Sunday, October 19, 2014

five on sunday

2014-10-19 09.05.41 1
Posting on friday didn't work out this week (obviously ;) but I just had to share 5 articles I saved as favorites this week.

1. My sister Jasmine sent this article to me earlier this week:.NPR's Why Saying Is Believing- The Science Of Self-Talk. I believe that "the words you say to yourself could change the way you see yourself." I'm practicing talking to myself as though I was talking to a friend. I'm always very nice and patient towards a friend, but impatient and critical towards myself. Gotta stop that.

2. I'm the only one in my family that likes sweet potatoes. Sigh. I'm determined to try these twice-baked oatmeal-stuffed sweet potatoes for breakfast when there's less little people and husbands to make faces at me. Kate Bratskeir shared a list of various stuffed potatoes for her article on Huffpost: You Can Stuff Just About Anything Inside A Sweet Potato. And You Should.

3. I discovered the site ZenHabits by Leo Babauta this week. I'm all for "clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness."

4. My gym experience has been painful lately because it's too busy. The one I was going to closed and sold my membership to another gym a few months ago. Um. Thanks? This new gym is nice, but always packed. I think it's time to switch. The article (especially the flowchart!) by Ashley Oerman for Women's Health The Definitive Way to Tell If You Should ACTUALLY Join That Gym is helpful as I search for a new gym.

5. I believe wholeheartedly in buying second hand for your house (actually, in general). I admit that it can be overwhelming though. Sarah von Bargen from Yes and Yes shared How To Fill Your Home With Cheap, Beautiful, Interesting Things From Thrift Stores (Without Becoming A Hoarder).

I'm off to picnic at Oak Glen to celebrate Adeline's 5th birthday today. I'll eat an apple pastry for you.

Glad you stopped by! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

52 sandwiches: considering construction

I read an enlightening article this week: NPR's Friction Can Save Your Sandwich, And Other Tips For Better Bites. The guest was Dan Pashman, host of the podcast The Sporkful (immediately added it to my favorite stations on Stitcher) and the author of the new book Eat More Better: How to Make Every Bite More Delicious. Dan Pashman describes himself as an "eater," whose mission is to eat "more better" and more deliciously. He says every bite is a precious resource and we only have so many in a lifetime. He also discussed something that is near and dear to my heart: sandwiches.

He discussed the travesty of the poorly constructed sandwich. A poorly constructed sandwich runs the risk of having ingredients- especially slippery ingredients- fall out of the middle. He describes this as the "sliced cucumber conundrum." He suggests slicing slippery ingredients like cucumbers and tomatoes thinly to remedy this conundrum. In addition to layering them evenly, adding a friction layer of greens also makes for better construction. (Noted!)

He also discussed the significance of the bread that's chosen for any given sandwich. He says that crusty bread may hinder good eating because the amount of force that you have to apply to break through the bread could cause the rest of the ingredients to fall out. The solution? A softer bread. Makes sense!

After reading the article, I overanalyzed the sandwiches I've made for my 52 sandwiches project. I agree with Pashman that slippery vegetables can cause construction problems like avocados, tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, though delicious, are troublesome), cucumbers, onion. Along with a the crusty bread issue, I add dense bread (like a low quality French bread) and crumbly bread.

There are a variety of factors to consider when making a good sandwich. (I'm sure he discusses this at length in his book, which I intend to read). I've looked over the sandwiches I've made, and have come up with a list of the best ones as far as construction (because they're all pretty tasty. My top 10 favorites are here though if you're curious).

Grilled cheese sandwiches offer sound construction. The cheese acts like a glue- binding all of the ingredients together making it easy to eat. Here are a few I have made:
52 sandwiches: considering construction
#18: guacamole grilled cheese
#39: lasagna grilled cheese
#40: pepper jack grilled cheese
#46: buffalo chicken grilled cheese on jalapeño cheddar bread

As far as good bread, crusty bread and dense breads often compete and overpower the ingredients inside. Sometimes you want the bread to be the star of the show- like with this cheddar jalapeno bread (my favorite). More often, however, I want to predominantly taste the ingredients inside. I find the breads in these sandwiches to be the best:
52 sandwiches: considering construction #9: egg sandwich on a plain bagel
#10: tomato & mozzarella in a whole wheat pita pocket
#15: jalapeño popper, bacon grilled cheese on whole wheat sandwich thins
#32: chicken + cheddar flatbread

As far as the meat (or protein component) in a sandwich, I like deli meats best because they're soft. Though I like bacon, I advise not leaving it whole, but rather adding it crumbled. It's easier to eat and gets distributed evenly. There's a savory flavor with every bite. Here are some of the sandwiches I consider to be the best:
52 sandwiches: considering construction
#6: apricot, turkey, & cheese
#13: classic pastrami sandwich
#26: philly cheesesteak
#31: smoked chicken panini

Because we're discussing even distribution, salads are a good option for that. You're sure to get every ingredient in every bite. Here are a few good recipes to consider:
52 sandwiches: considering construction
#8: Ina Garten's chicken salad sandwich
#27: stuffed mushroom
#28: turkey salad | cheese & jalapeño sub
#48: tuna salad

Consider adding tasty condiments to your sandwiches. They spread thinly and evenly and intensify the flavor. These are a few of my favorites:
52 sandwiches: considering construction
#4: pesto melt
#6: apricot, turkey, & cheese
#11: buffalo chicken
#22: salsa verde burgers

Like Pachman said, maybe some consider this to be trivial, but eating is a simple pleasure in life. He said a person could be having a bad day, but one or two good meals make a good day out of a bad day. I agree!

** I am attempting to make 52 sandwiches. Read more about how this project got started here. See all the sandwiches I've made so far here.**

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

currently in october

Jasmine's scarf collection / organization idea
My sister Jasmine has a pretty scarf collection. She uses a tension rod in her closet to display them. Mine are "currently" shoved in a drawer. I'm gonna do what she does instead! Pretty and practical.

scheduling coffee dates with my friend Denise (yes to pumpkin spice lattes)
listening to podcasts every day (Andy Stanley's Your Move is my favorite)
eating tuna salad sandwiches (the one I shared the other day- Greek yogurt instead of mayo? Game changer)
rocking a fidgety Julianne :)
wrestling her to take a nap and go to bed (she usually wins)
reading Junie B. Jones books to Adeline in the morning before she goes to school (the best)
needing to go jean shopping (I love denim!)
wearing flip flops (East coast, don't hate me)
wanting to go to the library (I love it there)
needing to lose this baby weight already (geez)
planning a trip to an orchard this weekend (apple pastries- yum/ no guessing why I can't lose the baby weight)
hoping to go on a fall date soon (you hear that, Jesse? ;)
laughing every day- Evelyn won't redo her happy dance. C'mon! It was so funny.
watching Meilani walk into school at drop off nostalgically (is she really in middle school?)
missing fall before it's over (it's a thing)
realizing Christmas will be here before we know it
making my summer book (still! I know, it's almost December Daily time!)
attempting to clean my scrap crap (I'm in a what-do-I-do-with-all-this-stuff?! funk)
watching Silver Linings Playbook on repeat (So good)
dreaming of cozy evenings with my family


What are you currently up to?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks

Setbacks come with the weight loss territory. I can't expect perfect behavior from myself, but honestly, sometimes I do (unrealistically). Then, when I "fail," I feel really bad about it. To counteract that negativity in my head, I've put this list together of what I've learned from my setbacks.

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks
A few years ago, I ate too much. (Well, I ate too much last night, but I'm talking about that time a few years ago. ;) To burn some of the excess calories I had consumed, I decided to attend the Zumba class by my house after having seen a flyer. It became my favorite class. It's still my favorite class! I discovered my favorite class after a setback.

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks
I'm committed to being a healthier person. Though I feel bad about setbacks for a while, I eventually get passed them. I'm dedicated to this and that's something to be proud of.

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks
I've injured myself when exercising. Boo. I've also gotten sick. Double boo. Though it's a bummer to have to rest, I've learned that not resting could make the injury feel worst or if I'm sick, make me feel worst in general. What am I- invincible? ;)

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks
This is reassuring. I'm not the only one who has had a bad moment (or a bad day/ or a bad week!). I have a tendency to forget that others have setbacks though, so . . .

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks
It reminds me that they have setbacks (see above). It's nice to have the camaraderie. And sometimes they come up with solutions or words of encouragement to help me overcome particular setbacks. And hopefully, I help them somehow, too.

my weight loss toolbox: what I've learned from my setbacks
I've learned that it's good to do this because sometimes I'm being unrealistic and need to reevaluate my current goals. I can expect to have plenty of "setbacks" if I'm setting myself up for them; if I'm not ready for the change I've made, I'm bound to be discouraged when I "fail." My goals need to be achievable and realistic.

What have you learned from your setbacks?

Related: 10 weight loss tips

(Want to know more about My Weight Loss Toolbox? Start here, and continue here).

Monday, October 13, 2014

a pretty, birthday brunch

My sister Jasmine hosted a birthday brunch for her husband (my brother in law) Oscar. She made a variety of breakfast foods- pancakes, scrambled eggs, links, turkey bacon, hashbrowns, orange slices, grapes, peaches, and strawberries.
birthday brunch
When I got there, I said, "Jasmine! These flowers are beautiful. Where'd they come from?" I thought maybe my dad had arranged them. He used to be a florist, you may remember. She said, "I bought them! Oscar said, 'This is the first time I've ever received flowers on my birthday.'" He said, "They're my favorite kind, too." Ha!

Jasmine made a doughnut cake. I LOVE this idea. I'm ready to make another doughnut cake for the next birthday celebration. ;)
birthday brunch
At the party, I started taking pictures and said, "I'm gonna blog about this!" Jesse (my husband) said, "People are going to say, 'That's a very pretty party for your brother in law.'" lol
birthday brunch
Though- doesn't he know the equation by now?? Really good food=man party. Really good food+flowers/other decorations=man party hosted by wife who takes pictures. ;)

See other parties I've hosted (or attended!) here.