On (attempting) being a vegetarian…

I said in my last post that I’d try to share a few things I’ve done in the first few days of my Vegetarian Experiment to make things work in this typically omnivorous household.  When I started trying to eat this way, it was the end of the month.  I wasn’t going to be able to go grocery shopping for a few days, so I had to work with what we had in the house.  That meant leftovers, and a few stray vegetables.

The first few days I mostly ate eggs and toast, or oatmeal for breakfast.  Lunch was a PB&J sandwich, or another egg-something.  Dinner had to be leftovers, which consisted of tuna casserole (I called myself a pescetarian at that meal!), and leftover chili (which had hamburger in it…sorry, but I was hungry!).

At one dinner, I made a yummy skillet meal that used up all the stray veggies in my fridge (carrots, a zucchini, green onion, and some cabbage).  Before I added the hamburger for the rest of the family, I scooped out a bowl for myself.  This is one thing I think I’m going to be doing a lot to keep my meals meat free.  Admittedly, this meal was made with beef flavored Top Ramen, which isn’t the healthiest thing in the world (and obviously not vegetarian), but DARN IT!, Ramen is good.  And I bought Oriental flavor (which IS vegetarian) for the next time I make it.

The day after I made the skillet meal, I was able to go grocery shopping.  Would you like to see my produce haul?  It’s pretty fantastic!

Here are my veggies:  carrots (whole and shredded), celery, green onions, avocado, spring salad mix, romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, portabella mushrooms, green beans, alfalfa-broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and yellow squash.

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And the fruit:  apples, pears, kiwis, tiny oranges, bananas, lemons, limes, and blueberries.

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Along with the produce, I bought (or replenished) lots of staples: canned and dry beans, quinoa, tortillas, white and brown rice, breads, cheese, eggs, etc, etc, etc.  And what have I been doing with all of these wonderful groceries?

For lunch one day, I made myself some Crunchy Black Bean Tacos.  They were so delicious, and I don’t usually like black beans!  The seasoning was perfect, and it would be very easy to swap out the filling with some other combinations.  I added some sour cream and taco sauce, and  served it with what my sister likes to call a BAS, a Big Ass Salad. 

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Eggs have become a big part of my breakfast menu.  I know I shouldn’t eat a ton of them, but they are an easy source of protein, and they keep me full longer than oatmeal or cereal.  So, until I can get some protein powder for smoothies, eggs will probably be my go-to breakfast food.  Here is a fried egg on a whole wheat english muffin, smeared with some mashed avocado and topped with some hot sauce.

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A few years ago, at a crafting retreat with my sisters and some friends, we had wraps for lunch one day that were absolutely delicious.  I never made them after the retreat, although I always vowed I would.  Well, this Experiment seemed like the perfect time to do it!  I threw broccoli, cauliflower, green onion, shredded carrot, sprouts, and red bell pepper into the food processor and gave it a whirl.  I kept going until everything was chopped pretty small.  I put some in a tortilla with some ranch dressing, and it was just as good as I remembered.  I had the same thing for lunch today, except I added black beans, taco sauce, and shredded cheddar.  I also plan to cook this a bit and add it to some quinoa for a quick “fried rice” type lunch.

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And the last picture I have are some Baked Egg Rolls I made for dinner last night.  The fuller tray has chicken (for the rest of the family), and the less full tray is only vegetables.  Everyone loved these, and five of us finished off all of them (the youngest didn’t eat any, and the oldest had FIVE!).  I have a few wrappers left, which I hope to use to attempt to make some southwestern style egg rolls.  I’ll let you know how it goes. ;)  I served these with white rice and soy sauce, because the hubby doesn’t like brown rice.  Eventually I will make brown rice for all of us (the kids like it) and make him a separate pot of white.

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So, there are my first few days as a vegetarian, in pictures.  Some other points of the last few days that don’t have photos to go with them:

-For breakfast this morning I made a smoothie with vanilla Greek yogurt, a banana, peanut butter, oatmeal, coconut oil, cocoa powder, and agave syrup.  I usually prefer fruit smoothies with spinach added, but I didn’t have spinach, or much frozen fruit.  I will rectify that situation soon!

-For dinner tonight we picked up a few to-go lasagna dinners from a local fundraiser (send those kids to outdoor camp!).  They had a vegetarian option, which was, unfortunately, just regular lasagna with no meat.  It was good, but I wish they would’ve added some spinach or other vegetables to it. 

My daughter kept asking me “Why did you get a vegetarian one?”, since I haven’t really talked to anyone in my family about my Experiment.  I brushed her off, but I suppose at some point I will have to explain my choices to them. But…that’s another post.

-I have been rockin’ the water drinking this week.  At least 64+ ounces of water a day, plus sometimes a Crystal Light Pure Lemonade in the evenings.  Because, let’s face it, sometimes water gets boring. 

I know drink mixes probably aren’t the best thing, but I feel a little better because this brand doesn’t have all of the artificial stuff in it. As for flavors, the Lemonade is very good.  The Grape is yummy, too, but I didn’t really like the Mixed Berry (my kids drank it, though).  I haven’t seen the other two flavors at my store, but I will keep an eye out for them.

I still have a soda everyday.  I just really, really love Dr. Pepper.  I can’t help it.  I feel like, though, that I am doing so many healthy things for my body right now (eating healthier, running, drinking tons more water, cutting out 95% of other sweets), that a bottle of soda everyday isn’t going to kill me (especially since a month ago I was drinking up to three bottles a day).  I figure, once the real training kicks in, for the half marathon I want to do at the end of summer, the desire for the soda may just naturally go away.  And if not, I’m okay with that too.

-I realized I’ve been doing great with the vegetable eating, but not so great with the fruit.  I’ve never been a big fruit eater anyway, a banana here or there, but not much else.  I think smoothies will be my biggest go-to for fruit consumption, once I get the freezer restocked.

-I also made Hummus for a snack.  My youngest daughter told me it “hurt her” when she taste-tested, although I’m still not quite sure what that means.  To be fair, she was tasting it straight from the food processor, and it wasn’t real great that way.  Once I sprinkled black pepper and drizzled olive oil on it, it was much better.  My oldest daughter even had some after she was finished with her dinner.

So, there it is.  My first week as a “vegetarian.”  Sorry if it’s a bit overwhelming!  I know I shared a lot, but…there was a lot to share!

See you later!  I’m headed to bed now.🙂

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Finally on the road again…

And, another two and a half months go by without me posting a darn thing.  Blerg.  Well, let’s try again.

I’ve started running again!  My knee is feeling loads better, and I’m hoping that if I start doing continue doing yoga and strength exercises, it (and my hip) will continue to get stronger.

Wait!  What’s wrong with my knee and hip, you ask?  Well, not as much now as last month. 

I’ve actually had to take the last five months off from running because of lots of pain in my knee.  It started to hurt while I was training for my half marathon, but of course I continued to run on it.  It gave out nine miles in to the race.  I was able to walk/run the last four miles, but it was not a good thing.  I took five months off of running, finally went to the doctor, had an x-ray and MRI done, only to find out it was just tendinitis.  The doctor told me to use compression and anti-inflammatories to help with any pain.  It hasn’t been hurting me at all, which is huge and amazing and wonderful!

As for my hip, I don’t know what happened there.  I sat down cross-legged on the floor one day, and couldn’t put my right knee all the way to the ground.  Not only did my hip hurt, but I had lost all external range of motion in it.  The doctor checked it out, and decided it was also tendinitis.  I’ve been doing some yoga and using my foam roller on it.  It is by no means better, but it is better than it was.  It doesn’t hurt at all when I run, so that’s a big bonus.  It does make certain yoga moves very awkward though…

In other running news, I’ve sort of become a vegetarian.  Well, I’m calling myself a “flexitarian.”  I’m not doing it for ethical reasons, so if I want to have tri-tip or a pork chop when my hubby hits the grill, or chicken wings and salami filled with cream cheese at a Super Bowl party, or a piece of tilapia or some shrimp or tuna, I will.  I’m mostly doing it to see if a (mostly) plant-based diet will help my running at all. 

The thing with running is, once I start, healthy eating kind of kicks in to high gear for me.  Soda no longer tastes super great, sugar cereal hurts my stomach, and chips and crackers just seem gross.  In researching healthier snacks and habits, I came across the website/movement No Meat Athlete.  It is full of information on how to start down a path to healthier, plant-based eating.  So I jumped in and went for it.

I’m not forcing anyone in my family to eat this way.  Jason’s favorite question at dinner time often seems to be “Where’s the meat?”, so I know there is no way he’d jump on this bandwagon.  I’m finding ways to work around it, like adding meat in to a vegetable-laden skillet dish after taking out my bowlful, buying a vegetarian pizza for dinner along with the meatier options, and making vegetarian friendly snacks to keep in the fridge for days when I might choose to skip part of dinner.  I just went grocery shopping yesterday, so we will see how this works in full scale over the next few weeks.

Maybe tomorrow I will share some of the things I’ve eaten the last few days that fit in with my diet choices (diet as in “foods I put in my body,” not “I’m trying to lose weight”).

Sorry if this is a bit jumbled and full of *stuff*.  It’s just been so long…

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Isn’t it 2013 already?

Apparently my brain thinks the 2012-2013 school year is over , and that September is already upon us.  In my mind, I’m planning what curriculum we will use next year: what Sonlight cores I will get to experience with the big and the little kids, what math and phonics programs I will use with Zeke and Emma, what other fun things I can find to incorporate in to our studies.

What is it that has me always looking ahead?  How can I be thinking about next year, when I’ve got so much to focus on this year?  We started our homeschool a month late, and we have much to do if we want to be done before the middle of summer.  Instead of planning for next year, I should be better planning this year.

It’s so much fun though, thinking about the future.

I’m pretty set in what curriculum I will use with the big kids.  I know what works, how they learn best, and which publishers Ilike for which subjects.  There’s not much fun in it.  Sonlight is one of the only things that will really change next year; we are using Sonlight this year, but we will get to study a new topic next year (recent world history this year, early American history next year).  Also, our science publisher will probably stay the same (Apologia Exploring Creation), although the subject will change (we are doing astronomy this year; I think I’ll let the kids decide what to study for next year).  Math, Bible, and language arts will all be Christian Light Education again.

Zeke and Emma are where I get to branch out a little.  I don’t know what their learning styles are yet.  At this point they are still so little and eager to learn that I’m excited about what I will get to do with them.  For both, I am planning on Sonlight Core P4/5 or Core A.  Emma will be four years old (a very smart four), and Zeke will be six a few months after we start school (a pretty typical six year old boy).  I’m not sure which will be better for the two of them together.  Math will probably be Math-U-See Primer, either worked together or just for Zeke.  I think both of them will be reading, or close to reading, so we may start working through Explode the Code 1.  I’m not sure what other things we will be using for these two.  It’s exciting thinking and planning for them, though.

I think the reason I’m thinking about next year so much is because I’m looking forward to my kids being another year older, another year smarter, another year more independent.  It’s not that I want my kids to grow up quickly.  Far from it, I’m enjoying having them with me, enjoying watching them be kids.  But honestly, I love having bigger kids.  I love that all of my kids are past the baby and toddler stages, and that Emma has firmly moved in to the preschool stage.  I love the fun and freedom that having older kids brings.  Sure, every age group brings it’s own challenges (hormones, anyone?), but I feel much better equipped to deal with the challenges of a child who isn’t only independent, but has the ability to communicate that independence.

So, I’ll continue to plan for the 2013-2014 school year.  My kids may not even be home with me next year (a private Christian school is another of our schooling options), although I dearly hope they will be.  But thinking about what we will learn will help fill the quiet hours between now and next September.

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Back in the saddle….again?!

I’m always coming on here, saying I’m going to start writing more frequently, and then it never happens.  Not that there is anyone reading to be disappointed by my lack of follow-through.  The only one I’m disappointing is myself, I guess.

But, I’ve had this blog for a long time.  I’ve got posts on here dating back to 2007 (imported from my old Blogger site), although I know I wrote earlier than that.  And something keeps pulling me back.  I love to write.  I’m no good at fiction, and I’ve got no use for letters (Facebook and texting, anyone?), research papers, or news articles.  So what’s left for someone who just loves words?  A blog, of course.  And I guess if I love writing, I will write whether there is anyone to read it or not!

Also, I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now.  Homeschooling four kids (grades 5, 3, pre-k, and preschool), managing a home, knitting, running (if the injuries will clear up!), cooking, organizing, a Pinterest obsession, and all the other things that go with being a woman of this time.  I guess I’ve got something to offer to the interwebz at large.  Maybe not anything new, but it’s mine nonetheless.

Also, I use words like “nonetheless.”

So, I guess I will try again.  Let’s see if I can stick with this for more than two days this time!  Keep an eye out for some changes to the look of the blog.  I’m not lovin’ the current vibe, so I’ll be working on it.

If you stumble upon this, I hope you’ll come back to check on me soon!

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It’s been a while…

…three and a half months to be exact. 

Life is a little more interesting now, with more going on, so maybe I will post more. 

I’ve started running, I’m still knitting, and I’m hoping to read more soon.  We might homeschool again next year.  The kids are getting bigger.  Life is moving on.

I’ve got more time in my day, although sometimes I feel like I’m doing less with that time than I should be.  Story of my life. 

Hope to see you back here soon. 

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WIP Wednesday

Here are the latest projects I’ve been working on.

Some mini-thing things that will have things added later:

*picture and actual descriptions have been removed so that the recipients won’t see them! if you really want to know what they look like, I’ll show you privately.*

And, well, nothing else, really.  I’m trying to get some Christmas presents done, and nothing else is being worked on. I’ve got a few more presents to get make, and then it will be back to my regularly scheduled crafting.

I’m actually starting to feel overwhelmed by the number of WIPs I have right now, even though the pressure is totally self-inflicted.  I think I might frog a couple of them, and just work on the really important ones.  Which would be these:

Sierra’s sweater:

My cowl:

Sierra’s blanket:

And that’s all the yarn talk for today.  Now it’s time to make the littles some lunch!

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On my phone!

I’m constantly amazed at the cool things I’m able to do with modern technology (modern makes me sound like I’m 80, and I used to live in the Stone Age). I’m posting from my phone, even though I’m sitting right in front of my computer. But this means I can now post randomness from anywhere. Yay!

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