Category Archives: Healthy Living

Blogs about fitness, health-conscious foods, and mental health

Daily Journal 3-21-2014

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My first week back to the land of the living has been busy and I’m so thankful!!  If you’ve read my previous posts from the 18th and the 28th, you’ll know that I’ve been feeling b l a h for quite a while, so getting some pep back in my step feels like a big deal!  I wish I knew what exactly to attribute it to as I have been eating a little better, taking an herbal supplement, and spring has finally graced our hillsides with warm breezes, but I like to think it’s because my Shoulder Angel has been looking out for me ♥

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Tender Boiled Cabbage

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St. Patrick's Day Irish Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets

St. Patrick’s Day Irish Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets

Last night’s dinner was simple Irish fare for St. Patrick’s Day: Tender Boiled Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets.  Both items were easy and quick with minimal clean-up.

Cabbage is low in calories, rich in phytonutrients and vitamins like A, C, and K, and it is high in dietary fiber.  It’s an easy-to-cook, easy-to-like, cruciferous veggie that is one of my faves.  It loses nutrients if it is cooked, and more-so if it is cooked too long or too hot.  Keep it tender but still retain as much of the good stuff as possible by giving it an occasional poke to test for doneness.  If the house starts stinking, it’s cooked too long!

Here’s my green cabbage “recipe”:

Basically just boil, drain, serve!

Fill a large stockpot or pasta pot with water, leaving room for displacement by the cabbage head.
I use the pot of my pressure-cooker.  It’s heavy with a thick bottom and holds several gallons.
Heat it to a low simmer.

Rinse the cabbage head.

Remove the outermost leaves and discard.
(I compost these or give ’em to my bunny-bun-bun, Duchess)

Cut the cabbage head in half through its stem.
Trim the very end of the stem off, but don’t cut too far as it holds the halves together.

If you notice buggies or wormies, place your cut cabbage in salty water or vinegar water solution to kill & remove them then rinse and continue. They had a tasty cabbage for their last meal!

Add a lot of salt to the pot of water!
How much is a lot? I dunno…I dump some in until it tastes like seawater (YUM!).
Give it a quick stir.

Plop the two cabbage halves (carefully) into the simmering water and go set the table.
It’s a good time to set your butter out so it can soften in time for dinner. It always takes my hubby at least 15 minutes to get ready for dinner so now’s when I give him the dinner bell.

Start checking the cabbage after about 15 minutes.
Poke it with one of those long, stabby meat-forks…they have a name, right? The cabbage should be this beautiful, translucent light green and it should not be stinky or falling apart which would mean it had overcooked.  The time depends on the size, obviously, but it will never take more than 30 minutes.

When it’s done, remove it with tongs and lay it cut-side down in a colander in the sink and let it drain for a few minutes.

Cut each half in half and serve each person a quarter.
Flay the leaves open a bit and add a few dabs of butter.  If you added enough salt to the water, the cabbage will not need any other seasoning!  If you erred on the safe side, you’ll need to sprinkle with salt or you could mash some kosher salt into the butter before serving. Sometimes I’ll pepper it as well, but I usually keep it super-simple and really let the cabbage shine with just salt and butter.
Another serving option is to cut the cooked cabbage into bite-sized pieces after draining it and then tossing butter and seasonings with it in a bowl and serve each portion in a small dish.

Some people don’t like the less-tender (and mostly flavor-less) core and they cut it out before cooking, but I find it helps keep the head together if it’s left in.  I like to eat it (it’s healthy!) but if you don’t, just leave that part and eat the outer leaves or cut it right before serving.

 

I think that’s it, but if you have any questions about how to pick out a good cabbage, cook it, or want some ideas for what to serve it with, let me know in the comments!

Taking Photos is Killing My Pace Time

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Days three and four of my new running regimen are complete and I am already feeling stronger and have more energy throughout the rest of my day.  Hubby and I took yesterday off and today was walking only, though, because we were both nearly crippled with shin pain.  It was nearly unbearable for him because he spends his days up and down ladders, but I am a bit luckier as I spend my days at home and can take it easy as necessary.  I still feel good that we stayed active and we did resistance band training while watching tv last night in lieu of jogging.

It’s amazing what a good pair of running shoes can do!  I almost always experience foot pain when walking or jogging and so far I have experienced almost none with my new shoes!  That’s one less reason to hate running!  They feel supportive, grippy, light, and the cushioning is a welcome relief.  I guess I should mention that they are Saucony Grid Cohesion 6 and I absolutely love them so far.  It’s my first ever pair of Saucony but I did quite a bit of reading before I purchased them.

Isn’t our neck of the woods beautiful?! It’s hard not to stop every few feet to snap a picture!

I just installed and starting fiddling with my new photo editing and organizing software, Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Premiere 10.  It’s not entirely intuitive and the manual is almost worthless.  There is actually an e-book I saw for sale called, “Photoshop Elements 10: The Missing Manual”, so I guess I’m not the only one who thinks it’s not adequate.  I’m sure as I play with it more and find some resources on how to get more out of it, my photos will improve.  The pictures above are my first stab at it and I was playing with a certain vignette effect.  I think until I improve I will go back to using the Windows 8 photo editing program which works fine enough.
The pics below are from this morning’s walk.  We always sees dozens of bunnies and sometimes deer and even chipmunks!  The chippies are a bit too fast to catch on camera.  It might be easier to get a good shot if I had my regular digital camera as I could zoom in from further back to catch them before they spot us and scamper off, but it’s just so much easier to carry my iPhone as I use it for my running app and music anyway.

Geese on the lawn at Stornoway house

Geese on the lawn at Stornoway house

It's downhill from here

It’s downhill from here

Geese on the dewy lawn at Stornoway

Geese on the dewy lawn at Stornoway

The neighborhood entrance

The neighborhood entrance

Heading back up.  Goose crossing.

Heading back up. Goose crossing.

That's not a goose!

That’s not a goose!

I Am A Runner Because I Run

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On a run in the morning. Willows over a dewy, manicured lawn.

I like to start new things as evidenced by this blog which I started not too long ago and then let sit idle for some time.  It’s just who I am; I like trying and learning new things and am often unimpressed, overwhelmed, or spread too thinly amongst all my interests to continue committing to my newest endeavor.  It’s a side-effect of being a complex gal but never something I feel whole-heartedly good about.  I’d like to be a person who can find an interest and be devoted to doing it the very best that I can and develop it into an extraordinary facet of my life.  I think my pursuit of becoming a better -me- keeps me reflective of who I am and what I’ve done and keeps me striving to expand my current horizon.

My newest endeavor is to become healthier.  A noble pursuit for anyone and one I try constantly so that in itself is not really so new, but the way by which I hope to achieve it is: I’m becoming a runner.  This may not seem unusual, interesting, or pivotal to many, but if you knew how much I have disliked running my entire life, well, you’d understand why it’s worthy of a lengthy, soul-searching blog post!

I ran as a child; the obligatory laps for P.E. class at school, for school sports training for my softball and basketball teams, and even for the soccer games I occasionally liked to participate in.  I hated all of it.  Loathed it.  But don’t misunderstand my disdain for it to mean that I was not good at it.  I joined the “Mile Club” in elementary school at South Morrison in Newport News, Virginia at the behest of my P.E. teacher and a wonderful woman who I looked up to, Mrs. VonOlen, who thought I’d enjoy it and be good at it.   I have never really liked showing any weakness or fault and I definitely have always seen someone who did not like running to be “lazy, fat, and sad”.  The first thing that comes to mind when I hear that someone does not like running is the exact opposite: a couch potato.  It’s like there’s no middle ground.  And since I, myself, fell into the “I hate running” category, I was also putting myself into the “couch potato” one.  Self-loathing– that will be a recurring theme I’m sure.  So because I was fighting my self-image of being a “couch potato”, I joined the Mile Club, got the T-shirt for it and ran a mile one day every week with the rest of the club.  I felt special because I got to wear the T-shirt and get out of class while we ran.  I smiled as I ran and was usually one of the first to finish.  Because like Ricky Bobby says in Talladega Nights, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”  Being last was just not an option for striving-to-be-perfect me.  So I had to be first at everything even if I hated it.

A cheesy smile plus blinking equals a pained expression.

And that was only elementary school! I continued to hate running without fail, but I did it and was pretty good at making people think I enjoyed it and was good at it.  Because liking running was almost as important at being good at it.  I have very vivid memories of running around the track and ball-fields in agony and anguish but pushing through it so I could finish at the front of the pack and look like the winner I didn’t feel like inside.  And so as an adult in the (hopefully) middle of my life, I can look back and see that while it was healthy to run and to be determined and dedicated to do things that were good for me even if I didn’t like them, I acknowledge that I don’t have to like running or be good at it to not be a couch potato.  However, the inner, self-deprecating voice in my being wants to fix this life-long “flaw” and try running again (and like it!).  I’m giving it another shot.  Who knows? I might just take to it this time.

I like the idea of running:  no equipment required, do it anywhere, see things you might not see otherwise, and the freeing feeling of the elusive Runner’s High.
But then there’s all the things that I detest: the sweat, the foot pain, the jarring ta-ta’s, the itchy skin, the jiggling fat, the taste of copper, the headache, the painful breathing.  In winter my extremities are cold and my face hurts from the wind, my eyes tearing and stinging so badly that I can’t see.  The rest of the year I feel overheated and winded and utterly embarrassed that I just can’t run with any grace whatsoever.

A gaggle of geese by Piedmont Farm pond.

Hubby bought a pair of running shoes for me Saturday night and I’ve run every morning since. Yes, all two of them!  I did my research and found a good pair on sale.  I’m giving them a week to see if they can magically make me a runner.  If not, they’re going back.  So far, so good. Two days and three miles and I’m not dead.  Granted that I probably only ran about .5 miles out of the three, but it’s a start.

I even “ran” into a neighbor who I haven’t seen in over six months!  There are only about ten houses in a 2 mile radius, so that’s saying something!  He has a Christmas Tree farm called Elysium Tree Farm about a mile down the road and he lives across from it.  Hubby and I met him before we even moved into this place.  It was right at Christmastime and Hubby was going to get a tree for the new house even if it was a little late, but he was just too busy getting other things done for the move so it never happened, but it was so nice meeting a friendly neighbor in a new place.  Of course, when I ran into him this morning as he was on a walk of his own and apparently picking up trash for his Adopt a Highway segment of our road, I am sure I looked ghastly and I was a bit embarrassed when I thought about it later.

The views on the path I have chosen to take while I’m easing into this new activity are beautiful and inspiring.  I stopped to take a few pictures on the way because our corner of the world here is just so beautiful! I want to capture it to remember it forever!  Perhaps my love of photography and nature will be a constant motivator and will help this try be successful.  Perhaps I will fail to become a “runner”.  But I will not fail to run!

Country road running in the morn.  Clarks Mountain Road.