Changes are coming

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I’ve decided to bring some small changes to Healthy and Sane. Read on if you want more details :)

Obviously my career is pretty demanding and blogging is a time consuming hobby. The last few weeks I tried my hardest to keep up with both. I took charge of my diet and my exercise routine – I made both an important part of my life without underestimating the amount of time and dedication these require and the limitations I had to work with. I still took pictures of most of my food and I didn’t want to disappear from here, so I posted daily highlights in the hopes that once things slowed down, you’d still be here. I’m glad you stayed (I know I lost some readers, but that’s ok. Quality vs. quantity, right? ;) ). I handed in my work, I left for 4 days to Maine, and I was ready to do all of this all over again. But something was missing; something didn’t feel quite right. Work was going to get busy again – was this really the right way forward? On the car ride home, I was reading this magazine article about relieving stress every day. About ways to bring “vacation” to your every day life, not just on a pre-planned getaway. Ha!

This is a tough one for many of us. There seems to be not enough hours in the day for work and play. How do you balance the two? This is a complex subject (maybe material for another post?) but let me share my take away after a few hours of brainstorming. I need to work (duh), I need to find time to workout (to keep myself sane!) and the rest I’ll just have to be a little more flexible with. My passions remain unchanged. I love eating and cooking; I love learning, talking and writing about sustainable food; I love supporting the industry (that means voting with my money at farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants) and this blog is my platform for sharing these passions. BUT, there is not enough time to do all of these every day, the way I want them done. At times I’ve been feeling like I set myself up for failure with a mile-long to-do list. What if I just chose one of these to concentrate on every day? What if I lived my life a little more intuitively? So we finally get to the punch line here. I will no longer blog on a daily basis. I will continue to blog but it will not be in the same format. My goal is to have more “themed” posts vs. journal style ones. You will see highlights of my meals but not necessarily in the order I ate them. I hope that this will provide for better quality content (again, quality vs. quantity – that’s my moto) and give me the opportunity to get creative here in a different way. My goal is for this blog to continue being inspiring, informative and most importantly delicious. :grin: Don’t worry, I won’t hold out the juicy details of my life from you. Ha, here I go again, cracking myself up. The “juiciest” thing that happened today was…..um, I’ve got nothing. :shock:

I will leave you here with my favorite meal from today (yes, I still cook even when I don’t plan on taking pictures of every single bite!) – Ellie Krieger’s chicken with warm tomato-corn salad (recipe here). It was last week’s CEiMB recipe and it was amazing. I left out the scallions and cilantro but added some cayenne pepper which really added a nice warm spiciness to the dish (it wasn’t super hot, just warmed your throat a bit and brought all the ingredients together). Adam and I were practically licking the pan clean (it took a lot of will power not to split the 4 servings between the 2 of us and just call it dinner). I highly recommend it while sweet corn is in season!

So I hope this little change is cool with all of you. I feel good about it. I already have some ideas I hope to execute on soon. :cool:

And now a question for you – what would you want to see more of on Healthy and Sane. Why do you keep coming back here? Also if you have a blog, how do you balance work and blogging? Do you ever feel like some parts of your life suffer because you try to do everything at once?

Food, farms and more food in 100 pictures

Once again, I wanted to start this post by thanking you all (that are still reading!!) for being patient with me. As you know, the last few weeks have been crazy busy and luckily – this weekend was the exact opposite! Adam is starting a new job tomorrow (his last day was Friday – same day as I handed in my work!) and we decided to take off for the weekend and completely unplug… in Maine. If you were following this blog a few months ago, you may remember our last super relaxing trip there. I knew this would be the perfect getaway this time around as well. I’m happy to report that our “batteries” are recharged and we are ready to face this work week. Good thing we only have 3 days left. ;)

By looking through 260+ pictures I took, it looks like this weekend was as crazy busy as ever. But I can assure you – we definitely spent a few hours just sitting on the porch, soaking in the sunshine and catching up on books that have been gathering some dust over the past few weeks. And of course, we also ate well. Very well. Thank you, Jane and Jim, for being such great hosts! (I also cooked one breakfast and one dinner – cooking is what I love!). So how about a recap? Ready?….

We like breaking up trips that are over 2 hours with fun stops. This weekend was my first time in Potsmouth, NH where I finally got to taste the famous Flatbread flatbreads. :)

This adorable drawing pretty much says it all :) My choice of the carne special – pepperoncini oil, organic garlic yogurt marinated chicken, baby spinach, whole milk mozzarella, kalamatta olives, feta cheese, artichokes hearts and herbs was a very good choice. I can’t see it on my camera so here is Adam’s pepperoni + mushroom flatbread (also awesome!).

The place itself is also adorable, very fitting for a super cute town. I want to go back to Portsmouth asap!

The real eating commenced upon our arrival in Maine though…

HEALTHY HOME COOKED MEALS (over 4 days, in no particular order)

Ellie Krieger’s tricolore penne pasta with chicken (recipe here)

Stuffed peppers with eggplant (and parmesan cheese) – recipe here. I had no idea these were somewhat healthy. I limited myself to just one. I may need to recreate them soon to make up for lost time. haha :)

Dark chocolate bark with walnut and dried cherries (and crystallized ginger) – recipe here. I ate my weight in these. Addictive is an understatement.

Broccoli-cheese (and sausage) breakfast casserole – recipe here

Chobani with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mango

Chobani with wild Maine blueberries, fresh mango, Kashi GoLean crunch cereal + mixed nuts

+ some blackberries Adam freshly picked on the side of the road while I was eating breakfast :)

Breakfast casserole with mushrooms and asparagus (recipe here, I added more cheese, more veggies than the recipe called for + some fresh lemon juice)

Blueberry tea cake (Adam’s mom has been making it for years… from this recipe?)

Apricot-walnut cereal bars (recipe here, the recipe yields a lot more than 10 servings and they are very delicious!!)

Zucchini rice casserole (recipe here, we subbed broccolini for zucchini and corn – this tasted like sinfully creamy risotto – SO good yet healthy, although apparently time consuming. Thanks for making this, Jane!!)

On Monday night I offered to cook dinner (although it ended up being a whole family effort after all). What’s more Maine than lobster? Adam and I decided that we must eat it every time we come. At $4/lb, fresh out of the water, it doesn’t get much better than this!!

Adam’s dad steamed the lobsters…

I made the lima bean/corn/grape tomato and bacon succotash (based on this recipe, I used 6 corn ears, lemon juice and of course lobster!!)

Mmm, so summery… and so Maine :D

We bought 5 lobsters – Adam took the meat out of the last one and shared it with all of us. Good job, honey! ;) Adam’s mom made this lovely pear tart from Ellie Krieger (recipe here)

Oh yeah, we ate quite well at home! :cool:

THE NOT-SO-HEALTHY MEALS OUT

A super special dinner at Primo. We’ve been dying to go ever since seeing Anthony Bordain go there. Vegetables served in the restaurant are home grown in their extensive gardens and meats, seafood and cheese are mostly local (we spotted some Italian cheeses – who can blame them?!).

The atmosphere was very cozy (read dark soft lighting) so my pictures would not do the food and presentation justice. Here is my favorite serving platter at the charcuterie bar.

The charcuterie board with homemade sausages was my favorite! Adam and I shared it as a starter and it set the right tone for what was to come – more delicious eats! :) This molten chocolate cake did not dissapoint either. Yes, I know – predictable… but I couldn’t help myself! :mrgreen:

Pretty much the exact opposite of Primo was a plate of fried clams we got at Kelly’s on the drive back. I don’t know what was up with me – I actually got this craving. Adam and I shared this plate. You know who ate the onion rings. ;)

OPEN FARM DAY

Food, as always, was kind of the main activity (well eating it at least) but the coolest part of the weekend was visiting 5 different farms all over Maine. There were dozens open for visitors this past Sunday. How lucky was I?!! These pictures should say it all…

This afternoon, before going back to Boston, we picked some wild blackberries for the road.

Slim pickings today. Does that mean we should come back in a few weeks? :lol:

The loot:

Another amazing weekend. I feel so fortunate!!

I had lots of time to destress and reevaluate my priorities. Some small changes will be coming to Healthy and Sane. Stay tuned. :mrgreen:

I feel so free

I’m done with my work, I’m done with my work, I’m done with my work!!!!! It was a long day on Wednesday (I just really wanted to crank through it) and I was done with my projects by 3pm today (Thursday). My deadline was actually Friday but I really wanted to finish it the day before, even if it meant staying in all night. I didn’t need to, though. I kicked butt and I am just beyond excited. I can enjoy Friday and then the weekend in Maine we’ve planned for for weeks (I had to cancel it last weekend but we are SO going this weekend. ;) ). This feeling is amazing. The best part is that I not only delivered it but that it was very well received. I love feeling smart. haha :cool:

Ok, so let’s start this post again by saying that I really missed you guys. Did you miss me? Thank you for sticking around with me these past few weeks (I loved reading every comment – reminded me I have a life outside of work too!). It was rough (if you couldn’t tell already) but yeah, it’s all good now. Insert happy dance here. Is there a special smiley face for that? I think the world needs one. :)

All right, silliness aside, I do have a serious question for you. But first…

BREAKFAST

2 ww waffles with Barney Butter, 2% greek yogurt and fresh blueberries

MID-MORNING SNACK

I went to the kitchen to grab some cottage cheese and dates and ran across some amazingly delicious looking brownies. So I had a brownie instead. No picture. That’s my dessert for the day :)

LUNCH

Iggy’s tomato mozzarella baguette sandwich. This is a reused photo (I originally was planning on having lunch at home but wanted to crank through work so I grabbed lunch out around 3pm. Yeah, you bet I stuffed it in my mouth as fast as humanly possible. oy)

DINNER

Late (and big) lunch = full stomach for a long time. Also = no workout and dinner almost in the dark. I kept it light…

Mixed greens, 1/4 avocado, chickpeas, rosemary almonds, shredded carrots, goat cheese and a lemon vinaigrette (dressing recipe is from The Best Light Recipe cookbook)

This salad was actually quite fantastic. Soon after I wanted something else though – enter Siggi’s orange & ginger yogurt. Can you see how thick it is?

This was my first time trying this flavor and I am a giant fan. Basically up until now vanilla was my go-to and this awesomely unique flavor is giving it a run for its money. It was decisively orangy with real ginger flakes inside. Tart, a little spicy. Delicious. Try it! :D

So here is the serious question for you. I read The New Rules of Lifting for Women upon some of your recommendations. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d learn much and I certainly did not want to start another diet. But after hearing about it several times I added it to my library queue and it came up this week. Surprisingly, I was really into it from the very first page. I LOVE lifting and haven’t done enough of it in a long time. Sure I do some lifting at bootcamp (and thankfully I’m still pretty strong) but nothing too pro-longed and nothing that’s just pure lifting. I’d say I didn’t learn much after all, but the idea of concentrating more on lifting again, really excites me. I keep thinking about starting to run again but end up canceling my workouts when they are on the schedule (something always comes up… or am I just subconsciously not into it?) but I am itching now to get to the gym to pump some iron. Workout A has my name on it. Here is my dilemma (3 dilemmas actually)…

1) I do not want to start another diet. I don’t want to count calories or protein grams. I am finally happy with trusting my body. Letting it choose (for the most part) what and how much fuel it needs (of course, don’t forget the treats!). Will this program work without their specific diet?

2) The book is VERY clear about eating a lot of protein. I would estimate it is 2 or even 2.5 times as much protein as I’ve been eating ever since incorporating more vegetarian meals into my diet and letting meat take the back seat. I am very happy with trying to focus on more protein rich foods (see a protein packed siggi’s yogurt as an example for a snack) but I’m on the fence about protein powder. It actually sounds like fun. I can think of all these ways of incorporating it… into smoothies, pancakes, my own protein bars, muffins but is it “real food?” Again, I’ve come a long way from gimmicky diet foods and learned to balance my meals “the right way.” Is protein powder cheating?

3) The book recommends maximum 3 workouts a week. Is that really enough? My instinct is to supplement (the workout don’t seem that tough, maybe I’m being silly right now. I may speak differently once I actually do them). Should I or is my brain getting in the way? Over-training is something they warn about.

Dilemmas, dilemmas. Tell me, blog friends – what are your thoughts on the subject?

PS – as mentioned we are going away for the weekend – there is no cell or internet reception at my PIL’s house so you may not hear from me again until Monday (I may be able to do a quicky post before we leave tomorrow… no promises though. I will be back for real next week). Would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Oh, it’s so good to be back. I’m freeeeeeee. :)

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