Monday, February 14, 2011


Who needs a Valentine when you have awesome parents like mine??

I had a pretty good day, although it was just like any other day. I got up and did some Carl Sandburg Stretches. I'm gonna try to make it a point to do those every morning. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to do them and I can do them the second I get out of bed. I went into work for a while, but I've had to cut back my hours recently, because I don't have enough money in my support account. (The ups and downs of life as a missionary). I'm hoping I'll still have enough money to pay all my bills this month. :/

After work, I was able to relax some before joining my mom at the gym for a fitness class. Parts of it were easy, but some of the other stuff, mainly the cardio, truly kicked my butt. I have a lot of work to do with my cardiovascular endurance. As far as my fitness level, that's the area where I'm weakest. But I'm gonna keep pushing myself so that I can improve that.

Then I stopped by Mom+Dad's house after the workout and my parents gave me my Valentine's Day present:

I've been wanting these books for a while now and I told Mom about them, so she ordered them for me. :) The Better World books are awesome because they grade certain companies about five different areas: environmental sustainability, human rights, community involvement, animal protection, social justice. It helps me decide where to eat, where to shop and what products to buy. Since my job is about bringing an end to human trafficking, it's important for me to be committed to buying from responsible companies.

For dinner tonight, I made Mama Pea's Lemon Chickpeas + Farro, but I substituted rice for the farro. It was pretty good. And I have leftovers that I plan on putting in a pita for lunch sometime this week. And I made some chipotle hummus for veggies this week. So, I think I'm set for lunches. Sometimes I have difficulty coming up with healthy lunches to take with me to work, but it helps when I have versatile leftovers or some fresh veggies to enjoy.

I promise I'll have some more interesting posts coming up soon! The social life vs. sleep post will appear this week sometime. It's gonna be really important, for me, so I'll need lots of feedback.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I ate awesome pizza.

Seriously, it was amazing. The fam and I went to Jockamo Pizza tonight after church (I visited my parents' church for a special sermon series). It was CRAZY busy and our order got lost a couple times. :/ But the waiting was all worth it because that pizza was SO good! I ordered a 10" cheeseless pizza with mushrooms and pineapple (my fave combo). Mmmmm... I took half of it home with me. Here's the beauty:

They just opened this place in Greenwood, so I'm looking forward to visiting again. Just maybe not on a Saturday night at 8pm...

We did our Whole Foods run this morning, along with some other stops at Trader Joe's, Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company and the Apple Store. (And Chipotle for lunch!) Mom bought a ton of produce so that we can make some juice this week, so as soon as we got back to her house, I got to work making Green Juice. We didn't have a green apple, so we substituted red. And I forgot to remind Mom to get ginger at the store, so we didn't have that in it.

It was pretty decent. I like the grapefruit blend we first tried a bit better, but I think I'd have to get used to vegetable juice. It tasted a bit like drinking a salad, which I didn't have a problem with. The kale had a really strong flavor and I used a whole lemon. And I think the ginger would have given it a different flavor. But overall, it was pretty yummy.
Whenever I thought of juicing before, I never really thought of the leftovers. But it's definitely something to consider, seeing as how it takes a bit of effort to clean them up...

Hahaha. That's all the pulp that's leftover when you're done juicing. Thankfully it's mostly dry, but it's still funny. It'll be nice when the snow melts and I can just go throw it out on the compost pile. (It's all the way in the back of my parents' yard and there was still about a foot of snow covering the yard when I juiced today.)

Tomorrow is my day to relax. And go get the groceries that I left in Mom's refrigerator...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just a little bit.

So, I started my day intending to take pictures of all the food I ate and give a run-down of my meals. But that only worked for two of them. I was so hungry at lunch that I dug right in and forgot to snap a pic! But I had Panera again. I decided to treat myself to Garden Veggie Soup (no pesto) in a bread bowl, since it was Friday and I've had such a stressful week.

But here's how I started my day:

I got up early before work to go to the gym--a first for me! I woke up at 7am, got my gym clothes on, and ate this rice cake+PB so that I could have some work-out fuel! I got to the gym at about 7:30, and I thought that would be a great time, since most of the early morning exercisers would be headed to work by then! WRONG! The parking lot wasn't crazy full, but when I got upstairs to the weight room, all of the ellipticals, treadmills, and bikes were full! There weren't many people there, but they all seemed to be on the same machines I wanted to use. So I went out next to the track and did some Carl Sandburg stretches. (Mentioned in The Engine 2 Diet) These felt great and killed a little bit of time, but when I was done, only one machine had freed up and that was the treadmill: my LEAST favorite.

I sucked it up and walked/ran on it anyway. I did a shorter time though, because my knees were killing me. But I still got my heart rate up into the target zone, so I made good progress, I'd say. Planning to do yoga in the morning before our Whole Foods trip. :)

I also had to hurry up a bit because I needed to get into the office by 9am. That didn't happen. After breakfast and getting ready, I came in at 9:30am. I'm lucky to have a job with flexible hours like that! Breakfast was a bowl of yummy Kashi cereal.

This Go Lean Crunch! is amazing. It has a great sweetness to it. I had mine with coconut milk. (I also recommend the Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble. Mmmm...) I generally prefer almond milk on my cereal, but I'm out. I need to pick up more from the store tomorrow. I plan to make smoothies this week!! (Like always...)

Mom and I had a juicing adventure tonight. :) She was able to borrow a juicer from a guy at work, so we're gonna buy some produce at the store and experiment with juices this week, to see if we want to invest in buying one. We went ahead and used some produce that she already had on hand. (She's always overflowing with yummy produce.) We tried a grapefruit/apple/carrot/celery blend. I really liked it, Mom thought it was pretty good (she thought we should have only used half the grapefruit) and Dad was disgusted. haha. He's not a huge fan of grapefruit and isn't actually allowed to have it because of one of his prescriptions. (One sip of the juice wouldn't harm anything, though.)

I'm really excited to see what other concoctions we'll come up with! We didn't take any pictures--we were too enthralled with the new toy!! (Plus Mom was too embarrassed by her kitchen--has she seen mine???) But we'll get some pics up this week. I also have a few more posts planned out. Hopefully I can get some grocery pics tomorrow and I'm contemplating a picture-less post about sleep vs. social life that I've been struggling with lately. I'll keep you "posted" on those!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working Out.

Just another short post tonight. I haven't had a lot of time the last couple days to write anything really extensive that includes pictures. I'll try to do better this weekend.

The last two days I have had AMAZING workouts. I decided that I wanted to go to the gym and work out at least five days a week. (My gym is only open six days a week). And I needed to start doing some serious cardio. Usually I just do strength/toning exercises or every once in a blue moon, I'll do yoga. But I've been realizing lately that cardio is so important and if I'm going to be in shape, I have to make it a priority. I can't get out of breath every time I climb a flight of stairs.

So, yesterday, I worked on the elliptical for 25 minutes. (I would have done thirty, but it took forever to figure out the buttons.) I like the elliptical better than the treadmill, because I've never really been a runner, but I like the gliding effect of the elliptical. I also have some knee issues, so it's much easier on my knees.

Then, today, I did all of my weight exercises, but I did two sets. I used to do two sets and then I was six for a few weeks around the holidays. Since I've been back working out, I've been slacking and only doing one set or even just part of a set. I realized that if I'm actually going to make an impact and get in shape and tone up the way that I want to, I need to push myself to do better. So what if I it's hard? I just gotta do it!! I do a combination of machines and free weights. Here's the break-down:
- Leg Extension Machine (Quadriceps--front of thigh)
- Seated Leg Curl Machine (Hamstrings--back of thigh)
- Leg Press Machine (Quads/Hams/Glutes--butt)
- Abdominal Machine (Abs--stomach)
- Hip Abduction/Adduction Machine (Don't know the exact names of the muscles, but it works your outer and inner thigh)
- Bicep Curls w/ Free Weights (Biceps--top part of upper arm)
- Hammer Curls w/ FW (Biceps)
- Side Bends w/ FW (Obliques--side of torso)
- Forward Bends w/ FW (Back muscles--basically, love handles)
- Dumbbell Row (Triceps--bottom part of upper arm)
- Shoulder Press (Deltoids/Trapezius--shoulders)

Not a perfect workout, but I'll work on those for awhile before I start some more difficult stuff. I know that I definitely need to add in more ab work, since that's one of my biggest problem areas, but I'll get there. One step at a time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soda is Addicting.

Someone posted this article on Facebook today and I must admit, it helped me think twice about drinking soda.

I've given up a lot of vices recently: meat, cheese, eggs, COFFEE. But one I haven't been able to totally let go of is soda. I definitely drink it much less and I never buy it in bulk and keep it in my fridge. It's usually just one when I'm at work or with a meal at Qdoba.

But I should really stop drinking soda. It is quite icky. Especially with all the HFCS used. And don't listen to those dumb corn commercials. Meaningless propaganda meant to brainwash Americans who refuse to do the proper research. High-fructose corn syrup really is bad for you. And it's even worse for the environment. The corn companies use GMOs and toxic chemicals and are basically giving you sweet-tasting chemicals instead of real live plant substances in your food. HFCS is sick (and totally makes me feel sick.)

Hope you have fun reading the article. Interesting, to be sure.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Lots of yummy vegan deliciousness today. I overslept this morning, so my first meal was lunch at Panera with the family. I had a Greek salad.

Mom had a cup of black bean soup and a Mediterranean veggie sandwich.

Dad had an Italian combo sandwich and Stephen had mac+cheese and Sierra turkey sandwich. I didn't get pics of theirs, 'cause they dug in pretty quickly.

Then, we decided to get together for the Super Bowl. Really, it's just an excuse to hang out and have lots of delicious food, otherwise known as pretty much every Sunday. I decided to make veggie chili for Mom and I. (I also brought over some white bean chipotle hummus, cranberry nut bread and chocolate chip cookies--all homemade!)

Vegan Chili
**All of these ingredient measurements are approximations. Adjust to your taste.
1-2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or other high-heat oil (i.e., NOT olive oil)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cans of beans (I used two cans cannellini beans and one can of black beans.)
1/2-3/4 c. chopped peppers
1 small zucchini
24 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2-1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Chop onion, then peppers. (I used seven sweet mini peppers.)

Sautee until onions are translucent and peppers are tender. Then chop zucchini and add to pot.

I love all these colors.

Drain and rinse beans with cold water.

Add them to the pot and stir.

Next, add the spices and diced tomatoes.

These are local tomatoes that my mom gets from her biweekly Green BEAN delivery.

Finally, add the can of tomato sauce. [Mom didn't have any tomato sauce, so I had to use water to thin it out. Not terrible, but I could definitely taste the difference.]

My SUPER BOWL of vegan chili. I added vegan sour cream and several shakes of Frank's RedHot for some extra heat. [I love for my chili to burn my lips.]

Chili is one of my favorite foods, especially during really cold winter days. How spicy do you like *your* chili?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Perfect Smoothie

The last couple of smoothies I've made have been utterly fabulous. Super thick, super yummy and 100% vegan.

Emilee's Perfect Smoothie
1 frozen banana
2 c. frozen fruit of your choice (this one was strawberry/pineapple)
1/2 c. orange juice or frozen orange juice concentrate
1 c. almond milk

Blend for a few minutes in the blender until smooth.

*Cut up bananas into four pieces and place on a baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze for a few hours, then transfer to a freezer bag. That way, you'll always have frozen bananas at the ready. (They really make a difference.) Just drop four pieces into the blender.
*Experiment with different flavors of fruit. You can use all one kind or two or three different kinds. Try strawberry/blueberry, pineapple/orange or a triple berry combination.
*Frozen orange juice concentrate works best, but if you don't have it on hand, regular orange juice will work as well. It will make it a little more liquid. If you want it just as thick, use only 1/2 c. of milk.
*I used to always use coconut milk in my smoothies, but almond milk just seems to taste better. Plus, it gives the smoothie a bit more protein.
*You may need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, depending on how hardcore your blender is. It gets pretty thick, so you may need to stir it a little bit too.
*This is enough for two servings or one really big serving, which is how I usually do it.