Thursday, October 1, 2009

Radical Sabbatical

After writing more than 2 posts, I was exhausted and needed a break.

Rather, I have a lot of stuff on my plate and, sorry, cute little blog, you are not on the top of the list.

I have a couple of cute little offspring who take priority, followed by a cute little husband, followed by a cute little job, followed by cute little cats (sorry I forgot to feed you for three hours, my pets).

The list goes on, but let's just say this blog ranks somewhere below "cute little daily shower" and, by the look of my toenails, "cute little self pedi."

My list of blog ideas gets longer by the day.

Lately, I've been trying to achieve more balance in my life. Some new rules include:
  1. Scheduling annual physical, dental exam
  2. Socializing with friends, dates with husband, just kid time
  3. Writing outside of work, reading at least a book a week, Sudoku  once or twice a week
  4. Structuring my time makes me feel more in control of my life.
  5. Moving my muscles every day, even if it's just a 25-minute workout
  6. Taking vacation time
Working from home, I have a tendency to let work responsibilities pour over into time with my family and let work stress affect the rest of my life. Planning my work week in advance, setting the hours based on my meetings and assignments, really lets me enjoy the time I'm not working.

I've become more productive at work, I think because I'm also writing for pleasure and setting a fairly rigid weekly work schedule.

Surprise! I learned on a Thursday night that I had vacation time, and I had to use five days of it before the following Monday or lose it. I'm off two days this week because of that!

I also learned I now accrue three weeks of vacation time a year, and I have a week of vacation leftover from last year. After three years of working extra hours to take a few days off, just the thought that I can take a vacation relaxes me.

I know my brain needs it.

That's it, little blog. I'll be back to feed you soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Brunch: The best meal of the day.

My mother and I last night decided to put together an impromptu Sunday brunch. "Just call all the girls," she tells me, my father in the background listing "the girls" who now are women.
(These are my childhood friends - my friends for life. Is he worried I might not remember who they are?)
Mom says to invite their mothers, and have them bring their tots, their bathing suits and a dish for everyone to share.
It's last-minute. Who cares if we have five fruit salads? We will eat lots of fruit.
My mother will provide beverages (Dear God, It's me, Sarah. Please let there be champagne and fresh orange juice. Sincerely yours, The Healthy Little Blogger Who Loves to Drink Before Noon.)
S'anyway, I was searching through one of my fave food blogs for brunch ideas (so I don't make more Martha Stewart cupcakes or oh-Dear-Lord-stop-me, Blueberry Boy Bait from the same blog).
I came across this recipe, which is out of season, but solves a problem I've tried to handle for several holiday seasons.
I'm bookmarking it. It almost makes me yearn for winter.

winter fruit salad | smitten kitchen

Shared via AddThis

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fudge and Furloughs

Dear Healthy Little Blog,

Sorry I've been out of touch.

First, the kids, the hubby and I got sick. Then, the kids and I got secondary infections (sinus; ear; ear, bronchitis).

Then, I got furloughed and was forced to take an impromptu vacation to the beach, where I lounged away long hours on the warm sand and was force-fed such food items as fudge, ice cream, and boardwalk fries.

Also, Martha F. Stewart's* Cupcake Cookbook has come into my life.

I have not lost an ounce.

I'm back in the game, and I promise I won't neglect you much longer. I have some yumminess to post. Promise.


The Healthy Little Blogger

* The F is silent.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taco salad, two ways

This version is the Fish Taco salad. The base is torn romaine, topped with warm black beans, sliced Belgian endive, chopped carrots and cauliflower, sliced green onion, cilantro and sliced avocado.
To cook the white fish (I used tilapia), squeeze a lime over the fish, season to taste with chili powder and cumin, and then broil for 5 or 10 minutes until the fish is opaque and flaky.

This version is closer to the taco salad most people know.

A bed of romaine lettuce, topped with warm black beans w/ sliced green onions, chopped tomato, yellow bell pepper, chopped jalapeno, chopped carrots, sliced radish, sliced avocado and a grated cheddar-Monterey Jack mix. The meat is lean ground turkey prepared with one packet of McCormick low-sodium taco seasoning.

The chips are Hanover White Corn Tortilla Chips. The nutrition information was comparable (given their size and portion size) to Baked Tostidos, and the price was much better.

Ideally, I like to make the freshest, healthiest food I can. Still, I work, parent twin toddlers and try to maintain a social life and sanity. Some days, I'd like to open a can of Spaghettios or call for a pizza, but I try not to buckle.

Reinventing old fuddy-duddy family-style recipes is kind of fun - and I'm starting to understand why they wound up on the American dinner table (read: they're effing easy).

Friday, June 5, 2009

A cheat-treat

What is it about a great workout that leaves you hungry and cheerful?

Oh, right, a calorie deficit and endorphins.

After a particularly good workout the other day, I wanted a treat, but I didn't want to ruin the effects of the workout.

I considered a new cheat-treat - something to satisfy a craving but is healthier than the craving itself. (My go-to favorite is a homemade skim mocha (a little light on the chocolate) with 94% fat-free microwave popcorn.)

I wanted chocolate-covered strawberries. What I made was this:

OK, so it looks kind of gross, but it was delicious. The Hershey's syrup was an experiment. It seemed like it could be awesome or disgusting.

What's in the bowl: Steel-cut oatmeal, sweetened with half a banana (mushed in), a sprinkle of wheat germ, a sprinkle of ground flax seed, a half a handful of sliced almonds, two tablespoons of peanut butter, sliced strawberries, topped with two tablespoons of Hershey's syrup.

WOW. The Hershey's syrup thinned a little as it warmed on the hot oatmeal. It was enough to satisfy my craving and fill me up. (I couldn't finish the whole bowl.)

This is the cheat-treat for strawberries-and-chocolate lovers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fruits of marriage

A supportive partner is imperative to a healthy lifestyle.

An armchair cheerleader who constantly brings home your favorite treats or refuses to cut back on bad cocktail hour habits doesn't want to help you achieve your goals.

You will eat those treats in moments of weakness, and (s)he knows it.

Someone who berates you for being overweight, argues with you when you're too tired for a workout, or gives you the look when you have a bowl of ice cream should be strung by his/her fat ass on the laundry line and beaten with a wooden stick until candy and toys burst out and rain to the ground ...

Then there would be more candy for you, and that would be a great party.

Thankfully, Patrick is one supportive skinny dude. He never, not once, not even a little bit, ever said anything unkind about my pregnancy weight gain or the length of time it has taken me to lose it.

His kind words and compliments, coupled with his support for my weight loss efforts, have kept me motivated and feeling good about myself.

Last week, my husband brought home a fourth anniversary gift for me. Traditionally, the gift is fruit and flowers. Healthy and beautiful and incredibly thoughtful.

Thank you, Patrick. My successes also are yours. Thank you for being my partner.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New discovery

Lucy learned about corn-on-the-cob. It's a hit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wearing white

Please feel free to salivate over this barbecued chicken grilled by our friend, K.

It's amazing how many people say "Happy Memorial Day." I know it's a three-day weekend and whatnot, but the day is designated to honor those who gave their lives in military service.

Every year, I hear radio DJs wishing me a "Happy Good Friday." There must be a more appropriate word than "happy" to use as a casual greeting on a somber day.

All that aside, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer - a time for barbecues and icy cocktails and polluted-river dips and white sundresses.

This weekend, my husband and I were happy to join some friends for an impromptu dinner. My in-laws offered to watch L. and H. for the night, so we could celebrate our upcoming anniversary.

We took them up on it!

Six months had passed since Pete & Abbie called to invite us to their favorite sushi restaurant. I accidentally erased the message and, consequently, their phone number. In this miraculous modern age of communication, we had the brilliant idea to just look up their number.

Lucky for us, they were free!

Sakura Japan Sushi & Grill is tucked into a strip mall on US-13 South, with a Giant Food store and a liquor store the size of Minnesota. Could Salisbury, Maryland possibly have good sushi, as Pete and Abbie had promised?

We were in for a treat.

The sushi may have been the freshest I've ever had. The wait staff was very helpful, and the chef sent a couple of gratis appetizers. (The snow crab salad was amazing.)

The hubby and I arrived before Pete and Abbie. We ordered calamari (a safe bet for a guy who had never tried sushi) and Shrimp Shumai (dumplings).

The dumplings melted in our mouths.

Rainbow Cake Roll was the special I ordered. Spicy tuna, jalapeno, avocado inside; on top were tuna, salmon, yellow tail, and white tuna. The "special sauce" was served in the center in a martini glass. SPICY and DELICIOUS!

Abbie and Pete ordered this appetizer of seared white tuna and asparagus.

Pete and his Chirashi, a salad of raw fish and rice. He ordered hot sake for the table, which is why I forgot to save many of the photos on my phone.

Black Dragon roll. Deep fried shrimp, asparagus, cream cheese; topped with eel & black tobiko.
Abbie ordered this special roll. I don't remember what was in it, except the kiwi. Isn't the butterfly pretty? The presentation here made us smile.

Pat (the hubby) with his Sapporo. He surprised me by ordering sushi as his entree and enjoying it.

Sunday, we accepted an invitation for a kid-friendly cook-out at our friends' house. Beer, barbecued chicken, hot dogs, chips. Good friends; good times.

Weekends spent with friends and family are most satisfying. Calories were not counted, and muscles were not exercised; but, healthy is the spirit.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Zesty Giveaway

Zesty Cook has a fantastic giveaway right now.

He is offering 10 hours of free blog design advice (a blog makeover) to the lucky winners.

If you haven't checked out his site yet, do it now. It's a sophisticated design with a pleasing layout and compelling food art. His writing style is conversational, and he offers a boatload of delicious recipes.

This is the guy you want overhauling your food blog.

Check out the contest here: Zesty Giveaway: Blog Makeover.

Let me know if you win!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I completed a goal.

I took a class.

A boot camp class.

It was really fun. I was one of the least fit people there. Of course, some of them were trainers.

My muscles hurt so much that I didn't exercise the two days afterward. Following that was a crazy weekend schedule that allowed for only one workout.

None of this makes me happy.

The class actually discouraged me a little. I thought I was pushing myself hard and getting a lot stronger. Why should boot-camp class be so hard for me?

A week later, I've had time to think about it, and I'm happy I did it. I set a goal to try a class, and I did. I stuck it out until the end.

I enjoyed myself.

I learned more about my level of fitness and what I need to do to accomplish my ultimate fitness goals.

When my husband was home for two weeks, I was spoiled with the time to go to the gym every day. In real, non-vacation world in which two toddlers count on me for education, fun and snuggles, and I have deadlines to meet, going to the gym every day is not practical.

I can go four times a week on a good week. The rest of the time, fitness needs to become part of my regular daily routine.

From my class, I learned I could keep up with everything - including suicides, sprinting, walking lunges, countless jumping jacks, step aerobics (at least on Level 1), and squats - but I had a really tough time with the longer distance jog/run.

My goal for the next week is to start running. I'm going to be the embarrassingly slow gal jogging around the block a few times, but I've started slow before and seen good progress.

When I go back to that class in better shape, maybe the instructor will stop giving me concerned looks and asking how I'm doing. That's unlikely, because I sweat and turn red even when I'm crazy fit.

I had no related photo to post today, so you get a purple baby carrot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prime Thyme Tuna

Last week, I bought tuna steaks.

It was nearing 8:30 p.m., and my creative juices run dry just before L. and H. go to bed.

With fresh thyme from the farmer's market and some various other ingredients, I knew I had the trimmings for something quick and bright.

I conducted a quick Internet search for seared tuna and found a seemingly lovely and - what was more important - quick Pan-seared Tuna with Lime Pepper Crust, and played with the recipe.

Prime Thyme Lime Tuna
(adapted from What's Cooking America, an adaptation of a recipe from Simply Seafood)

This was a late-night, tube-watching meal for us. We added a potato, a salad, and a bottle of yummy wine.

Mmm. Spicy radishes complimented the tuna well. Wish I had opted for the spicy spring mix at the farmer's market, though. Next time!

The rub.

2 tuna steaks (about an inch thick, about 6 ounces each)
1 lime
A large helping of fresh thyme leaves, plus some dried for good measure
About 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 or 2 pinches salt
1 to 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil

Remove leaves from fresh time by rubbing the stems in the opposite direction of leaf growth. (See how they just fall off?)

Grate the zest from the lime, then squeeze the juice separately and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine zest, thyme leaves (plus some dried thyme, if you are using it), pepper and salt; stir to mix.

Rinse the tuna steaks and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly rub both sides of the tuna steaks with olive oil.

Rub the seasoning mix on the tuna steaks; coating them well.

Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan (cast iron is fine, I'm sure).

Increase the heat to high and place the tuna in the pan.

Sear one minute each side until outside is crispy and inside is rare to medium-rare, depending on your taste. Tuna is best when not overcooked.

Remove steaks to plates, pouring lime juice over them immediately. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

Makes 2 servings.

Review: I wouldn't call the seasoning a crust, but it was a tasty rub. Next time, I would up the thyme, lime and pepper. I'd keep the fresh thyme, though. It was lovely. I may even consider making it more of a crust, but I'd be careful not to overpower the tuna with the lime.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Farmer's market withdrawal

Mother's Day weekend was lovely. Saturday, my mother and I attended a native plant sale at a local arboretum.

Quality time with Mom was just what I wanted, and it was good quality. (My mother is an avid and quite impressive gardener.)

She bought me some shade-loving native perennials for Mother's Day, and my daughter, L., helped me plant them. (OK, she dug holes in the mud and begged to play with the hose. Whaddya want? She's 2.) Mom took home some sun-lovers for her perennial gardens.

Still, I am a little disappointed I missed the farmer's market Saturday morning. What will I do without green eggs this week? (The photo doesn't do them justice.)

My mother told me Martha Stewart has eggs of all colors. She would.

To make up for missing the market, I'll post some of the delicious results of last week's market trip.

These will include: Spicy Citrus Tuna and On-the-fly Spring Garlic Linguine with Fresh Asparagus.


So, I gained 90 pounds during pregnancy.

Birth of the twins, loss of water retained during pregnancy and nursing two hungry little premies took care of about 60 pounds. I put mild effort into 15 (5 of which I regained).

I was left with 20 pounds two-plus years later. I'm down four of those, as of this morning.

Although I've been exercising for months, I've been working hard for about two weeks to return to a healthy lifestyle.

I've built strength and endurance, thanks to the local YMCA (which has a fantastic facility and a reliable child-watch center).

My goals for the next two weeks will be to start working on agility and flexibility. To accomplish the goal, I plan to take some yoga and cardio classes (Zumba? step? boot camp?!) to mix up the routine.

I also plan to take body measurements, which I have yet to do. I've simply kept track of my weight, but body measurements will help me understand my progress.

The last time I took a body measurement, my waist was nearly 52-inches. (It's 48 in the photo above.)

I think it's time to break out the measuring tape.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A couple weeks ago, caught in a steamy, new-romance haze (opening day of the farmer's market), I laid fresh, local vegetables on a tea towel in the kitchen. Tenderly, I fluffed their frills, arranged their bulbs, and displayed their colors until they were camera ready. There was nothing dirty about it. It felt natural; it felt right.

Just look at this micro basil!

Then, my husband walked in, and the whole thing felt sordid.

I covered:

"Uhhhh, I'm starting a food blog," I said.

"Oh. OK, honey. You need me to watch the kids for a few extra minutes while you finish up?" he asked.

Yes. Yes, I do. You should know this is going to take up lots of my time and is going to involve many glasses of wine and bubble baths and possibly hours of quiet contemplation. Thanks for being so supportive.