Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Long Time Coming Dinner

Every since I was a little girl I have wanted to make spaghetti squash. It all began many years ago as a young child when I read about spaghetti squash in a kids gardening book my mother had bought me. Spaghetti from a vegetable sounded so cool to a young aspiring (still aspiring) chef. I have thought about it many times but never got the nerve to do it but here I went. There are few times in my life when I feel a "man" is needed to do something but this was definitely a time. The squash was almost impossible for me to cut, I was so afraid that I was going to slice my hand off (sorry for the graphic image). The first picture is the squash after baking in the oven at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes. I then gave it some cooling down time before scrapping the inside out, as seen in picture 2. Voila, spaghetti squash! The last picture is the finished product that includes organic pasta sauce, chunks of tofu, and melted low-fat monterey jack cheese. My yummy creation was most definitely worth the wait.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Creation!

I am always looking for new after work snack ideas. All day I get to think about new creations to try because let's face it, cereal does not always cut it. I had some blueberries from the market that needed to be eaten. For a salty/sweet combo to jazz up my Kashi Sunshine I added a base of 2% cottage cheese, blueberries, drizzled with honey. It was heaven in a bowl! A good way to make a late night snack go a long way, pair protein with fiber and carbs. The protein and fiber will slow down digestion to leave you fuller longer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Lunching

To me, those pictures above are a thing of beauty. When I was 100lbs heavier, I would attempt to satisfy myself with unhealthy foods and materialistic things. Now, 100lbs lighter and so much healthier/happier, the pictures above give me such greater satisfaction than I ever knew I could feel. It has been a long journey, that God has lead me through for so many reasons that all add up to His Will. Not my will be done, but His Will be done. God has shown me that my body is a temple, a holding place for the Holy Spirit. What I put in it, will affect how I am able to function. I want to function in an effective way to be a worker for Him and his Glory. Without him, I am nothing, with Him I can do anything He needs.
  • Nature's Organic Whole Wheat bread
  • Athenos roasted red pepper hummus
  • Turkey slices
  • Tomato
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Public Greenwise baby spinach
  • Mustard
  • Baby carrots/Hummus
  • Steamed okra and brussel sprouts with Mrs. Dash garlic/tomato seasoning
Between my workout and delicious lunch I headed to Publix for some good shopping deals. I have learned if you plan ahead, read the weekly ads, you can save so much money. During this shopping trip I spent $63 but saved $23! All was done by stocking up on Publix buy 1 get 1 free specials.
Afternoon Snack
  • 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup organic butternut squash puree
  • 1 Tbsp. dark chocolate coco

All mixed together and topped with Kashi Sunshine, side of fresh cherries.

Suprise Reading Material

As I headed to the gym this morning I checked my mail and found this lovely gift waiting for me. I love having a good magazine to keep me entertained during a workout in the gym. I am a visually oriented person so I do not so much as read the articles, I just need to look at the pictures to keep me occupied. I love Runner's World, Cottage Living, InStyle. I ran an AWESOME 8 miles of speed work this morning followed by some strength training.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grad School Bound!

Graduate School here I come! I took my entrance exam and received a score acceptable for entrance. Though I would have liked a higher score than what I received, I will take it anyway. Oh my gosh, the room was so hot! I do not think I have ever sweated that much in a non-workout setting. By the time I was done, my mouth was so parched (no drinks, even water allowed), I guzzled my water bottle. Before my test I had a nice filling mild snack of a Kashi granola bar dipped in 1 Tbs. Organic Kirkland Creamy Peanut Butter and a Valencia orange. In my lunch box I also packed a peanut butter & strawberry jelly sammie on Nature's Own Organic Whole Wheat bread, Red Delicious apple, and Baked Cheetos for on the way home from the test in lovely downtown Atlanta traffic. I am starting to get excited about school, who knows what God holds in my future. All I know is that He created me, He knows what is best for me, let His Will be done.

Edible Loot

I do not know if it is just me but I love to go to the grocery store. You just never know what you are going to find both in terms of food and people. Here are a few pictures of my lovely loot that I brought home with me. My new favorite item that I picked up are brussel sprouts. Everyone who is skeptical of them, they are a diamond in the rough. A neat find that I have grown to love are Bagelfuls, a handy and quick breakfast that I can eat in the car on the way to work. My favorite flavor is blueberry but they were out so cinnamon it it.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Normally when I am studying, then I am studying. I can do some great short study sessions if I am not distracted but that was then and this is now. The now being, I am not in college, I work a full-time job as a Registered Nurse, I have an apartment, and no Mom around to help me out. With that said, while studying I did some laundry as you can see from the above picture. I took a quick break for a snack.
Chocolate Oatmeal
  • 1/2c. Quaker oats
  • 1 Tbs. Hershey's dark chocolate coco
  • Cinnamon
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4c. SF syrup
  • 1/4c. Feed raisin nut granola

T-One Day

Tomorrow is my Miller Analogies Test for Graduate School entrance. I am not really "studying" but more of reviewing. I have heard many people say that you cannot really study for it, that it is just like a game of Trivial Pursuit. I had a quick breakfast before my workout at the local gym. I ran a great 8 miles that had a little speed work thrown in. I really need to buy some warmer clothes so I can run outside again. The 30 degree weather is a bit much for my current running attire.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Best-Morning-Friend

Oh coffee, how I love thee! I have been drinking coffee in the morning since I was in high school. After many attempts to give up the habit or switch to tea.....I just cannot not do it. There is just something about the smell, the sound of the coffee maker, and the taste of good coffee in the morning. Nothing else can compare. Busy day of Christmas shopping, SEC championship football game to watch.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Smells like chocolate

I love to cook but I am a baker at heart. I love to bake for others especially my co-workers. We work in an area where patient satisfaction is in high demand with a quick patient turnover rate. Needless to say, a 12-hour shift can be rough. To make their work day a little easier I love to bring in treats for my co-workers. Here are the before and after pictures of these delicious brownies that I made to take into work tomorrow. I used Betty Crocker Hershey's version and added Nestle Milk Chocolate Chips.

Planning Ahead

For those of you who do not know, I am nurse here in Atlanta, GA who has made it her mission since losing 100lbs. to live the most healthy life as possible. The motto goes with me and my work food. I refuse to give into the grab and go vending machines, pre-made hospital food, McDonald's located through the hospital. In order to do this I do lots of prep work to make and plan my food for the days I work. By doing this, it saves me time on the actual work days to devote myself to other things such as relaxing on the couch after a hard 12-hour shift. Here are 2 pictures of my menu scheduled for the next 2 days of work.
  • Breakfast- 2 Fiber One Chocolate pop tarts, banana
  • Snack- Orange
  • Lunch- Roast beef/Turkey with roasted red pepper hummus, tomato, and lettuce on Nature's Own organic whole wheat, carrots dipped in olive hummus, and steamed green beans
  • Snack- Weight Watcher's fat free vanilla yogurt topped with Feed Raisin Granola and orange
  • Dinner- Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, Red Delicious apple, Kashi Trail Mix granola bar
  • Snack- Banana dipped in 1 tablespoon of Smucker's Creamy peanut butter

Brrh, it's cold out there!

I currently have my thermostat set for 65 degrees but this early morning I awoke to a heater that was constantly on because it was so cold outside. Even living in a 3rd floor apartment where heat rises was still not to my advantage this morning. As I headed to LA Fitness (above pic), I found my Jeep covered in ice. I need to remember to keep some bottled water in the Jeep to help speed the process of de-icing. I ran a easy 10 miles at the gym with some light strength training. Lots to do today as I prepare my house and head for 2 days of work.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Study Hard, Play Hard

After I voted and finished my trip to Whole Foods I decided to head to the bookstore for a study session. I am scheduled to take the Miller Analogy Test, needed for my Graduate School admissions. The change of venue was inspiring and I was able to accomplish a lot. I took a study break for a snack that included the above Fiber One Bar, Red Delicious apple, organic creamy peanut butter. I wanted to push back the test date, scheduled for Dec. 9th, but being done before Christmas sounds so much better. I have plenty of time to retake the test if I need a better score. As I have grown older, I have learned that it is better to work hard until you are done so as to enjoy your break that much better. Nobody likes a rain cloud hanging over their head.

Treat Trip

My home away from home Whole Foods was on the agenda for the day. The atmosphere and staff there are very invigorating and cheerful that just makes the experience that much better. The first picture is my bundle of goodies that I brought home with me. The Feed Granola I bought because of a special I watched on CNBC about entrepreneurs that included the creators of this product. Hearing their story and work they put into the company was very touching and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The Israeli Couscous is something that I have been wanting to experiment with after having a side dish at one of my favorite restaurant's J. Alexanders. I will update with pictures when I begin trials in the kitchen lab. The other items are very versatile staples in my food intake that I needed to buy.

Ode to a Sandwich

My lunch was simple yet delicious that made for a winning combo. During my trip to the grocery store yesterday I bought my Nature's Own Organic Whole Grain bread for a buy 1 get 1 free special so many sandwich's are to come.
  • 2 slices of organic whole grain bread
  • Athenos roasted red pepper hummus
  • slices of tomato and lettuce
  • Pepperidge Farm slices of roast beef and turkey
  • side of Chex chedder mix
  • steamed corn/peas topped with Mrs. Dash tomato/basil/garlic seasoning

Good Early Morning Meg

I love the feeling of getting up early in the morning because it allows for more time to enjoy my day and accomplish my goals. First on the agenda is a quick breakfast of a Chocolate Chip Cliff and banana then headed to the gym for a light run and some cross-training on the elliptical. While losing weight I always headed to the gym early in the morning and that habit has just stuck with me. The benefits of working out in the morning are increasing your metabolism early in the day to burn more calories, little time to talk yourself out of it, and it can help put you in the mindset of healthy eating. Well, at least for me, it is hard to eat a big cheeseburger and fries after I just ran 6 miles. To me, the cheeseburger defeats the purpose of the 6 mile run. Just because you ran 6 miles or 10 miles or 2 miles, does not mean you can eat whatever you want. After lunch I plan to head to the polls to vote for the run-off election in Georgia then headed for a treat trip to my home away from home, Whole Foods store.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Long Time No See Everyone
Wow, it has been so long since I have been here. So long that I cannot even remember the last time. I am blessed to be busy working and spending time with family and good friends. Currently contemplating/searching for a new job that maybe in nursing or not while also studying for Miller Analogy Test, in case I decide to attend Graduate School. I love the feeling of have a hard day of work, coming home, collapsing and just relaxing on the couch as I munch on a yummy treats. Last nights treat was 3 Quaker salt-free rice cakes topped with pureed butternut squash/cinnamon/coco.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Late Night Snack

I just love peanut butter! In my opinion it is one of the most versatile foods ever created. Peanut butter can be used at any meal or snack if your heart desires. The picture above is a favorite and filling late night snack made of Quaker rice cakes, sliced banana, syrup and peanut butter.
A favorite activity for a foodie like myself is trying new restaurants especially in my city of Atlanta. The above picture was taken at Roswell Pastis that I mentioned in an earlier post. It was a great lunch with my Mom and Grandmother.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Food Loves and Hate

Many children go through food phases that contain certain foods they absolutely love and those they absolutely hate. But through the years are taste buds change and those food loves become food hates and vice versa. Here are a few of mine:

Food Loves now Food Hates
Vienna Sausages
Spaghetti O's

Snow Caps
Macaroni and Cheese

Food Hates now Food Loves
Sweet Potatoes
Cream cheese

Keeping My Fork

Whenever at a dinner party or church function the person always cleaning the table says, " you can keep your fork," signifying that something is coming, the sweetness of life. No matter how bad life can get or how down you feel, one must always keep their fork. You never know what could be coming next.

Hope does not prevent me from expecting the worst because the worst is what the hopeful are prepared for.

In any arena where you are concerned about failure, the single most destructive thing you can do is nothing. One single step of action can be extremely powerful in robbing failure of it's power.

This is your life, you cannot get out of it, so get into it.

I do not know those of you reading this, do not know where you are, what you are feeling but I want to let you know, never throw your fork away!

Thank you so much to John Ortberg, author of If you want to walk on water then have to get out of the boat.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Food Raves

If you ever get the chance to eat at Seasons 52, I suggest you not pass it up. It is a restaurant that prides itself on using fresh ingredients to make perfect portion sizes. Every entree or item on the menu is less than 500 calories. A big sell item on the menu is that flat bread appetizer with seasonal flavors. I got the plum tomato and mozzarella cheese that was the perfect blend of every ingredient while also being very light and fluffy. For my entree I tried the veggie plate that contained many different veggies in small portion sizes of about 3 bites each that included: roasted red pepper topped with cranberry wheat tabbouleh, squash, carrots, broccoli, tofu with caramelized onions, grilled corn, and grilled tomatoes. My grandmother got the pork tenderloin with polenta that I also sampled and it was delicious. To go along with the theme of perfect portions, Season's 52 is also known for their shot class desserts that all contain less than 300 calories each. My Rocky Road and Tiramisu were the perfect amount of sweetness to end my meal.

My next meal adventure for my taste buds took place at a small French cafe near where I live in Roswell, GA. Roswell Pastis has the feel of a French country style as it is tucked away in the quaint shops of historic Roswell, GA. The small but adequate menu selections are sure to satisfy your European taste buds without the jet lag. I highly recommend the pizza di jour, a pizza of the day that is a perfect blend of light toppings and cheese with a personal size portion. My pizza was topped with roasted red peppers, olives, and goat cheese. The salmon sandwich with homemade crisp and rustic potato chips is a great sandwich for lunch.

On another food note, the above food porn picture is a favorite pre-workout breakfast of mine. Today I enjoyed a honey wheat bagel topped with my chocolate pumpkin puree, banana dipped in peanut butter, COFFEE!! As you noticed the peanut butter is in a tablespoon measurement. Don't be afraid to measure out portions. It is a great way to indulge yourself but keep your portions in check.

I had a great workout today that began with a easy 4 mile run on the treadmill at my local gym then went to a spin class with a new instructor. My spin class was amazing because she gave so many tips about proper positioning and relaxation while riding. I able to visualize my ride and enjoy the class so much more.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Weird Food Combinations

Everyone is different, especially their taste buds. After coming across a few discussions in other blogs about this topic, I decided to pay a little tribute to the many different food taste combinations and quirks.

Strange Food Combinations
  • carrots and cucumbers dipped in mustard
  • ketchup over my pancakes
  • coleslaw on a hot dog
    string cheese inside hot chocolate
  • toasted english muffin with butter, corn syrup, and cottage cheese on top
  • pickles dipped in ketchup
  • graham crackers dipped in orange juice
  • hot peas in cold applesauce
  • cayenne and pineapple
  • jelly & egg sandwiches
  • ketchup & mac & cheese
  • ketchup on mashed potatoes
  • egg whites and yellow rice for breakfast
  • french fries dipped in their chocolate shake
  • pb & banana sandwiches dipped in chili.
  • spaghetti sandwiches
  • sharp cheddar, chocolate, and dates together
My personal food tastes are: cottage cheese with oatmeal, ketchup over eggs, carrots dipped in mustard, cottage cheese topped with pepper, potato chips in peanut butter and jelly sandwich, peanut butter and pumpkin sandwich.

My Food Quirks - not weird, but are in my routine of how I prefer to eat certain food items
  • Pulling all the toppings off a pizza, eating them separately, then eating the crust
  • Pie crust is my favorite so I always eat the filling first then eat the crust last
  • I do not like to have my food touch, each item is clearly separated from one another
  • My sandwiches are cut on a horizontal line, not diagonal
  • I pull my sandwiches apart piece by piece to eat them
  • Cupcakes bottom must always be eaten before cupcake top

Work Day

Today is a 12-hour shift at the hospital for me and to be honest, I am not looking forward to it. The past couple of sleepless nights have made me tired and drained. Breakfast seems to always perk me up in the morning even when I am getting up at 4:30am.

Healthy Tip: most of you have heard that, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Well, it really is because it can set the foundation for your energy level and food intake for the rest of the day. I know that when I eat a solid breakfast of carbs, protein, and moderate amount of fat then I am set to go for a few hours. But when my breakfast choice was not substantial enough then I find myself raiding my pantry soon after, especially if I have done a workout. Many people who are in a rush in the morning tend to skip breakfast but then chow down and over eat on a big meal later. Better to spread those calories out through the day to keep your energy level of and hunger subsided. My trick is to eat about every three hours, depending on the meal/snack size it may be two or four hours. This trick can "trick" you mind into thinking it is taking in more calories and keep your hunger at bay.

Quick Morning meals:
  • cereal topped with low-fat yogurt and fruit
  • energy bar, piece of fruit (my favorites are Cliff, Luna, Z-bars)
  • toast with peanut butter, piece of fruit

Have a nice day everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today I had my annual check-up with the doctor, which was so much fun. Note to self: Don't let your iron levels get that low ever again. I have known for a while that my iron levels were on the low side, nothing scary but low enough that I cannot give blood. Low iron levels have been seen in many marathon runners which is what I attributed mine to as well since I do have a high weekly mileage, an average of 35 mpw. I attempted to combat this problem by changing my diet and eating more iron-fortified foods such as cereals and more red meat. Apparently that was not enough, my iron level has drop again so I must now begin taking a supplement twice a day along with my multi-vitamin.

Anemia- Iron deficiency

Anemia is a condition where red blood cells are not providing adequate oxygen to body tissues. Iron deficiency anemia is a decrease in the number of red cells in the blood caused by too little iron. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment in the blood. Without it, the blood cannot carry oxygen effectively -- and oxygen is needed for the normal functioning of every cell in the body. Approximately 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men are iron deficient.

High-risk groups include:
Women of child-bearing age who have blood loss through menstruation
Pregnant or lactating women who have an increased requirement for iron
Infants, children, and adolescents in rapid growth phases
People with a poor dietary intake of iron

Pale skin color
Shortness of breath
Sore tongue
Brittle nails
Unusual food cravings (called
Decreased appetite (especially in children)
Headache - frontal
Blue tinge to sclerae (whites of eyes)

Oral iron supplements are available (ferrous sulfate). The best absorption of iron is on an empty stomach, but many people are unable to tolerate this and may need to take it with food. Milk and antacids may interfere with absorption of iron and should not be taken at the same time as iron supplements. Vitamin C can increase absorption and is essential in the production of hemoglobin.
Iron-rich foods include raisins, meats (liver is the highest source), fish, poultry, eggs (yolk), legumes (peas and beans), and whole grain bread.

Information is courtesy of Medline Plus, a service of the National Institute of Health

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quotes of the Day

"The cave is where you meet God, He will be the light in your darkness, doing His best work in you and then leading you out of the cave to show you the great things He has done." -- personal insight of mine as I was reading a book by John Ortberg, If You Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat.

"Strength, hard work, and determination are beautiful. Not rib cages and hip bones." -- Lemonbrella, member of Runners World Discussion Board

I had a great workout today, 6 miles on the treadmill then 40 minutes on the elliptical to cross-train. I wanted to run outside but the on/off rain kept me inside another day. Tuesday is my next day off and a long run at my favorite park is on my mind. But, 70% chance of rain may change that plan.

Healthy Tip: variety in your workouts is a great way to increase your fitness level. After a period of doing the same thing over and over, your body is going to recognize and adapt to that skill. Interchange a few workouts each week to keep your muscles in a guessing game, making them adapt to new routines. Variety in your workouts will also keep you guessing. Don't allow yourself to get bored, challenge yourself to help spark your interest.

Current Food Obsessions

Healthy Diet/Eating tip: Never make any food off limits. Trust me, the second you make it off limits, the more you want it. Eat what you crave just watch your portions. Two forbidden foods to those looking to shed pounds are peanut butter and ice cream. I know because I made these foods off limits in my 100lbs weight loss journey. It took me a long time to allow certain foods, such as these back into my diet. Since I began my obsessions with anything Edy's Ice Cream or peanut butter, guess what..... I have not gained a pound, in fact, they helped me to lose my last 10 pounds and gain some more energy to do the things I love. Simple body physics, you body needs fat to burn fat. So Enjoy!

New Desk

My new desk area that I have wanted since I moved to Atlanta. I miss having a desk, I guess that is the nerd in me. Just a little motivation to begin my studies for the GRE and then graduate school. The dining room picture is of the bookcase the was located in my new "office" area. The kitchen shot is to show off my new handing apron, a new decorating idea I have seen a lot lately. I love seeing my diploma over my desk because it is a remember of all the hard work I have put in to get where I am today.

Yummy Snack

I have always felt that creativity was not one of the spiritual gifts that God gave me but I seem to be getting more daring with my food creations.

Healthy Tip: oatmeal is a great food because it's cheap, low in sodium, full of fiber=fuller longer, and the combinations of mix-ins are endless.

Fave Mix-ins are pumpkin, almonds, coco, and any Kashi cereal.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Blog Direction

So after 2 months of no posting I have decided to take this blog into some sort of direction. A direction that I am sending my entire life. A course of action with a purpose of being the healthiest and happiest person I can be. I have been viewing a lot of other blogs for some inspiration. Will see how this goes but it's basically going to be about me, my life, the ups/downs, good/bad that God sends my way as He transforms me continually in accordance with His good, pleasing, perfect will.

I have notice on many other blogs an interest in posting different pictures of current meals or food obessions (The pic above was a post run meal of Lean Cuisine pepperoni pizza, carrots with roasted red pepper hummus, 1c. of corn/peas). I decided to join in own this passion since healthy eating and exercise have become such a huge part of my life . As it would have to be since I have held my 100lb weight loss for 2 years now. WOW! See Above.
Posts of the future will include more foodie pictures, healthy eating and dieting tips, workout session results. Now I am off for a reading session in bed before lights outs. Currently reading James Patterson, whom I have taken a liking too. By the way for visitors of the site, I am a early to bed/riser that comes from bad sleeping genes and being a nurse. Oh how I love the sound of my alarm at 5am. So here goes nothing!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

“The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals.”-Hal Higdon

Found this quote on a fellow runner's site, thanks Run Like the Wind.

Summer Art Project

Hello Everyone! I decided to begin my first post on my new blog with some pictures of my first art project attempt. The month of June is turning into the month of "firsts." I am sure there will be more to come. All of a sudden I have developed a desire to paint, especially outside on my patio, where this lovely project took place. And, why not? There is such beautiful sunny weather in the great city of Atlanta. Today I seem to have a lot of time on my hands since the hospital called me off from work today. Not really a bad thing but not a good thing either. Though my services were not needed because of a low patient census, my bank account is saying, "Meghan needs to work!"