Friday, June 24, 2011

Guest Post- Spinach and Skittles and a curry recipe two-fer!

Hello lupies, family, and friends!  My hubby and I arrived in beautiful San Diego last night this morning at around 1:30 am to celebrate our two year anniversary.  While I'm gone I may do some blogging, but I've learned over time that it's good to ask for some help.  
Leila's recipe contains curry- one of my favorite spice mixtures that contains turmeric.  Now, turmeric is a BOMB spice with lots of medical benefits thanks to an active ingredient called curcumin.  (My husband Kevin, making his first guest appearance on the blog:  "Also, it's real bomb at staining white counter tops.")  Freaking white counter tops.  I digress, as I always do... Curcumin is an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory and cancer fighter to boot.  My homeslice- Chef MD, can back me up.
Enjoy!  And THANK YOU Leila!

Howdy y'all, I'm Leila, and I have a (trying to be) healthy living blog over at Spinach and Skittles. Kara and I met on The Knot while we were planning our weddings. Last week she was kind enough to do a guest post for me, so this week I'm returning the favor. Today I have a yummy curry dressing recipe to share with you.


Ever since eating the Creamy Curry Salad at The Elk my senior year of college I've been in love with curry as a salad dressing base. I tried to recreate it in my younger years, but each attempt yielded very little pleasure to my palate. But last week when I visited Winthrop, WA I encountered yet another creamy curry dressing. Only this time coconut milk was involved.
Be still my heart!
I spent my last evening in Winthrop dissecting the dressing, trying to determine what the ingredients were. Upon returning home, I quickly got to work in my kitchen, adjusting ingredients until I had the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. Unfortunately, I didn't have any coconut milk in my pantry, and I was too lazy to run to the store. So I used honey instead, and it worked quite well. But next time I think I'll sub half the Greek yogurt, and all of the honey, for an equal amount of coconut milk. If you test it out before me, let me know how it tastes.

Creamy Curry Dressing

Serves: 3 (4 TBS; 1 TBS + 1 tsp per serving)
Nutritionals: Cal: 40, Carb: 5g, Fat: 2g, Pro: 1g
3 TBS Greek Yogurt
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1.5 TBS Honey
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Combine all ingredients, except EVOO, and mix well. Slowly add EVOO, mixing until emulsified. Serve over your favorite salad or use to marinade your chicken, fish, or tofu.
I chose to make a creamy curry salad mixture, which I used as a filling for a wrap (with the best tortillas ever) the first day, and as a salad my second day. Watch out, this is a two-fer recipe post!

Creamy Curry Garbanzo Salad

2 TBS Creamy Curry Dressing (above)
2-3 cups Spinach
1/2 Cup Garbanzo Beans (rinsed, drained)
4 Grape Tomatoes, diced
2 TBS Walla Walla Sweet Onion, diced (can sub red onion)
2 TBS Orange Bell Pepper, diced (can sub red or yellow)
1 oz Goat Cheese
Combine all ingredients, coating well with the creamy curry dressing. Split evenly between two tortillas, or add more spinach and eat as a salad.
What is your favorite curry recipe?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer is Here!

It took awhile, but it's arrived in California.  I swear we hit triple digits today.  I enjoy the heat, but have come to have a complicated relationship with summer.  Lupus tends to eff up some of the joys of the seasons.  For example, I will probably never partake in a snowball fight ever again.  Similarly, laying out by the lake is now something that takes a lot of effort to prepare for and I'm often so preoccupied I can't enjoy it for long.
I'm talking about that beautiful, scorching, California sun.

Sun... sun... Mr. Golden Sun... please shine down on me! don't sear my flesh!

I've been trying my best to stay on top of things, but it's really difficult to remember to put on sunscreen all the damn time.  Before home visits, before taking out the trash, before walking the dog...  it's a bit insane.  I've found a new favorite- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer.
Normally I rock Banana Boat, but it feels so icky to wear throughout the day, especially when I'm going to work.  This stuff is fantastic, minus the price.  At Costco they have a two-pack for around fifteen bucks.  Kinda steep for two dinky bottles.  But, one in my purse and one in my desk at work keeps my face from itchy, blistery, red ickyness.
In the latest Lupus Foundation newsletter, they featured an article on sun sensitivity.  Not much that I didn't already know, except the information about sensitivity to indoor lighting.  That stuff was pretty bonkers.  I'm not sure if I'm bothered by this or not, never stopped to think of it.  I wonder how one figures it out...
Anywho, they also discussed the fashionable* world of protective clothing, which I've been contemplating for some time now.  I just can't seem to pull the trigger, though.

I LOVE this wrap, but it's sixty bucks!  If I had this cuteness, would I wear it all the time?  Is it light enough to wear in these hot California summers?  And finally, which freaking color would/should I buy so that I can wear it with everything?  Seriously, for sixty bucks I'm not buying more than one color.

 What do you think?  Pull the trigger?  I like the green...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

Fun news before I get into it:  This post is also being featured on my friend Lelia's blog, Spinach and Skittles.  I'm hoping while I'm out of town next weekend she can return the favor by posting a healthy recipe or a fashion post or something.  I've been slacking.
So, here's some of the post I did for her.  Leila has been slow to fall in love with yoga (I know she will, though!) so I thought I would help her out.

My blog post is titled “The Best Laid Plans”.  And that would be because I intended to write a post on one of my new toys, a medium-strength resistance band I intended to add to my pool workout today:  Aquatic therapy is a very arthritis (and, therefore lupus)- friendly workout.  It’s also a great way to switch up your workout if you find yourself in a rut.
However, my brother-in-law was here visiting and I loaned him my pool key.  Then, I realized he would need a house key as well.  I put both on the pool keyring, leaving me with separate rings for my car/work and my home/pool.  After I got the ring back I never re-combined them.  I remember locking the house using the pool/house key ring before I went off to visit a client. That's the last time I remember seeing them...And now it’s missing... I'm sure that will cost some money to replace (mostly the pool key). Apartment complexes are cranky what you misplace their stuff. I'll just pretend like it's payback for my leaky fridge.
So, my new plan was yoga, which is nice since Leila hasn’t quite fallen in love yet.  Long ago, I would do P90X Yoga- a part of the Beach Body Workout.  Two car accidents (and two damn big boulders) later, I’ve lost the stamina to complete much of P90X.  In addition, my arthritis makes it difficult to do a few of the poses.  Then, I discovered these little beauties:

Rounded yoga blocks have helped tremendously with my form and fixes my issues with my hands in poses such as downward facing dog....

…and triangle pose.

...and corpse pose (one of my personal favorites)...

As Tony Horton says, he’s not in great shape because he can do a bunch of push-ups... it’s because he does yoga.  Yoga tones and encourages core strength.  I enjoy it because it slowly strengthens around my joints to support them.  I find that if I do yoga after bicycling or the elliptical my chances of a flare (arthritis acting up) is much less.  Yoga is great for all levels of flexibility, ability, and strength, not to mention great for clearing your mind.
On Leila's blog I took the time to explain why my blog was titled "Sisyphean Effort" and then I posted a very inappropriate photo from James Franco's movie 127 Hours... Then I brought it back to the movie star by bringing up that this is my favorite Yoga DVD:
This is the star of the series (best shot I could find):

They look alike to me.... seriously. Although I would take James Franco over a guy in purple yoga capris any day.
My point (I recognize that I digressed from my point long ago) is that yoga is hard to get into... especially if you’re a runner and you like “feeling it” immediately. In high school I was a hardcore tennis player and weightlifter.  As my lupus progressed, I yearned for ways to nurture my love of exercise. I actually fell in love with yoga with the P90X video- it was fast-paced and fun.  Others enjoy group experiences... that would freak me out as a beginner, but my goal is to be up for some hot yoga by winter!  Some studios offer brief individual sessions to offer personal tips, point out weak areas, and correct minor form flaws.  And let me say- yoga does NOT have to be super spiritual (or as I call it... hippie-dippie).  Find something you’re comfortable with and when you find something you like... STICK TO IT! I once went to a Piloga (Pilates and Yoga) class that nearly turned me off from both forms of exercise forever. Too hippie-dippie and they played music of running water that made me need to pee. I left the class early.  Experiment, and STICK TO IT! Just like I’m sticking to my James Franco look-alike.  

Now... what is stopping you from getting stronger, more flexible, and possibly- a more centered person?  I’m great at pep-talks if you need one!

**BTW, the blond beauty doing the poses is NOT me.  In the very first picture, I’m on the far right.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

WFD? Weekend post

Lots of yummy choices for this week. I'm especially excited for the lentil stew! And, let's note that we're off to San Diego on Thursday! Woot!
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weight loss tip: Visual appeal!

 Making your food look nice takes your mind away from the fact that you could have gotten a corndog and fries in Old Sac after leaving the train museum. In the future when I bring up visual appeal I think I won't use my camera phone.  Just a thought.  Lunch today is a salad with cucumber, olives, tomato, feta, almonds, and a white balsamic, and a simple turkey and swiss sammich. Fruit for dessert and light lemonade to round it out. All this for around 450 calories.

*Note: When I calorie count using the Calorie Counter App on my phone I typically leave out foods like cucumbers, spring mix, and fruits.  They barely show up in terms of calories, plus I never feel like I should worry if a salad will set me over my goal intake.
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Leila's green monster smoothie!

Leila's green monster smoothie. Her's turns a much prettier color of green... I think that's because I added more strawberries. I love that my breakfast has spinach in it!  I subbed in a cup of fat free Greek yogurt instead of using whey protein powder.

Recipe:  Leila's Green Monster Smoothie

  • 1-2 Cups of Spinach
  • 3/4 cup Tropical Fruit Medley (I used frozen pineapple and frozen strawberries and a fresh mango)
  • 1 Scoop of vanilla whey protein powder (again, I used Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
  • Water for consistency
Leila also recommended added chia seeds, which she talks about a lot on her blog... but other than that I had never heard of it or seen.  I hear they are omega-three-a-licious.  Next time I will, more than likely, add some flax seed if I can't find these magic seeds that Leila throws into everything.
We just bought a brand new blender with an awesome name- The Ninja!  I killed my old blender making peanut sauce for my chicken satay (Nom).  This blender is amazing- you could not have guessed I was blending whole frozen strawberries!

As always, please visit Leila's blog if you're interested in running, fashion, and generally trying to live healthy:

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

My favorite ice pack

This bag of edamame has been around at least a year.  I have no recollection of when, I only remember that Cooking Light had a recipe for steak and edamame salad.  It had arugula in it (I'm a sucker for that delicious pepper-y leaf).  Something must have happened- maybe the hubby took me out for a surprise sushi date (bazinga!).
Anywho, this bag has nursed many a sore knee, an aching neck, and tonight some sore hands (attempted to do yoga sans my Three Minute Eggs).  Unlike actual medical ice packs, my edamame doesn't make me turn purple and it conforms with body parts instead of sitting on top at an awkward angle.

Do you have any unusual methods of nursing your injuries?
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Flarin' but feelin' good!

I've been a bit achy for the past few days.  I think it was due to all this fun weather in sunny California:
Yeah, that's a funnel cloud.

So, the weather has been very un-Cali the past few days.  It's June and I haven't even been camping yet due to rain, snow, and/or unseasonably cold temperatures.  I don't like it and it's making me cranky... therefore the weather will be getting all the blame for my achy joints, muscle weakness, and fatigue.  Oh, and let's not forget the mild fever and night sweats.  Who doesn't love night sweats?
Extra big for your cartoon pleasure (Source)

I think the saddest part about my flare is that I'm having jaw pain.  That's right people- your jaw is a joint.  It can be inflamed just like any other part of your body.
.... which is damn shame when you're eating a super delicious Footlong Veggie Delite.

I was going to add a picture here of my sandwich, but I didn't take one.  I thought I would do a GIS (Google Image Search), but it just didn't feel organic.  My sandwich was delicious- I didn't feel that some stock photo would do it justice.  Plus, most stock photos have bell peppers peeking out- the one veggie I don't put on my sandwich.

I've been relying on GIS for a long time... mostly because in order to upload photos I have to hook up my camera to the TV computer, which is a hassle.  After my BIL visits I'll upload pics.  Until then, you get GIS, some pictures from my Facebook, and maybe a mobile upload now and again.

.....I digress.....

But, back to the flare dealio- this flare is not too bad!  Compared to the flares I endured while in school- this is a breeze!  I can walk, I can exercise a bit to get my joints moving... I can even cook dinner instead of Kevin running to Subway to get me a veggie delite (I'm obsessed).  Today, I did at least an hour on my exercise bike.  I felt pretty good!
This pansy-ass flare (I'm going to mock it to see if it comes back with a vengence) could be attributed to a few things:
  1. I've been exercising more.                                                                                
  2. I've been eating better.
  3. My stress level is much lower.
I've been rocking the exercise- a nice balance of biking and yoga-ing and squeezing in some pool time when there's no damned funnel clouds.  I know that exercise helps prevent stiffness, but could it account for my whole flare being easier?

Eating better.... hmmm.... I've been avoiding preservatives, eating healthy with lots of veggies and some healthy oils, and not gorging myself on sugar.  Could this be it?  I definitely feel better when I eat hummus and carrots and ignore the candy bowl.  Hmmm...  

And now, the stress level- the most likely culprit.  I am so relaxed!  It's absolutely bonkers.  I do still volunteer three times per week, but having that (and weekend laundry) as the only responsibilities in my life is just fantastic.  My chin is acne free (that's how I usually know I'm stressed), and I'm taking time in the evenings to be with my husband and my dog and to just enjoy their company.  It's wonderful. I seriously think that my new stress level is the reason for my absent flares and now my pansy-ass flares.  Maybe doctors know what's up when they tell me to tone it down.

...Now if only I could unhinge my jaw enough to eat....
I GISed for "snake unhinged jaw" and got this.  Much cuter.  (Source)
Any joints giving you trouble today?  How do you work to prevent flares?

Meatless Monday!

Eggs poached in a curried tomato sauce with whole grain English muffins. Yum!
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

What's for dinner? Weekend post

Lots of healthy stuff planned for this next week and pretty delicious sounding too! Skinny taste has really been dominating my menus... I'm really excited to try the Indian butter chicken, authentic recipes are really fatty (it's called butter chicken, hello!)... But sooo good.
For the rest of the day the hubby and I are chilling in our pajamas and waiting for the rain to stop.
Happy Saturday!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Foodie ABC Survey

This evening's procrastination is brought to you by Leila over at Spinach and Skittles.  Thanks Leila!  Despite the fact that I have finally been called in for jury duty tomorrow after being in limbo for the past couple days, I am awake and blogging in bed with a snoring Spartacus.  Why?  Because my hubby is on a conference call in the other room and I miss him.
Anywho, moving on.... the ABC's of food for Kara:

A is for Apple: What’s your favorite variety?
Fujis.  Specifically, Fujis from Trader Joe's.  I like it when the feel and smell of fruit is as natural as if you had picked it yourself.  I bought Fuji apples from Winco last week.  Blech.
B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type? 
For sandwiches, either Italian Herb and Cheese from Subway, or a nice honey wheat.  For just eating: What kind of bread would you call the breadsticks from Olive Garden?
C is for Cereal: What is your favorite kind currently? (just one!) 
I don't eat too much cereal (the carbs!  just kidding....) but my favorite is cinnamon toast crunch.  Yes, I'm nine years old.
D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?
Mama taught me well: Maple bars all the way.  Also, I have a thing for sprinkles.
E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?Fried.  In butter.  Over-easy.... thrown on top of a nice piece of buttered toast.  Mmmmmmm.... needless to say I don't treat myself to this preparation often.
F is for Fat Free: What is your favorite fat free product?I don't eat too much fat free stuff- most of the time it doesn't taste like food.  Once Kevin picked up fat-free feta.  Disgusting.  I do enjoy Fage yogurt for smoothies, though.
G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?Costco, Trader Joe's (Mostly for Cafe Twists, hummus, and Fujis), and Raley's, a California chain that I turned to when Safeway produce irritated me one too many times.
H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?Oregon Chai with Soy Milk (Vanilla Soy Milk, if you've got it!).
I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping
I'm currently dreaming of some Cold Stone Creamery... Cheesecake ice cream with cookie dough mix-in... which is sort of a topping.
K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?
Meh.  Their cereal is okay.  I like their crackers.
L is for Lunch: What was yours today? 
Leftover homemade meatloaf, a bit of brown rice, carrots, and a salad with feta, strawberries, and red wine vinaigrette.
M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
Popcorn, hands down.
N is for nutrients: Do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?
I've never really thought about it.  Probably fats/protein.  Love my omega-threes, that's for damn sure.
O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?
EVOO fo sho!  That's my new saying... I hope you like it.  I'm trying to use more walnut oil, though.
P is for protein: How do you get yours?
Peanut butter, various meats, a small amount of beans, and nuts.  Not a big tofu household.
Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?Cooked with almond milk with walnuts, flax, and some sort of berry, drizzled with a hint of (real!) maple syrup.
R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast? 
Broccoli, garlic, butternut squash... oh, and big hunks of meat.
S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?
"Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.--Liz Lemon"
This chick knows what is up.
My favorite is Roast Beef with all the veggie mixin's, mayo, and mustard.  If I'm making it myself I'll put on some horseradish sauce.  Hungry...
T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?
If we're roadtripping and we can stop for a bit, we usually get Subway.  It's cheap, it has veggies, and it's quick.  Other stand-bys are the charbroiled chicken salad from Carl's Jr. and McChickens... because they are delicious.  To avoid gas station impulse-buys I stock up on snacks from Trader Joe's... baked salty treats, fruit, string cheese... etc.
U is for unique: What is one of your weirdest food combos?
Hmmmm.... I put Tony's Creole Seasoning on darn near every food, especially leftovers.  That's about it.
V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?
None usually.  I'll pop a multi after a night of drinking to help ease a hangover, but I take too many pills to have to think about adding in others.  What I should be taking is a calcium supplement, Omega-3's, and maybe some B.
W is for wasabi: Yay or nay? 
YAY!  Now I want sushi... sushi or sammiches.... hmmmm....
X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
Salmon burger with basil aoili, mini tots, pinot grigio... oh, and a couple squares of pomegranate dark chocolate from World Market.
I love all their dark chocolate varieties...
Y is for youth: What food reminds you of your childhood?
Tater tot casserole, chicken fried steak, and fried chicken.  My arteries were well clogged by age 10.
Z is for zucchini: How do you prepare it?
Roasted, sauteed, or baked into a delicious loaf of harvest bread.

Well, Kevin is done for the evening, time to go to bed!  Good night blogger world!