Off the Map

I’m not sure what I’ve been doing lately to keep me so busy, but it seems that it’s been a lot. I’ve been trying to catch up with school work and I just got back from an extra long weekend trip to the beach with my family. Lucky for me, Jonathan and Caroline’s fall breaks fell over the same weekend and even though I didn’t have a fall break, I didn’t have any mandatory classes on Friday or this morning, so I was able to have three whole days at the beach. I was able to get a good amount of school work done while I was there, which makes the trip even better. It was so nice to listen to the ocean and be in a different place while I studied. While I did get things done, I still have a lot to do to catch up for my test week. It’s coming up in two weeks, which means it’s crunch time for studying. I may be a little distracted from trying new recipes these next few weeks since I’ll be busy catching up and studying. I already feel a little distracted from new recipes; it’s been easier to make things that I’ve made before lately since I already know what goes into them. I only made one new recipe last week, so sadly, that’s all I have to share with you. I’ll try to have more next time, but until then I’ll be catching up on school.

Fall Vegetable Curry
Curry is yet another thing I’ve been wanting to try to make. I can’t think of a time that I’ve ever actually had it and I know I’ve never made it, so this was a first time for both. The fact that I had leftovers from this recipe may be part of the reason that I only have one recipe to share this week. Michael and I made this one night and served it over rice. I really liked it and thought it was really easy to make. You basically just chop up all ingredients and put them in one big pot together and let them cook for a little while. Curry and cilantro were the only spices/herbs called for, but curry is plenty strong to give it enough flavor. The leftovers were good cold or hot and with or without rice.  Click here for the recipe. Sorry to be so short this week, but I’ve got lots to do!

It’s Fall Y’all

I can’t believe that it’s already October. How has the year flown by so fast? Not only did the last summer of my life fly by, but my second year of medical school is quickly catching up with that trend. I wasn’t ready for the Summer to end, I’m usually not, but this year I just really wasn’t looking forward to the cooler weather. Cooler weather makes it difficult to run outside, which is really all I like to do for my exercise. Last fall/winter I got my exercise mainly from doing Just Dance on the Wii. This year, my sister and I are thinking about giving Pure Barre a try. If you’ve never heard of Pure Barre, I’m not sure that I can really tell you what it is. I’ve heard that it’s kind of a mix between yoga and pilates and that it will give you an intense workout. I’ll let you know how that goes when we give it a try. Speaking of updating you on how things are going, I guess I should report back on how my first week on three desserts went. Wwweeellll, technically I had four desserts. I would try to make excuses and say that it was Jackson Restaurant week and two of my desserts were based on voting for the Jackson Free Clinic, which is true, but it’s no excuse for breaking a deal. There are a couple other excuses I could make for my overindulgence on sweets last week, but the only real excuse is that I just got lazy and decided to cheat. Now, what should I do to solve the problem? I can’t decide if I should tack on more running or just take away one of my desserts for this week. Doing both would probably be the best idea, considering I did eat out more than usual last week so that I could vote for Jackson Restaurant Week. I did manage to run three times, which kind of compensates. I’m going to the beach with my family this weekend, so I don’t know how easy it will be to control what I’m eating (I can’t force everyone into my diet plan, as much as I want to, they just won’t let me). I’m hoping the beach will be warm enough to go running every day. Anyway, here are a couple recipes. Hopefully I’ll be trying some good fall weather recipes soon that I can share with you. Hope you’re enjoying the cool (not freezing) weather, pumpkin spice, and fall decorations.

Eggplant and Tomato Gratin
I’ve been wanting to make something with eggplant in it for a while, but haven’t been able to find the right recipe. Well, I think I can say this was definitely a good recipe to try! It was kind of a vegetable lasagna but, without the noodles. The oregano and garlic contributed a really good Italian flavor, especially combined with the parmesan cheese. This one is low on calories too, only 86 per serving. I had it for dinner and was actually plenty full because I’d had a heavy lunch as wasn’t that hungry. I had leftovers with a salad for lunch the next day. I think it made a great light dinner, but would make a great side to baked chicken or fish as well. I’m adding this one to my favorites list and will definitely be making it again. Click here for the recipe.

Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Another something I’ve been wanting to try! I made this one a couple months ago, but wasn’t too impressed by it so I’ve been blogging about the “better turnouts” instead. It’s not that this is a bad recipe, I think it was more “user error” that made this dish slightly sub par. Any time that I’ve tried stuffing something it always ends up squeezing out the side when I cook it and making a mess when I try to eat it. This time, I figured adding a little extra meat would help keep the feta cheese stuffed inside. It definitely helped with that, but my burger was so thick that it took forever to cook all the way through and it ended up getting a little more charred on the outside than I prefer. I used an iron skillet instead of the grill, so I think in that case (at least for me), you want to try to make a thinner burger and cook it on a medium flame, instead of high like I did. This way it cooks a little slower and you can avoid the char on the outside. I think that’s pretty true for anything that you cook in a skillet– lower heat will cook it all the way through without burning the outside. The flavor really wasn’t bad, it just turned out a little overdone and tough. Oh yeah, I opted out on the bun and just had some dijon mustard on the side. I’ve gotten to the point I actually enjoy my burgers more without the bun. Hopefully I’ll try this one again sometime and it will turn out better. Let me know if you have any tips for stuffing things and keeping the stuffing on the inside! Click here for the recipe.

On another note, the MS State Fair started last week. I took a trip with friends tonight, mainly to sample the fried food. I’m embarrassed to say how much I ate, don’t worry, I didn’t go for the donut hamburger or anything too crazy. Just your traditional chicken on a stick, funnel cake, and a few bites of other random things that we shared. My friend, Linley, came up with the idea that I should blog about what you could heat at the fair that was on the healthier side. I don’t know that it’s possible. You could get water… I did notice a few places that had non-fried options, but I’m willing to bet they still aren’t too healthy. Good thing the fair only comes around once a year right?? Enjoy it if you go, but be prepared to feel miserably full afterwards if you eat more than one thing.

It’s Just Like Riding a Bike

I don’t know how many times I’ve blogged about getting back on track or getting back into the swing of my diet and exercise routine. I’m starting to realize that it’s becoming a little too common. After my test week a couple weeks ago, I really felt like I had strayed from my routine simply because I was so busy studying so I was excited to get back on track this past week. I don’t really feel like that happened though. I was good at the beginning of the week, running on both Monday and Tuesday, and I was pretty good about what I ate every day, except maybe Wednesday when I had a lunch and dinner event that involved meals. Even though I half way got back into my routine, I can tell I’m not fully there. I fell weighed down and tired, and I can tell I’ve eaten more carbohydrates and less fruits and veggies than usual because I just don’t fell as energetic as I normally do. Keeping this blog has really helped me think about the decisions that I make when I eat and exercise. I can sit around and tell myself that I need to be doing better all day, but writing it down and sharing it with my friends and family really helps keep me accountable. While I know most of you aren’t religiously addicted to my blog (if you are, you might need to get out a little more) it helps to know that at least one person I know will probably read what I have to say and know whether or not I’ve been exercising or eating healthy. I’ve said a million times that living a healthy life style is easy, especially once you get the hang of it, and I still believe that it is. But, it’s important to realize that it’s not always easy. With my tests and numerous other activities that I’ve been involved with over the past few weeks, I’ve been especially aware of how difficult and tempting it can be to stray from a healthy routine. I’m what they call a “stress eater,” I like to eat comfort food when I’m stressed out to feel better. While my comfort foods and stress eating habits have gotten healthier over the past year, I still don’t like the fact that I allow myself to fall into that habit. Eating too many sweets is what I really struggle with so, I’m constantly working to try to keep my dessert intake to a minimum. I chose a bad time to end my month without dessert; it ended the week before test week, the perfect time to make excuses that eating all the dessert I want is okay. Now that I have sufficiently quenched that craving, I’m going to try to only have three desserts a week. I’ve used moderation with all of my other dieting habits and I think it really works the best, so why not use it with desserts too? I’m being realistic when I say I just can’t cut sweets out of my life, but there’s no reason to go on an ice cream frenzy any time I feel slightly stressed out. I’ll keep you posted on that project. In other news… this week is Jackson Restaurant Week and the Jackson Free Clinic is one of the charities in the running to win $10,000! If you live in Jackson go out to eat and vote for the free clinic. You can find more info about restaurant week here.

My First Pie
I know I was just talking about how badly I need to moderate my dessert intake, but I just can’t not tell y’all that I made my first pie all on my own yesterday. I’m a huge fan of Almond Joy and so is my friend Zach (I think we’re in the minority on this one), so when I found this recipe on Pinterest I had to try it. I just couldn’t resist. Zach offered to buy the ingredients and help me eat the pie (to avoid me having to eat it all in one sitting) if I made it. The perfect plan, which I think I executed quit nicely yesterday as a study break. It was really easy to make and didn’t really take much time either. I think the hardest part was resisting the urge to lick the bowl of melted chocolate leftovers clean. I know some of you must be confused as to why I would talk about making such a decadent dessert since my whole blog is about being healthy, but like I said, some things are needed… just in moderation. I’ve only had one piece of the pie so far and will probably be taking it to school tomorrow to let Zach and some of our administrators have the rest. I think that’s pretty good moderation, plus it’s fun to share treats with other people. Click here for the recipe, just don’t make it too often!

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas
Now for some healthier recipes. This recipe has been on my list for a while now, but somehow every time I planned to make it, something came up and I just couldn’t make it. Well, I’m glad I finally made myself try it because it’s super delicious and of course easy. It kind of turned out like a mexican pizza. I hope the paper plate in the photo doesn’t distract you from how delicious it looks, but I just don’t have time to do a million dishes tonight. Anyway, all you have to do is season the chicken with some cumin, salt and pepper and sauté it for a few minutes. When it’s a little more than halfway done, you add your mixture of summer vegetables and green salsa and simmer until the chicken is done and the veggies are tender. I heated my tortilla in a 350 degree oven instead of using the broiler, but you could do either. I also used frozen corn instead of fresh, but it’s pretty much the same thing if you ask me. Fresh cilantro and green onion on the top gives an extra fresh flavor that definitely complements the cumin on the chicken very well. I’m going to have the leftover chicken and vegetable mixture for lunch tomorrow and I’m already excited about it. Click here for the recipe.

Summer Vegetable Quinoa
This recipe is a result of not making the above recipe. Since I had planned to make the tostadas and bought all the ingredients, I had to  use the ingredients so I wouldn’t waste them. I came up with this quick quinoa recipe to use the fresh zucchini and red onion that I didn’t want to waste. I remember I just wasn’t in the mood for making anything elaborate one night and it was easy to make some quinoa and toss in some veggies. I cooked the frozen corn with the quinoa (just pour it in frozen at the same time you put the quinoa in). I sauteed red onion and zucchini for a few minutes then tossed everything together with some feta cheese, pepper, a little red wine vinegar and olive oil. Even though it used the same ingredients as the tostada recipe, the two dishes have very different flavors. Since this one had feta cheese and red wine vinegar, it was a little more Greek/Mediterranean. Obviously the tostada recipe is Mexican due to the cumin, jack cheese, and cilantro. I think this is a fun example of how you can use the same ingredients to make two very different meals. It helps save money and keeps you from wasting food. It’s also fun to just toss things together and see if you like them.

Back to studying now, have a great week!