There’s Always Bread Pudding

Do you ever wake up feeling as if something’s off?  There’s a little too much on your plate and you know that no matter what the day will just be a little bit disappointing.

Today I felt stupid for a few hours, then ridiculous for about just as long, and the worst of all like a bad friend and an overall failure in life. Too much stuff going on right now!

To take my mind off of it all for a little bit.  I turned a disappointing loaf of bread I got at the Farmer’s Market yesterday

into something slightly better.

Bread Pudding

1 loaf of bread (about 10 slices), torn into pieces (I used whole wheat)
3 cups of non fat milk
3 tbsp butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp rum
4 eggs

In a saucepan heat milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, raisins, cinnamon and rum until butter has melted and sugar is dissolved.  Put torn bread pieces into a large bowl, pour warm milk mixture over bread and toss to coat.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Add 4 eggs (beaten), transfer to a greased baking dish (I used a big 9×13 pyrex) and bake at 350 for 40-50mins.

Serve with a maple yogurt glaze (fancy way of saying greek yogurt + maple syrup mixed together).

I can’t deny that food is comforting, and I’m not talking about just eating it necessarily but the cooking part.  Preparing this took my mind off everything for a while.  Honestly, I would probably be a little happier if I had someone to give this to at the moment.  I love the smiles that come from receiving a treat, it’s almost better than eating it myself.

Since I’m a lonely duck on this Easter Sunday, I have to find another thing that will make me feel better… being a consumer (not an eater).

I can get these…

or

They cost about the same… Honestly, I could go without either but just out of curiosity, which would you choose and why?

When you’re not feeling great, what makes you feel better?

Hope you’re having a great Easter!

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Let’s Go Streaking!

Ok actually you can and should do this with your clothes on!

My brother-in-law started a fun facebook group called The Running Streak Group.

Basically the idea is to run (at least) 1 mile everyday, never missing a day.  You can see the United States Running Streak Association for more info!

Starting April 1st, I’m going to try to run at least 1 mile everyday!  Sounds kind of fun right?  Anyone want to join me?  Feel free to join the facebook group!  Good way to make sure you get moving at least a little bit everyday!

I wish I had more exciting eats to show you all, but unfortunately I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off for the past few days!   I’m trying to get together school work, apply for internships and be the overall rockstar that I am!

This morning I made a green monster for breakfast and in my rush out the door, forgot it.  That was upsetting… luckily I wasn’t hungry this morning.

But I’m pretty excited for lunch. I’m trying something new!

Tempeh with jam and spinach! (Note my super bread slicing skills aka super uneven!) Ready to go…

Sounds like an interesting combo!  I’ve seen it around the blog world!  I’ll let you know how it is. Have you ever had the tempeh/preserve/sweet combo?  Did you like it?

EDIT: OMG THIS IS AMAZING!!!

In other news, my Stress-Less March idea is working really well.  While it sucks to have to take everything with me and lug it around campus all day, it’s really nice to get so much done and come home and sort of relax for a bit.

I’m in the library so I should probably get to work.  Hope you have a great day!!

Stop Stress Eating

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m under considerable amounts of stress.  No where else is this more evident than in my eating patterns.  I’ve been a Snacky McSnackerson literally to the point of feeling ill many times this week.  I want it to stop. Not only is it causing weight gain (I was down 5lbs on my new leaf challenge.  I don’t want to ruin that), but it’s just not healthy (physically or mentally).

There are some people who don’t eat when they’re stressed.  I wish I could be one of them.  I’m the exact opposite.  I can’t stop.  I’m not talking about an extra cookie here or there.  I’m talking about a lot of extra eating when I’m not even hungry.

Honestly, this is a little embarrassing for me to write, since so many people I know in person read this, but I keep reminding myself that I write this blog for myself, not for anyone else.  Lately, I haven’t been posting healthy recipes I like, because I simply haven’t made any.  I want that to change.

I was reading a few articles on stress eating and a lot of the problems/solutions don’t really apply to me.  I don’t keep junk food in the house.  Whole wheat toast, almond butter, peanut butter, cheese, fruit, granola bars, beans and green monsters aren’t unhealthy, but too much of anything is not good.  Sure, I have junk food occasionally but for the most part, I eat very healthy foods.  After reviewing many suggestions for reducing stress eating and finding solutions that don’t really meet my needs, I’ve decided to devise my own.

Here are a few problems and solutions I have in mind for how to stop stress eating:

  • Exercise: One common recommendation to reduce stress is to exercise.  Working out isn’t an issue for me.  I exercise 5-6 days a week, but I’m still stressed (and still stress eat).  I’m going to keep exercising but when I’m feeling very stressed, I’m going to try to do some yoga.  I’ve never gotten into yoga as it’s been terribly boring each time I’ve tried it but on Netflix watch instantly there are a few yoga DVDs.  Worth a try right?
  • Balanced Meals: A lot of people recommend eating 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day.  I think every person is different.  For some, 3 meals works best but not for others.  Recently, my snacking problem has been after lunch.  I come home and have a snack simply out of habit, even if I’m not necessarily hungry.  This results in me snacking the entire night and never actually eating a balanced dinner (today was a perfect example of that).  Instead I’m going to try to eat 3 meals a day and only have a snack if I’m really hungry.  Expect to see more healthy recipes I try!
  • Schedule: Being in grad school means I have a very irregular schedule.  While I start class everyday at the same time, there after, each day is different.  This makes it difficult to get in the rhythm of a schedule.  I need to have regular exercise, study, eating and relaxing times.  I want to re-form all the healthy habits that I used to have.  I’m working on devising a daily schedule for myself, which I can share if anyone is interested.
  • Obsession:  I admit it.  I’m obsessed with the scale.  This is just my personality.  I’m not very good at half assing things (except maybe math…).  Am I okay with it?  No.  Am I trying to fix it?  Yes.  I started counting calories again in January, as I had successfully done before.  This time it backfired.  The more stressed I got, the more I ate and the more guilty I felt.  I would eat very few calories one day (around 1200-1300) then I’d be ravenous the next day only to overeat!  The following day, I’d try to make up for it by eating very few calories again… see the cycle?  I lost weight but was terribly unhappy.  I still think calorie counting is an effective tool for weight loss, but obsession is not.  I need to check myself and reassess the deeper issue: stress.  So for now, I’m concentrating on eating 3 healthy, balanced meals a day while avoiding mindless snacking.  I’ll worry about weight loss and calories once I’ve gotten this one down.
  • Finding Alternatives: I’ve realized that a lot of times I eat to put off work.  Instead of eating, I need to find healthy substitutes.  I mentioned yoga above, but another one I’m going to try is cleaning.  Every time I feel like eating something when I’m not hungry, I’ll clean/organize something.  If I really want it by the time I’m done cleaning, I’ll have it.  Cleaning should be a good enough break 🙂

I’m writing this because I want to be healthy.  Not just physically healthy but mentally healthy.  I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who don’t struggle with this and simply don’t understand, some may even think this is flat out stupid.  But I also know there are a ton of people out there who face the same issues I do. I’m not going to let a stage of my life control my happiness. I’m going to take control, overcome it and succeed!

Do you have any other suggestions to put an end to stress eating or to manage stress?

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.  Have a great, relaxing night!

Lent

Thank you all for your very sweet comments on my post earlier!  I really appreciate the support!

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.  The past few days, and today in particular, I’ve read about a lot of people “giving something up for Lent.”  Most of these things included things like chocolate, baked goods, pastries, candy, etc. I’ve commented about this on a few blogs and thought I should write my own post on this.

Now, I am no hard core Catholic.  I did First Communion, but I don’t go to church and I’m not observing Lent.

I’m not entirely sure what I believe but I do have respect for religion.

I’m a little irked that so many people are taking a sacred 40 day period in anticipation of the resurrection of Christ and turning it into an excuse to diet.  Lent is supposed to be about sacrifice and redemption, not a guilt trip into putting down that cookie so you’ll look better at the end of 40 days.

What about the rest of the Lenten requirements: not sinning, abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays…?

Obviously, bloggers don’t post their entire lives on their blogs so some may be very religious/spiritual.  I don’t mean to judge, but I’m a little concerned that this is a serious sacrifice for some while it is merely a tool for others.

*Stepping Off Soapbox now*

What are your thoughts on “giving up” things for Lent? Am I being a little unreasonable?

On to food…

I try not to eat frozen food too often, but I like to keep a frozen meal in the freezer for those days when I just absolutely don’t feel like cooking.

Today was one of those days.

Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake (image from kashi.com)

Oh goodness.  If you haven’t tried this, you should.  It’s AMAZING! Slightly spicy and has a great texture.  Also, if you love plantains and sweet potatoes, this entree is for you!

It was the perfect dinner after a loooong day!

Off to do more reading.  Have a great night!

Life

Right now, I am school.

My life is on hold so I can get a Master’s degree.

I live in a city county that revolves around the University.  The only people I know are those in my department.  The only place I go is campus.  When I wake up in the morning, the first thought I have it what I have left to read.

I am a ball of stress.

Honestly, I’m getting tired of it.

I’m tired of having a sore jaw in the mornings from clenching all night.  I’m tired of not having time to talk to my friends and family in California because I have to read.  I’m tired of sitting on my butt, reading for hours on end and feeling like I’m still not doing enough.

Yesterday was a terrible day.  Aside from the immense amount of work I had to do.  I was frustrated with my program, and I was frustrated with myself.  I’m tired of complaints.  At this point, I just want to be done.

I’m not sure what needs to change.  Do I need to just suck it up and stick it out?  A year and a half will fly by, right?

I’m not sure what I would do if I hadn’t started this blog.  My life pretty much would only be city planning, and I would crack. I never thought I would be one of those people that says how much blogging has changed their life, but I guess I am…

Sorry for the vent.  Today will be a better day.  The lovely fella will be here in a week!  Normal food bloggieness will continue tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far).

Soup It Up!

Hi all!  Hope you’ve had a great day!

Thank goodness my presentation is done!  Honestly, it was pretty terrible!  Basically, me and another guy had to lead the class discussion for a 3hr seminar! Ugh!  First, I couldn’t connect my computer to the projector because I have a newer Mac that doesn’t have the right port.  Thanks Apple and Cornell, but it was okay I could go without.  Sadly those hours I spent on the power point were all for nothing!

Then, the professor kept interrupting me asking me to talk about specific things. He didn’t want to discuss what I had prepared until the end of the class!  So basically I had to search in the book for things he was asking for.  Even though I had read it and it was basically the most basic thing even (push/pull factors of rural-urban migration… really we need to talk about this for an hour??) I got flustered and it was terrible.  I should have talked to him beforehand to make sure I covered everything he wanted since I was the first to present all semester.  Oh well, It’s done.

I was nervous before class so I had a light lunch (soup + cottage cheese + cucumbers).  By the time I got home, I was starving!

I made a quick veggie lentil soup using a Thai Veggie Stock I found on sale at Wegman’s this week!

Delish!  In my soup: 2 cups Thai veggie stock, ~1/2 cup dried lentils, 1/2 broccoli crown, some kale, and bok choy.  First I cooked the lentils in the stock for about 10-15 minutes then added the veggies for a few minutes and voila! (Next time, I’d thicken it up with a little corn starch or throw in an egg!)  For a little extra protein and just plain deliciousness I had 2 Morningstar Sausage Patties.

One in a tortilla because that’s how brown people roll.

Corn Tortillas > Flour Tortillas.  What do you think??

Then the wonder that is Karin, inspired me again (I should really just start a fan club).

I made some homemade granola bars using a tweeked version of this recipe.

Sadly I messed these up for a few reasons…
1. Forgot to add the flour
2. Forgot to add vanilla
3.  Needed more apple sauce but didn’t have any more.

Regardless, they taste delicious!!!

In my granola bars I used:

2 cups of oats
20g chia seeds
1-2 tsp cinnamon
some dried cranberries (only had 16g)
1 oz dried coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup agave nectar (use more if you want sweeter)
1/2 cup of apple sauce (use more next time)

I mixed all these ingredients together and baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  I could probably get 12 bars out of this.  Here is the nutrition info for the ones I made:

Delicious, easy, inexpensive and healthy!

I think they turned out okay without the flour, but I think they would have been more bar-like had I used more apple sauce.  Oh well!  Next time!  I can’t wait to make variations of these!!  (PB in the future???)  I need to run to the store to get more applesauce!!

Have you ever made your own granola bars? Any tricks of the trade I should know about?

Well, now I’m off to read a huge pile of things about climate change!  Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading 🙂  Have a great night!!

P.S.  Get a free sample of Kashi bar or cereal!! Click Here!

Channeling “The Dude”

Big Lebowski, anyone?

Today was freezing!  I think the daytime high was 14F!  Right now it’s about 7F!

To beat the cold, a bunch of Cornell planner headed to the bowling alley! Cornell actually has its own bowling alley on campus (in the basement of one of the gyms!)

Little known fact about me: I was once in a bowling league!  <– Nerdy! I know!

I’m glad I got out, because today was one of those days were I had to remind myself to smile.  It worked though!  I got myself out the door, unburied my car, picked up a friend and headed to the lanes.

There was pizza

Friends

Confusion

Have you ever been to a place where you have to keep your own bowling score on paper!?!?!

But overall… a ton of fun!

Honestly, today has not been fun.  I have been a bottomless pit all day.

Today was the first day in the past two weeks that I actually felt like I had to stop myself from eating when I wanted to and all I could think about was food.  All day my stomach felt empty no matter how much I ate/drank.  I tried everything… wait ten minutes before eating something to see if you really want it… I did.  Drink water… still wanted food.  Drink hot tea… still wanted food, had about 5 cups of tea today.  By the time I went bowling, I had already eaten 1,500 calories (which I realize isn’t that much but this is the amount that I’ve been eating most day the past two weeks without feeling hungry).  At the bowling alley I had 2 pieces of pizza and about probably 5 cookies and many chips.

The thing is, even after that, I wasn’t full.  I wasn’t hungry, but I wasn’t full.  Do you ever have those days where you just can’t seem to eat enough?

I’m not sure what it is.

I’m trying not to feel guilty because what’s done is done.  One evening is not going to derail my efforts at a healthy lifestyle; however, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that I couldn’t stop after 1 piece of pizza and 1 cookie.  Oh well!  What’s a girl to do?

Tomorrow will be a better day, full of smiles!

Now, I might need to re-watch The Big Lebowski (Yay for Netflix watch instantly!), because I flew through those two discs of Mad Men I have!

Have a great night!