Monday, November 17, 2014

New Home

Big Body has a new home and new look. Check it out!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Westfield Farm

On our way back from Gardner, MA (where my husband is from), there is a lovely little farm that makes the most delicious goat cheese. It is a must to stop there each time we visit my in-laws. We stock up on a couple of cheeses and freeze them so they last until our next visit to Gardner. Their cheese is kept in a refrigerator, which you see right when you walk in the door of the little barn. They use the honor system, so make sure you bring cash! Our cheese purchase is often limited by our forgetting to get more cash on our way out of town. Otherwise, we might buy out their entire stock.
You can't go wrong with anything you pick! This time around, we purchased some cranberry orange goat cheese and some herb and garlic goat cheese. We like to eat the cranberry orange one on rice crackers, and the herb and garlic we crumble over salad. Yum!
The quality of this cheese is no secret! Next time you are in MA, check them out! This goat cheese is delicious!
Westfield Farm 28 Worcester Road Hubbardston, MA 01452

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hiking Mount Monadnock

2 Weeks ago, Daniel and I decided to take a last minute trip to Gardner, Massachusetts to visit my in-laws. I always love visiting with them and Gardner is just far enough away so that it seems like a mini-vacation. My Mother-in-Law also has an adorable tradition of leaving chocolates on the nightstand...this also makes me feel like we're on vacation. This visit was no exception, when we went to unpack our bags, waiting for us on the nightstand were two Dove dark chocolates. I opened mine on Saturday morning as a pre-breakfast snack, and I could not have received a more perfect fortune...
' Ok, Dove. I will. I will tempt my sense of exploration. We got to base camp of Monadnock around noon. It cost $10 per person for entry and to our surprise (and relief) they take credit cards! We completely forgot to bring cash with us. Opps! We took the White Dot trail up the mountain. The trail was well-marked, but also well-populated. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and there were the crowds to prove it. There were a couple of times when I just had to step aside and let people pass me because they were hiking so close behind me. I am all for being friendly, but this was a little too close. The trails were pretty wet and slick in spots due to days of rain and an abundance of leaves. It just meant that we had to climb a little more carefully. We stopped a couple times before reaching the summit.
There was some seriously gorgeous foliage! About 1/4 of the way up, the trail got pretty rocky and also steep at certain points. I was happy to have my hiking boots on. I was surprised to see so many hikers in running shoes. It made my ankles hurt for them.
I also couldn't believe that so many people were wearing shorts. It was a warm, sunny, October day, but temperatures were in the 30's at the summit. It was also really windy once you got to the top. Daniel and I were thankful that we had layers and bundled up.
We were going to take the Cascade trail on the way down, but decided that the Red Spot trail would be faster. We were wrong. The Red Spot trail was really steep and full of rocks. It took us a long time to get down since we really had to take our time on the wet rock surface. The mountain and scenery were beautiful, but Daniel and I were over the rocky surface and were thrilled to see dirt trail at the end. It was as if someone took all the boulders and rocks of the world and dumped them on the Red Spot trail. No good. When we got back from our hike, we showered and went over to the Gardner Ale House for dinner. Daniel and I split a soup, an order of sweet potato fries, and we each got a steak salad. It was really satisfying after our long hike. The best reward for our efforts were the homemade margaritas after the Ale House.
Every hike should end this way!

Brazilian Buffet

So it looks like my goal of posting at least once per week has already gone out the window. I have been super busy at work and continue to travel on weekends. Before our travels to Gardner, Massachusetts two weeks ago, Daniel and I stopped at a Brazilian place in Bridgeport, CT. It is called Pantanal Restaurant and Churrascaria and it was really tasty! Not only was it tasty, but it was also super reasonable. Daniel and I had dinner, a beer each and dessert all for under $30! We will definitely be going back to Pantanal! I got a place filled to the brim. I started at the salad bar and got some greens with beets, cucumbers, and topped it with French dressing. Then I hit up the plantains and rice. I love plantains! Can't get enough. Next it was time to get some meat. I was a little ambitious with the sausage and ended up sharing some with Daniel. He didn't complain. I also got some brisket. The brisket was delicious. They asked if I wanted the fat cut off and I kept it on. I think when we go back, I would ask them to hold the fat. After dinner, we had a coconut dessert. I'm not sure what it was called, but it just tasted like coconut and caramel. Yum! Can't wait to go back to this Brazilian spot.

Monday, October 20, 2014

End-of-Week Recap

I can't believe it is Monday already! Where did the weekend go? I was really pleased with how I did this week, even though we did go out to dinner three times. Here is a quick recap of the end of the week... Saturday We stayed over at my Mom's house on Friday night after a dinner at the Tokeneke Club. Such a treat! I got up at 6:50 to take Rusty for a walk with my Mom's dog, Lucy. We walked for about a half hour and then I came back to get ready for Crossfit. Our regular coach wasn't there, so our workout was a little different. Tons of box jumps, which I'm still afraid of. Not sure I will ever get over that! I really liked the WOD though. It was 3 rounds of 15 deadlifts, 15 box jumps (I used a stack of weights instead) and a 400 meter run. We were aiming for 9 minutes or less, and I finished at 10:06. I am still carrying a lot of extra weight, so I was proud of myself to finish relatively close to 9:00. I thought I would finish closer to 15. After I got home from my gym and Daniel got home from his, we had breakfast (which really ended up being brunch). OMG pancakes. The best!
After our delicious brunch, we got a little bit of work done around the house. At 4PM, we went to our friend Sara's art show. She is so talented! Her turtle pictures made me reminisce about snorkeling in Hawaii.
We stayed at the show until they closed and then we went to Mikro for dinner. There was a little bit of a wait, but the food was really yummy once we were seated. Daniel and I split a burrata salad to start and I had a burger for an entree. We went home after dinner and hit the sack. Sunday I slept until 8:00AM! So late for me. I am usually up with our dog, Rusty by 7:00, so this was quite a snooze for me. Daniel got up earlier and took Rusty for a walk while I caught some extra z's. When I got up, Daniel had breakfast re-heating in the oven (we have a mini-kitchen). For breakfast we had French press coffee, OMG pancakes from Saturday, leftover bacon, and some greek yogurt with blueberry jam.
The blueberry jam is homemade from our friend, Leslie. She gave it to us over a year ago and we have been savoring it ever since. There is nothing like those Maine blueberries! After breakfast, we decided to go for a walk in Devil's Den. It is a Nature Preserve just one street over from our street. It is so close by and this was only our second visit.
It is such a pretty time of year to hike at Devil's Den! No mosquitoes is a definite bonus. They love me and the feeling is not mutual.
Devil's Den is very clearly marked, and they have a sign-in post when you enter the park. They also have maps for visitors. We took one and kept it, in hopes that we will go there more often.
The fallen leaves were so pretty!
We hiked in Devil's Den for 3 hours. We are trying to get ready for our big trip to Peru in July.
My stomach was growling by the time we got back to the apartment. Daniel whipped up some chicken salad with leftover chicken, greek yogurt, a tablespoon of curry powder, 1 avocado, red onion, and some raisins. Such a perfect lunch.
I just needed a square or two of dark chocolate after lunch. I love this Trader Joe's dark chocolate. It is so dark that I only need a square or two to feel satisfied.
We cleaned up and did some more work and then our wedding photographer (and dear friend), Molly came over to discuss our wedding album. Before going over the layout for our album, Daniel and I made dinner. I put together a salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries, blue cheese, red onion, and walnuts. Daniel made a masterpiece on the grill. He marinated pork chops in soy sauce for about an hour. He grilled the pork and then melted a slice of gouda cheese on each piece. He served the pork with grilled slices of pineapple. It was so delicious, I didn't get a picture with a full plate.
Yup! I dove right in. Delicious! When Molly left, it was time for bed to rest up for my first graders. Such a nice weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2 Days in a Row

Part of my switch to a more primal diet has been reading blog posts on Mark's Daily Apple. Mark advocates practicing fasting on occasion and I had one such un-planned fast today. While Daniel and I had the best of intentions of cooking on Sunday and making meals for the week, we visited some friends instead. With all that has been happening over the last two months, I was happy to fit in some much needed friend time, even if it was at the cost of being prepared for the week. As a result, I didn't have lunch made for today, and my plan of ordering a salad at school got scrapped with a late arrival to work and a parent meeting at 8:30. When I realized I forgot to order lunch (just 15 minutes prior to my lunchtime) and I had a ton of work to do, I decided this would just serve as a mini-fast. I would just skip lunch. I was productive during my fasting lunch and wasn't that hungry. I used almond milk in my breakfast shake (instead of water) and I think that had something to do with my staying full and satisfied for longer. This might have to be a permanent change... While I wasn't that hungry after work, I was nervous to go to tutoring with nothing in my stomach since breakfast. So I polished off some Spanish Almonds from Whole Foods (I'm addicted - and they've been on sale).
I also finished half a bag of plantain chips. Whoops!
And tried four of these. I am not a fan - not worth the flour cheat!
Although it was a lot of snacking, I avoided Donut Delight. My tutoring gig helped me to develop a Tuesday afternoon habit of visiting Donut Delight. I would order a coffee and a glazed donut or a bagel toasted with butter. Tasted great, but packed on the pounds AND made me fall asleep at tutoring every time. So embarassing. Since I've cut out those Tuesday afternoon visits, I've stayed awake for every tutoring session. Dinner was just as unplanned as lunch today and Daniel and I made a quick trip to Whole Foods. I got kale salad, beet salad, and roasted butternut squash with peppers. When we got home, I had a few more plantain chips with guacamole, a Trader Joe's pork sausage and my roasted butternut squash. I was full before I could dive in to the kale and beets. Looks like I have a healthy lunch for tomorrow.
Of course I'm never too full for a little dark chocolate. I had 4 mini-squares from a Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar. Yum!

Monday, October 13, 2014

I ran my 2nd marathon...a year ago.

I recently met with a colleague to discuss some research ideas with which I've been toiling, and she advised that I pursue my research aspirations, but why not I start a blog in the meantime. I replied that I did have a blog! A long-neglected blog! One that I seemed to lose track of when I started teaching. Teaching has a way of doing that. Of taking over your life. I was warned, and I wouldn't change my decision to be a teacher, but I've noticed that in the last four years, since I went back to grad school, got my Master's and started my job as a first grade teacher, a lot of my interests have fallen by the wayside. I am hoping I can make a comeback this year. Not only with my neglected blog, but with my relationship with food and exercise habits. I realized that it was a year ago this weekend that I ran my second marathon.
It wasn't an easy race for me. I had grand aspirations of breaking my first marathon time, and instead, it took me about an hour longer to complete the 26.2 miles. Somewhere in our training my husband and I decided that we would be better off doing a run/walk combination. It got us through training and it got us through the race. I highly recommend it if you're considering. It just meant letting go of my goal. Although I didn't achieve my marathon goal last year, the race did help me reach a health and fitness goal that I had since college. I wanted to get my weight back down to 140lbs. Somewhere in between college, study abroad, living it up in Los Angeles, a second move across the country, and a career change, my weight and fitness level went through so many ups and downs and hovered around the 155 - 160 mark. With our wedding on the horizon, and a marathon two months before the wedding, it seemed like the perfect time to finally get rid of that extra weight. Through the marathon training, eating something similar to the Paleo diet, and lots of Core Fusion classes at Exhale, I got my weight down to 138lbs. I was so proud of myself! I expected to gain a little weight after the wedding. I was able to fit in my dress, so the pressure was off. We went on our honeymoon, sold our house, moved, and from February to June, we ate far too much fast food. The weight seemed to come back on a lot faster than it came off and before I knew it, I was back at 160. Our trip to Iceland and Germany in July packed on another 10lbs, and by August 2014, I weighed over 170lbs. The most I've ever weighed in my life. So on this anniversary of running my second marathon, it is hard to believe I was able to run or even run/walk that distance just a year ago.
I am hoping to reclaim this blog and visit at least once per week. I am hoping that writing about my progress will hold me accountable. I'm trying once again to eliminate grains, legumes, and limit dairy in my diet and I joined a Crossfit gym. My tiny victory today was not reaching for the danish sitting in front of me at Professional Development. Here is to many more tiny victories and achieving my goal again. I can do this. Baby steps.