Pick me up wednesday

I fully believe on Wednesdays we all need a little pick me up. Today that cuteness will be provided by Lulubelle and Rupert. They say please get back to work so you can come home on time today! =)


What's cooking this week?

Oh my, my post is late. Yesterday Little J came down and we did 6 miles in 90+ degree heat. Man it was hot. I think I'm just now recovering. We were super stupid. We headed out around 9am and got back to the house at noon. We are not doing that again it was just so hot. Although we did have a good time and we went to Big Spring Park and walked around downtown Huntsville. Afterwards we ate a "healthy" lunch at Earth Fare.
In the box: peaches, onion, October beans, beets, cucumbers, bell peppers, green beans, corn, eggplant

Look, peaches, yum. I love peaches. I love peaches so much that we pick up the box on Thursday and the peaches are already gone. =)

Sunday: Grilled eggplant and corn with skillet green beans.

Monday: eating out at Rosie's while we hunt refrigerators. (I can say about 99% sure we actually found one.)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Stuffed peppers

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: fiesta taco salad made with October beans (those white beans that are spotted)

Saturday: Eggplant grinders with cucumber salad and mac 'n cheese

Look, It's a bird! It's a plane! No, It's a watermelon!


The joy of cabbage

Before I started CSAing this is what I associated with cabbage.

1. My favorite doll when I was young was a cabbage patch kid. Man did I love that doll. Mine had red hair and Little J's had yellow. She used to try to steal mine and call it hers. I remember that it owned clothes but it never wore them. I think she was just like this:

2. Coleslaw and a bucket of chicken. When I was growing up my family had a boat. We used always get a bucket of Mrs. Winner's chicken with mashed potatoes, biscuits, gravy, and coleslaw and eat it on the lake. I didn't much care for the chicken, coleslaw, or mashed potatoes but man I loved the biscuits and gravy (this is a deep insight into my food psyche) and going to the lake. Tubing and eating biscuits are happy childhood memories for me.

So, you can see I didn't grow up in a cabbage loving family.

Now that I tried to be more educated in my food I have learned to tolerate enjoy cabbage.

Here is what I have learned about cabbage:

1. It is amazingly versatile. You can it raw or cooked. It has a mild flavor that be added to lots of different dishes.

2. It is cheap. I think around St. Patrick's day (cabbage's day to really shine.) I got it around $.19 a pound. And now St. Patty's day has passed it's still pretty cost effective.

3. It is very low in calories. Green cabbage has 22 calories in a cup. A whole cup for 22 calories! That must be why there is a whole diet dedicated to it (the cabbage soup diet.)

4. It comes in a whole slew of varieties. I think we've only had green and white cabbage but I'm sure purple would be delish too.

5. It stays good in the fridge for a long time. I'm embarrassed to tell you how long it's hung around my crisper but I can assure you it's hardy.

A couple of tips:

1. Always remove the core. It's just not enjoyable at all and it's really hard to chop. Simply cut up into the cabbage around the core and pull out.

2. Stray away from crock potting it. I've tried a couple of different recipes and unless you are making the cabbage soup from the cabbage soup diet I think the crockpot destroys it.

If you are leery start out stir frying it. Just chop it up to bite sized pieces and stir fry with onion in oil. Once it's just about cooked add Asian salad dressing, and if you are on omnivore, and chicken. Serve with rice. Easy and tasty.

If you want to be more daring here are our favorites:

1. Cabbage rolls.

2. Asian Salad.

3. Moo-shu chicken.

4. Homemade egg rolls. (I baked these in the oven instead of frying them. They were very good that way.)

The joys of ...

Ok, since I have now been participating in a CSA now for 4 years I have finally began to learn to use CSA foods. From my pictures you can see that each week Mr. C and I are given some strange veggies. We just hate to waste them. However, we do tend to eat a normal american diet. Usually CSA blogs and cookbooks are not normal american diets. I think it's worth blogging about how we have learned to use those unusual foods in a tasty way. So, I am starting a regular "series" about those totally unique CSA foods.

First up...cabbage.

a face lift

I really want to change my name because I don't want to only talk about running and cooking. I love both of these subjects but i want to be more well rounded than this. Therefore I don't love my name but i've been waiting for inspiration to hit me with something new. I ran about 1,000 ideas by Mr. C but he wasn't in love with anything. I wanted something cutsy but not too cutsy. So, I'm keeping it simple. I'm thinking about "Attempting to balance life." My current feelings about it, meh. What do you think? Do you love it? hate it? have a much better idea? Give me a shout out I'm totally open for it.


Attack of the watermelon (plants)!

I was worried about my growing but no blooms. But, LOOK, lots of blooms and lots more vine. Now, I can just protect my precious baby from Mr. C killing it with the lawn mower. =)


CSA week 6

What's in the box? green beans, cabbage, green tomatoes, eggplant, corn, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes

I wont lie. Of course I like the box but it's not necessarily the best one yet. It feels a little sparse. I will probably cook everything in it this week with nothing to freeze. Last week my beetnik cake came out so good i was actually looking forward to getting some more beets to bake with.

Monday: "fried" green tomatoes, grilled corn, black bean burgers/turkey burgers and home made buns.

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Thai cabbage salad.

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Pasta with eggplant, onion, tomatoes, and shrimp

Saturday: Date night out to Toy Story 3.

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Stuft Shells

When Mr. C and I started dating one of our favorite foods was buying the Marie Calender's stuffed shells from the grocery (usually Walmart, we were so broke and naive back then about the evils of walmart). It was easy and tasty. I think it's one of his all time favorite foods. He has an unnatural obsession with pasta. Well, now I still know how much he loves them and how terrible they are for us. Here is my attempt at a more nutritious version (this recipe totally throws my vegan attempts out the window.) These were SO good. They were more of an experiment than I've been doing lately but they were totally worth it. Cooking the greens before hand totally mask the pungent taste you usually get with greens. These are an excellent way to hide that bitter taste.

What you need:

Jumbo shells

spaghetti sauce

1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

a bunch of greens (I used beet greens but you could use spinach, kale, swiss chard, really any greens)

1/2 cup mozzarella + enough left to cover when done

2 TBSP oregano

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 TBSP garlic

salt and season to taste

1. Cook shells according to package directions minus a couple of minutes. Set aside when done.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Chop greens. If you use anything other than spinach take the stems off. They are where the strong flavor is coming from.

4. Put greens in glass bowl in the microwave covered with water (so you don't die of scary plastic toxins) and cook for about 4 min.

5. While both of those are cooking mix all other ingredients minus spaghetti sauce together.

6. Put thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the pan.

7. Drain water out of greens. Chop finely. I actually just added to the mixture and used the immersion blender to mix everything up. It worked amazingly but if you don't have one I'm sure you could do it by hand it'll just take longer.

8. If doing by hand, add finely chopped greens to cheese mixture.

9. Put shells open side up in the pan.

10. Dollop cheese and greens filling inside shells.

11. Cover with another layer of spaghetti sauce.

12. Sprinkle dish with left over mozzarella cheese.

13. Cook at 375 for 20 minutes.

14. Serve with french bread and broccoli to your loving husband who has been doing manly work the garage this whole time while you are in the air conditioned house. =)

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10 ways to increase motivation

I love running. Love, love, love it. It makes such a difference in my life. Even my husband notices. If I come home grumpy or stressed about my job many nights he suggest that maybe I should go for a run. When I return I come home transformed. I leave the house a pit bull and come home Labrador, smiling and singing (yes I sing way more than I should). I think I've even noticed this as well with Lulubelle. If she's being overly aggressive with Rupert if you let her out in the yard to run around a couple times she comes back all smiling and tail wagging. This phenomenon of course is biological. I even know this. I tell depressed kids/teens this constantly. I beg, plead, cajole them to go outside to raise those serotonin levels. Sunlight + movement= Smiling faces. So, I clearly know this and preach this on a daily basis. But even I struggle with motivation. It's hot in the Alabama summer and I work LONG hours. I can only imagine all of you other Americans who are overworked and underpaid (Little J included) struggle probably more than I do since you don't get to play Candyland all day or talk about running. So, Here are some things that help me stay motivated. Maybe they will help you too. I don't always do all of these and all of them don't always work but they do help.

1. Some days I just straight up tell myself "You need to go workout."

2. When do art therapy in sessions draw pictures of rolling hills and stick figure girls running. I tell my clients it's what makes me feel happy.

3. I surround myself with running reminders. I have a sticker about running on my car. I have pictures of past races on my screen saver. I have my Disney metal hanging from my rear view mirror. These are little daily reminders to keep it fresh in my mind.

4. I have people that keep me accountable even if they are not quite a zealots like me. I call Little J and chat about it. I tell Mr. C about my intentions to run and I know from experience he will ask me about it and talk about it if I don't.

5. I block off time in my schedule on Mondays to do my long runs. I actually write it down on my Monday to do list and check it off when I'm done.

6. I facebook or blog it. I don't always facebook it but sometimes I do and I know they will keep me accountable.

7. I subscribe to the Runner's World daily kick in the butt. HERE. It's emailed every morning and really is very inspirational.

8. I read John Bingham's blog HERE. John Bingham is one of my favorite runner's. He champions people like you and me who run but will never be Olympians. He is funny and insightful and I admit I teared up over some of the stuff he says.

9. I look at my calendar and schedule out my races just enough to keep me moving year round. I can never slow down because I'm always training for something. Before I even run a race I pick out my next race to always keep me moving.

10. Recently I find causes I believe in and run for them. It really changes your perspective if you are doing it for something bigger than yourself. I've blogged a lot about my upcoming autism run and just today Ron (my father in law) has sent me another one I'm not likely to miss for Mercy Ministries.

So, you are probably not going to sit around and draw pictures of you running but if you are feeling low on motivation try to incorporate a couple of these things and see how they can help. =)


csa meals week 5

(First, I don't know what happened but today I'm having problems with picasa. Please excuse my pic and meal plan being in different posts.)

Look at that box! EGGS, yes EGGS that are local and organic. I know I say this every week but we have never got a box this good. I honestly believe this year is way better than last year and last year wasn't bad.

Well, we've already eaten the lettuce, cucumbers, and bell pepper in salad. Squash, zucchini, and green beans I'm going to flash freeze for winter. Last year we ate most everything and winter came we didn't eat too healthy. This year we are being good squirrels and I'm going to put away a good amount of food for later.

Sunday: church picnic. we are bringing some twice baked potatoes I have in the freezer I made a huge batch of and then Mr. C decided he didn't really like them. The fine folks at The Brook will get the pleasure of enjoying them.

Monday: Haluski with oven roasted chicken and beetnik cake. (cabbage and beets)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday cauliflower curry in the crockpot

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Stuffed shells filled with ricotta and beet greens 

Saturday: gone to Nashville to visit our dads

CSA week 5


Meal plan week 4

What's in the box this week: 1 head of cabbage, 4 beets and beet greens, a head of lettuce, cauliflower, 4 cucumbers, 3 squash, green onions, and green beans.

We have already eaten the squash, lettuce, and the cucumbers.

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Mr. C has requested wonton soup with moo shoo chicken/seitan (cabbage and green onions)

Tuesday: Grilled steak/tofu, skillet green beans, and cauliflower salad.

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday:Mexican night(ish) with roasted beet salsa and tacos.

Friday: Hot dogs

Saturday: Homemade pizzas

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Look at my garden grow!

Remember my accidental gardening?

Well, here it is again and I'm now pretty confident it's a melon. It's hard to see but there is even a bloom starting to grow. Gardening really reminds me how amazing God is. His blessing a random plant in my yard like this really reminds me how He loves and blesses me (and you too).

Just imagine as he provides rain and sunlight for this meager melon he provides so much more for me and you to grow and blossom.


My efforts to raise money for my run

I've been blogging about my run for autism and my attempts to raise money. Well, let me tell you my personal attempt to raise money for my run. Kyle and I are on a very tight budget but I believe we can find the money to donate to OAR as well. Each month we spend $20 just for fun on each of us. Also, We spend about $120 on groceries. My goal for fundraising is to do somewhat of a pantry challenge. I will limit my spending for June and July to essentials. I will only buy what is necessity and with the money that I manage to save I will donate all proceeds to OAR. So, here's to my pantry challenge and saving money for Danae.

The run that almost wasn't

Back in April I blogged about my plan to challenge myself for Chicago. Well, I paid for the Cotton Row 10K and I was pumped. I had a plan and a structure to get me to my goal of the 3 hour half marathon.

Then my mom mentioned that my grandpa would give his riding lawn mower if we would just pick it up. Well, right now we have about an acre and Mr. C is push mowing. He was fine with it but it takes about 3 1/2 hours to do so if something happened the lawn doesn't get done. So, that offer and the fact that my other grandma had offered a tiller for a garden were just too much to pass up (not to mention that we only spent a day in Texas over Christmas and barely got to visit). Anyway we realized that Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time to go get it. Therefore my dreams of the Cotton Row Run went out the window.

Well, my parents decided to go with us to Texas and decided to drive, the wonderful people they are. So, as planned we went to Dallas and saw the family there. Then we went to Henderson. My dad decided he wanted to leave Sunday night instead of Monday morning because of traffic on the road. Well, he was driving so we left early. We left Texas at 4pm and got into Nashville about 1:30am. Well, with the decision to come back early I got to thinking that the Cotton Row Run was a reality. Woo hoo! I mentioned this to Mr. C and him being the wonderful, amazing, supportive husband that he is agreed that upon arriving in Nashville in the middle of the night we would pick the mutt children up at his parents (another set of amazing people who willing dogsit our children during most of our traveling adventures) and he would drive another 1 1/2 hours so I could make my race. Well, we did just that. We got into Huntsville about 3:30am. We were both tired but Mr. C was exhausted due to the fact that I slept off and on since 9pm that night in the car and he was awake.

Well, 6am rolls around and I trot down to Huntsville and run my 10K. I finished the Cotton Row Run in record time! Not a huge difference but improvement is all that matters. You know what? Even though I was tired it was really due to my family. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't have even made it to the start line. I think even though I'm the one running it's a family effort most of the time. I am so lucky to have supportive family.

Speaking of family, next up Chicago Rock'n Roll Half Marathon where I'll be running for Danae.

CSA and meal plan week #3

This week in the box:

zucchini, Cauliflower, Strawberries, Green onions, Broccoli, Beets (beet greens), Cabbage, and Mystery greens

The meal plan:

Monday- We went to a cookout with our neighbors. Nothing healthy was made or eaten.

Tuesday- Beet risotto with spinach garlic bread

Wednesday- Cabbage rolls in the crock pot

Thursday- Leftovers

Friday- Veggie/sausage calzones (mystery greens) with zucchini chips

Saturday- Tandoori chicken/tofu with roasted cauliflower

I am going to blanch the broccoli and throw it in the freezer for later in the year. I'm sure we'll just eat the strawberries and I'll cook with the green onions.