cheat on my love for hiking with my love for good food. Anyways, this weekend I went to another restaurant called Skates on the Bay http://skatesonthebay.com/ . Let me tell you, it was gorgeous, sitting right on the water in the Berkeley Marina. The inside of the restaurant was just as lovely because it was almost lounge like, with comfy leather seats and cute intimate tables with candles on them. And the food. First is the complimentary bread which was wonderful. It almost tasted like garlic cheesy bread. Then someone at my table ordered the cornbread. Absolutely fabulous. It had peppers in it which gave it a little kick and yet it was sweet at the same time. For my entree I ordered grilled mahi mahi on a bed of gnocchi with a sauce made with bacon and truffle, complete with mushrooms and spinach. Mmm mmm. Honestly. It was really good. And so of course I give this place a recommendation. It’s another $30/ plate place, but definitely worth every penny we paid considering the food and atmosphere.

And of course how could my food experiences be complete if I didn’t make my own wonderful food? So I tried this recipe called cinnamon sugar breakfast puffs http://www.food52.com/recipes/15110_cinnamon_sugar_breakfast_puffs .Another fabulous recipe from the people at Food 52. These little beauties actually taste like donuts and that’s extra cool since you don’t have to fry them up like regular donuts which can be a little tedious. And they were super easy to make which is always a plus. So here is how my puffs turned out.

 

Eat well and enjoy!

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Good Eats

So The last week or so I have been cooking, baking and eating like no tomorrow. Its the month of my birth as well as birthdays for some of my friends; so there have already been quite a few festivities and the month is only half way through. I wanted to share the bread that I made. I have to say that I have never made bread before and I have only used yeast about twice before this. Nervous as I was, I tried this recipe and it was FAN-TASTIC! I mean honestly, it is really good. So here is the recipe and pictures of my bread.  http://www.food52.com/recipes/8298_heavenly_oatmealmolasses_rolls

And on Saturday I went to eat at a restaurant called Scott’s Seafood. It was sooooo good! I mean honestly, some of the best sea food I have had. And it was worth the $30 per plate that my friends and I paid, which maybe for some of you high rollers is not a lot, but on a preschool teaching/ graduate student budget that’s a few meals or trips to the grocery store. If you have not been there, I surely recommend that place to you.

Eat Well!

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5 year old comedians

So I was toying with the idea of starting a separate blog for all of my teacher musings (because if you didn’t know, I teach preschool). But I realized that I am not interested in managing a whole other site just dedicated to all things preschool teacher related. So if preschoolers and their 5-year-old humor don’t interest you, just bear with me.

To give you background I teach at a private preschool here in the East Bay. I teach 5 year olds, kids that need an extra year before going off to “real” school kindergarten. So here I am, my fourth year of teaching, and I tell you it only gets better. The kids are crazy and they drive me crazy and yet I spend most of the day laughing and wondering what really takes place in the mind of 5-year-old children. I obviously don’t understand them all the time since at lunch time they tell really bad knock-knock jokes and crack up. But I digress.

Maybe I don’t really digress. Here are some of the things I experience during my day:

Child: What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?

Me: what?

Child: Banananaa!

(get it?)

or

Me: So what Holiday did we celebrate?

Child: King’s day!

Me: Yes we celebrated Martin Luther King’s Birthday. Does anyone know about him? What he did?

Child 2: Umm He was a man. Who got shot. And died.

Me: Uhh yes, that’s all true…

or…

Child: Ms. Lasondra, come here.

Me: Ok. Yes?

Child (in a whisper): The other teacher looks like one of those Indians, with the red dot on her head.

Me (laughing out loud): Yea? That is pretty funny!

( Mind you, my coworker had a red blemish on her forehead that morning)

 

As you can see they make me laugh, and maybe it is funnier in the moment. But in any case, this is actually how I spend my days, not cooking ( I do that quite often though) or making things like bow ties ( although I LOVE being crafty, so there is surely more of that to come). But hopefully this little tidbit will tide you over until I take a picture of the things I am working on and cook another fancy meal.

So have a laugh on me!

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Skewers + a handmade bow tie= Love

So usually after I do a post, I find that I have small moments of panic after I go throughout the next week wondering what in the world to post next. And then I rethink my blog; should it only be about a certain topic so I always know what to post about? Should it be about more things than I can count on one hand so I never run out of ideas to post about? I still don’t really know what the answer to those questions is. I do know that I am just going to post things and let this blogging journey evolve on its own.

So in this past week, I went out to eat because you know, good food is something I enjoy. I went to dinner at  a place named Asqew in Emeryville (for you bay area folks). Now it is no fancy restaurant with super fancy food. Just a good place on the same type of service as Chipotle or The Habit, fast food, but not fast food as I like to call it. Anyways this little place serves skewers (get it, asqew?) So I got the Blackened Prawn skewers and the Thai BBQ chicken skewers with a side of Roasted garlic Mashed potatoes. So tasty! The Thai Bbq sauce was so delicious and how can you go wrong with grilled shrimp! I recommend to anyone looking for a not too expensive and not too fancy place to eat. Here is my plate, before savoring every bite.

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I also did some cool “re-purposing” if you will, which is something I enjoy. My theory is that I can make everything. I have really been wanting a bow tie and couldn’t seem to find one that didn’t cost me a million dollars. So I bought a regular men’s necktie and then googled how to make a bow tie and presto! A bow tie! Here is the you tube video I watched and a picture of my new bow tie. It is not professionally sewn and such, but pretty good I think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EySeRY7hKUs . Enjoy! 

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Shrimp Fried Rice and taking a hike

So last time, I told you all that I was making homemade ice cream. It sure was tasty. Except that it was like I went and got a box of ice cream from the back of the freezer at Rite-Aid. It was a little hard for my taste. And because of the consistency of the ice cream, I didn’t take any pictures since the ice cream didn’t look good to me.

However, I did make Shrimp Fried Rice and a leafy green Salad with a Soy sauce based dressing. Now maybe for you “chefs” out there, this is nothing difficult, but for me, it is always an accomplishment to make something good that i don’t typically make. Here is the recipe I used for the shrimp fried rice:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/shrimp-fried-rice-recipe/index.html

I also made these omelet cups that I found in a recipe book. Let me tell you they were so tasty! Probably one of the things I have enjoyed the most that I have made recently. Here is the recipe for that:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.Coat 6 non-stick jumbo muffin pans ( I used my regular muffin pan, and just made 12) with 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter. In large microwave safe bowl, melt 4 teaspoons butter. Add 4 cups frozen hash browns (1 pound), thawed, and 2 egg whites; season with coarse salt and ground pepper and mix thoroughly. Place 1/2 cup mixture  in each muffin cup (I just divided it between the 12 muffin cups), firmly pressing into bottom and up each side of the cup. Bake 15 minutes.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet, melt 1/2 teaspoon butter medium. Add 1/ small red onion, diced small, 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced small, and 4 ounces ham steak ( I used bacon that I cooked and chopped), diced small. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide vegetable mixture evenly among cups and top with 3 ounce cheddar, grated (3/4 cup). Bake 2 minutes. Remove from oven and crack 1 large egg into each cup ( I don’t like runny eggs, so I soft scrambled mine before). Season with salt and pepper and bake . * If cracking eggs on top, bake 8 to 10 minutes until whites are set, but yolks are runny. If scrambling before about 2 minutes will do; you don’t want to over cook your eggs. With a small offset spatula, remove cups from pan and serve immediately. Serves 6.

The last thing that I wanted to share is the view from the place where I have been hiking lately. I have been going to a place called Lime Ridge Open Space. Enjoy!

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Long time no write

It has been a long time! I missed my blog (no matter how short the time was since I started!)

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I know I did. I had the most fabulous time experiencing life. I went to a Clippers game, to see Fela! the musical, Baldwin hills scenic overlook, and other wonderful things. I won’t spend time time overloading and possibly boring you with details and pictures of these things. I will however start fresh and new and put forth my new excursions and endeavors.

Cooking is another one of my favorites ( if I haven’t told you already). I am always trying to make new things and seeing how I can make some of my favorite dishes at home. So tonight I embarked upon the journey of homemade ice cream. Now some of you may be thinking that this is an easy project. And yes it would be an easy project if I had an ice cream maker. But I don’t. So this calls for research and creativity. I looked online for different recipes, because I know that you don’t necessarily need an ice cream maker, although it sure makes the process easier and faster. I used Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for vanilla ice cream ( http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/old-time-vanilla-ice-cream-recipe/index.html) and Sunny Anderson’s method for making the ice cream ( shake it up! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/buttermilk-pecan-ice-cream-recipe/index.html).

Let me start by saying that for someone who is not supremely fit, I found the shaking to be tiresome. So I shook the ice cream for less than the time mentioned in the recipe and stuck it in the freezer. I figured it was mixed up anyways so it just needed to freeze. Should be okay if hand churned ice cream is not your favorite style 😉

Anyways here are the results: not good. Not bad but not good.

I obviously didn’t shake enough, and maybe should have had more ice ( I suggest you buy a bag unless you have a great ice maker), which means that it is taking a long time for it to become solid. Right now I have really good tasting, cold vanilla slush. Maybe I should have made half the amount in the recipe as well, as it would have been easier to shake and probably would have frozen faster. I do know that this works, as I did this with my students. The only difference is that we used a store bought method; it was a ball that my students could roll around and essentially “play” with. We also made butter in this same manner, and after at least 30 minutes of shaking, we had real butter. So unless you need at least 20 to 30 minutes of an upper body workout, get an ice cream maker, or at least a few friends to help you shake up your ice cream. I am putting my ice cream back in the freezer overnight and hopefully it solidifies by tomorrow. If it does, I will post pictures.

In the mean time, I am resting my arms.

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