Friday, November 25, 2011

Smooth and spicy Southern breakfast

It took this New  Orleans born girl 29 years (6 of those working at a Cracker Barrel) to discover that I like grits.

And boy do I like them … with Parmesan cheese and spicy lemon shrimp ;with cheese, tomato sauce and smoked sausage; with cheese and a fried egg.

As it turns out, I also like them with cheese and a fried egg … and green chiles.

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Meet my creamy and spicy grits.

1 cup water
Generous pinch Kosher salt
1/4 cup quick cooking grits
1 Chipotle & Queso Fresco Laughing Cow wedge
2 teaspoons chopped green chiles (from a can)
1/2 slice white cheddar cheese
1 egg, cooked over medium

Bring water and salt to a boil. Add grits; lower heat. Whisk often as grits cook. Just as the grits are nearing completion, add Laughing Cow wedge. Whisk in until melted and smooth. Add chiles. Pour grits into bowl and top with cheddar cheese and egg. Serves 1.

Do you enjoy grits? Have you had enough turkey yet?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIAW: On the road again

Today is one of the biggest travel days of the year. According to AAA, 42.5 million people will be going somewhere - anywhere - for the holiday.

And you know what that means? Besides the requisite fight with your husband because he still hasn't packed or you've spent 100 minutes too many with your in-laws, of course. It means eating on the go.

Eating while traveling can be a minefield of fast food joints, eating out of boredom and gas station temptations.

Here are my best bets and tips for eating on the road.

Breakfast

People like to act like oatmeal is the greatest thing on the planet and maybe it is. For me, though, if I don't have some kind of protein, I'm a hangry beotch about 45 minutes later. The Subway egg white muffin melt is a good choice. Sure, it's not whole wheat but it is a good combination of fats, proteins and carbs. The Sunrise Subway Melt, which has bacon (and bacon makes everything better), clocks in at 210 calories. Subways also sell yogurt, which will bump up the protein and round out the meal. Oh, and don't forget the decaf.

Mid-morning snack



Tall Skinny Peppermint Mocha (100 calories) and a banana from home (105 calories)

Lunch


It can be really hard to stay on track when everyone else is eating like crap. If you really can't say no to the fries, employ one of my favorite tricks - order off the kids menu. A cheeseburger Happy Meal from McDonald's will run you 300 calories for the cheeseburger and 35 for the apples (no dip). A small order of fries is 230 calories. Not bad but I'd rather spend the calories on an ice cream cone, which has 150 worth-every-bite calories.

Afternoon snack

I always, always travel with a bag full of food. Carrots, celery sticks, fruit, granola bars and whatever else I can scrounge up. My favorites to bring are the cashew bar from Nature Valley, Z bars from Clif, 100-calorie packs of Blue Diamond wasabi soy almonds and grapes. After all, who wants to hang on to a peach pit or an apple core the whole trip?

Dinner


Pitching Taco Bell on the road can be a tricky thing as it can have an, umm, interesting effect on people's digestive systems. But, you can do it right. Or sort of right. Try the steak salad - fresco style - (220 calories), a fresco style chicken taco (150 calories) and an order of cinnamon twists (170 calories). Hey - a girl has got to splurge!

This might sound weird but whenever I travel, I have a list of meal options for fast food places that we might stop at. I can go in with a mission rather than being tempted by less-than-stellar options.

What are your rules for the road?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A little release

Move that body: Short run (2.something)

I'm not going to lie: Things have been a bit, umm, challenging in the Healthy Strides house. There have been tears and screaming and all out tantrums. And, I swear, it's not because Mark refused to set a $5,000 minimum on my Christmas gift.

Nope. Our little tantrum-thrower is the cute and not-so-cuddly Miles.


Part of me thinks it's teething and part of me thinks he just wants to be a jerk.

And yes, I just called my baby a jerk. You would, too, if he screamed for three days straight and you could do nothing - not even nurse him non-stop - to make him happy.

It's been very trying, to say the least, and I was trying to garner some sympathy last night when I was on the phone with my grandma. Twas a futile effort as she had seven and has been through it all. Instead, she told me to relax. She told me that God never gives us more than we can handle. And then, the kicker:

"Maybe you need to get on something."

Truth is I was already prescribed something. When Miles was a newborn, his colic-like behavior was too much for me. I spent hours curled in a ball of the upstairs hallway sobbing uncontrollably. I fantasized about running away or getting hit by a car while I went to the grocery. Every day, I wondered how I was going to survive. My OB gave me a bottle of happy pills in the form of generic Zoloft to help.

The Zoloft, though, was unable to ease the despair I felt. The medication didn't make me feel like a better mom or come with a remedy for fussiness. The low dose merely made me feel more even and kept me from snapping at Mark as often as I had been.

The thing that saved me - the thing that kept me from leaping in front of a car - was running. Shortly after receiving the Zoloft, I was able (physically) to begin running with focus. I could now make one thing in my life about me. Running took me to a place void of screaming and demands for milk. Even on the worst days, like this morning, I can strap Miles in the stroller and go for a run. It guarantees me 30 minutes of quiet as the motion lulls him to sleep. I can push the BOB at a lightning fast pace of 10:08 and work out all of my frustrations.

So when my grandma advised that I get on something, I told her I was. On a training plan.

As for the Zoloft, I keep it in the medicine cabinet in the event of an emergency but haven't taken a dose in months.

How has running or exercise helped you?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let there be light: A product review

There’s a difference between having a glowing personality and being a glowing person.

While both will garner the attention of those you meet, the former will make you lots of friends and the latter will, more than likely, guarantee you to be the talk of the town – to put it nicely. It might also guarantee that you would be visible to passing motorists on your early morning runs and less likely to be scolded by creepy, mean ladies hanging out in parked vans.

I like friends. I also like not being yelled. But none of that matters because neither my insides or outsides glow.

Good thing the folks at Road ID and Outside PR intervened, prevented any wallowing that could follow.

I was given the chance to try out some Road ID products of my choice. I mentioned that I picked up a slim Road ID, which has emergency info for both Miles and me, but I also selected two Firefly Supernova lights in green (my favorite color).

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About the lights (from the Road ID site):

This little fella packs quite a punch. Simply put, it's the brightest, lightest, most durable security light in its class. Other lights just don't compare. You won't believe how bright this safety light is. Its durable plastic clip enables you to securely attach it to your waistband, belt or even your shirt collar. Wear it whenever you go out at dark and be seen by motorists from up to a mile away.

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My thoughts:

In one word: Like.

In more words: I’m a fan.

Why?

I really do feel safer with the lights. You flip the battery one way and the light blinks. Sort of like a truck backing up – which is always awesome. Flip it the other way, and it’s a steady beam.

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(ET phone home. ET phone home.)

While I can’t guarantee that I can be seen from a mile away, it is like a strobe light in my front entry way. It’s hot. Oh, and no creepy lady sitting in a van has stopped me to tell me that I’m hard to see.

I was surprised at how comfortable the lights were to wear. I didn’t spring for a sassy wristband or belt, opting to just clip them to my jacket and waistband. I have yet to experience any chafing and I actually forget that I’m wearing them. You know, except for that green flashing reflection on the BOB.

One note: I received two lights and one of the two did not work. The battery was good but the light itself did not work. I contacted Road ID, and I was sent a new light with a self addressed stamped envelope to return the bad one. Impressive customer service. Very impressive.

Disclaimer: While I was provided with these products, the opinions (and photo of me) are completely my own.

What’s your favorite way to light up the night … or morning?