An Autumn Meal – Part 1

I know, it’s been a long time since I have posted on “The Dweeb” (that’s what all the cool people are calling it), but it’s been for good reason. Reasons I can’t get into right now, but I will soon. Well, by the end of the year, at least. So, anyway…
I noticed that I’ve been making up a lot of my recipes, so I decided to look in one of the millions (slight exaggeration) of cookbooks I own to make a new and delicious meal. This week I looked to my Orange County Bounty cookbook, which was gifted to me from my friend Marian.
OC Bounty
Yes, I am one of those “tabbers”!
I like this cookbook because the recipes are organized by season and the recipes revolve around the fresh local produce of that season. In the Fall section, and I found this great recipe for Stuffed Swiss Chard.
OC Bounty Open
Redactions for copyright reasons!
I have most of the ingredients already, yet it’s something different from my usual fare. I made a special effort to leave the recipe as it is and not change it around too-too much. Changes: from rice to quinoa – it’s always good to add a healthy protein and I only made enough for one serving (4 leaves for me!).
Here are the ingredients:
Mise En Place
I only mise en place for the camera (stuntin’)…Walnuts, celery, onion, cottage cheese, feta cheese, quinoa and an egg to act as a binder.
So I mixed it all up used it as stuffing in my rolled Swiss chard leaves…
Season Water
Season every layer!

After you roll the leaves you fill your baking dish halfway, with water. I decided to add some 21 Seasoning Salute to the water. If I had broth on hand, I’d probably use that for even more flavor.

I decided that I needed a side…and it had to fit in with the fall theme…AND it had to use my new crinkle cutting tool. So butternut squash it is! I was inspired by Instagram to make the squash fries…
Crinkle Cuts
Yay! Crinkle cutting tool! I saved the bulb-y part for soup…
I tossed the fries in a baggie with some olive oil, pink Himalayan salt and garlic powder…
Fry Prep
Fry prep!
I put both in the convection oven (it’s still too warm to use the regular oven!) at the same time, but the squash fries took slightly longer (and they would not have if they were in one, single layer)…
Ready for Oven
These colors make me happy!
After about 35 minutes the chard was done and 45 minutes, the fries were done…
Chard and Squash
Healthy and delicious! Yay!
This is such a colorful meal! It makes me so happy just looking at it, and I’m ecstatic tasting it (that’s why I’m a dweeb)!
I am enjoying this meal with an awesome seasonal beer from Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA).
Seasonal Beer
Yum!
I actually haven’t had beer in a few months (since a wedding) so this was really good and refreshing.
So, make this! It’s easy! Oh…what? Dessert you say? Well, okay then…
How could I make a fall meal, this beautiful, without dessert? I couldn’t!
Since October is National Apple Month: Hasselback Apples!
People are hasselbacking everything these days, so I thought “why not apples?” I thought I was being innovative until I looked it up on Pinterest. Yeah, other people have thought of this as well! So, here’s my take on it…
Hasselback Prep
Preppin’ like crazy today!
It is a pretty standard “crumble” recipe, on top of a half sliced apple. I used Cinnamon Oat Kodiak Cakes mix instead of regular flour and/or oats. That adds protein and lots of flavor. I used coconut oil instead of butter to form the crumble, just because I bought a new jar.
Golden Delicious apples are my favorite, so I used them of course!
Pour on the cinnamon blend (try to get in between the cuts, I actually let it cook for about 15 minutes and then when back in to put more of the mix inside the cuts) and cook for about 30-40 minutes. I covered my pan with another pan of the same size and added cinnamon water to the bottom of the pan so it would steam them a bit…
Hasselback Apple
NOM!
I topped it with some amazing Halo Top just for some extra autumn-ness!
Halo Top
Oatmeal Cookie, for more cinnamon and oatness!
So, now, enjoy! Make a day of this deliciousness!
I’ll be back next week with a fall recipe from another cookbook (that had been wasting away on the shelf!)…

Feel-Better Friday – Migraine Edition

I have been suffering from migraines since I was about 3 years old. I remember that first one like it was yesterday: I was at the doctor’s office with my mom, who was there for a well woman visit after having my brother (that’s how I know I was 3). The office was packed, and it was so.very.hot. I remember that hot, uncomfortable feeling so well because I have the same symptoms now. I felt sweaty and bloated – like my clothes were getting tighter and tighter, the lights in the office felt like they were pointing directly into my eyes, I could barely hold my head up or walk, almost like I was a drunken 3 year old, and I felt like I was going to toss my cookies. And I did. Right in the waiting room. The nurse gave me one of those teal, kidney shaped hospital-y bowls to vomit into.

Lovely story, I know. I actually went for YEARS having these headache/vomit combos. I started out having memorable ones at least twice a year and then, in my teen years, it was bi-monthly and as I got into my twenties, I started having them once a month. But, what were “these” headaches?

When I was younger, I just thought that I was a nervous person. When I was in elementary school, I would get them when I would stress out about something. Not real stress, things like “Am I going to get a part in the play?”, “Is Tanya still mad about what happened on the playground?”. I also noticed that I would get them when the seasons changed. When back-to-school time rolled around, I was always feeling like my new clothes were tightening up and that I was hot. I thought it was because of the weather AND the anticipation of the new school year (I was on to something). I was a “Nervous Nellie”, so what? Then, as a teen, I thought it was because I was hungry and tired. I was always on some weird diet when I was a teenager (Bagel and V8 Juice diet – blech), so I thought I just had low blood sugar. I used to stay up really late in high school too, so it was just a headache from being tired. Or, if it was weather related, I was having a sinus headache. When I’d eat something, I’d feel slightly better, even though I still had to lie down (another clue). Then, in my twenties, I started having them once a month. It was usually before my period, so I thought “PMS symptom”.

So, I made all of these diagnoses on myself. I was a nervous person, who had motion sickness, heat-and-sleep related sinus headaches, low blood sugar and PMS. On a regular basis. Same feeling, same symptoms. I just lived with it for years. At times, I couldn’t see or I had vertigo along with the headache. That was just a bad headache from not wearing my glasses. “Gotta wear those more…” I thought.

Then one day, when I turned 24, I got a job as a secretary at a high-stress, state run mental health clinic. One of the program coordinators had a particularly crazy meeting. She popped into the “clerical pool”, looking sweaty, worn out like she was about to vomit, when only about an hour prior she was dressed very well, make-up applied. This was a look I was all too familiar with.  She said breathlessly, “I need to take an Imitrex, I am having migraine!”.

DING-DING-DING!!!

The lights came on in a major way! So I looked it up “migraine symptoms” and it listed EVERYTHING I’d ever experienced. It even mentioned a little thing that I noticed, and thought that I was the only one who experienced it, excessive yawning! I thought I was the only one who could not stop yawning when I was about to have a head attack! It was a real revelation for me! I had no idea what was wrong, just an oddball headache sufferer and frequent vomiter (sorry to get graphic, but that’s how I migraine). It has a name – Migraine.

I went to the doctor and it was confirmed. I had a CT scan and nothing was there (rimshot!). She asked me if I wanted a prescription for it. I said, believe it or not, “No.” I had done my research and all of the prescription drugs offered for migraines had side effects worse than the migraine itself.

So, I opted to go for the “take some Advil and lie down in a dark room” route. I’ve been doing that ever since. And, while it doesn’t help prevent migraines altogether (I wish!), it helps ease the pain when I am going through the attack stage, and if I recognize the signs early enough, during prodrome.

I do try to catch my symptoms early, especially before going away or to work. But, sometimes they come on suddenly. This is why I carry The Migraine Kit!

Migraine Care Kit

As you can see, it has some OTC meds, some natural stuff, some clean up tools (migraines can get messy). Like…

  • Be Koool Soft Gel Sheets – They are for kids? So what! When your head is pounding and you cannot get cool any other way (if it’s brutally hot and humid, or you are on public transportation), this little sheet works. Put it wherever it feels good to your head. I say that because sometimes having something directly in the middle of your forehead feels like death (if you suffer from migraines, you know what I mean).
  • Natural Inhaler – Okay, this is one of those things that will work sometimes and will aggravate your headache other times. It depends on if smell is your trigger or not. Sometimes it is a trigger for me. For example, I was on a bus and a woman with heavy, musky perfume sat down beside me when there were several seats available. I actually had to ask her to move, which didn’t seem nice and I didn’t tell her why, BUT it would have been much worse for her (and me) if she didn’t move. Anyway, this inhaler has a menthol-eucalyptus smell that I really only like when I am having a migraine. Something about it is soothing, and it makes me feel cooler. If you can’t find a eucalyptus inhaler, just put some Vicks Vaporub on a tissue and put that into a baggie. You can sniff the baggie (some of this migraine stuff has to be done in private!)…
Migraine Care Kit - Inside
Before I put in the Be Koool…
  • Benadryl – This really works for me when I think that I’ll probably have a motion sickness related migraine (if it’s humid out and I didn’t get enough sleep before a train or plane ride). I know that most people think of Benadryl only as an allergy med (or sleeping pill), but it is great for migraines. I always make sure that I take two Benadryl before I get on a plane!
  • Advil LiquiGels – Ibuprofen is my preferred OTC migraine drug. I think that the liquigels work faster. It’s probably a mind over matter thing, but still.
  • Mouthwash, Tissues and Wipes – Necessary cleaning materials. I also make sure that I have paper towels and extra plastic bags in my car. I shouldn’t have to explain why.
Migraine Care Kit - Closed
This is just a 47 cent pencil case from Walmart!

I have two kits. I keep one in the backpack I carry all of the time and one in my car. If I change purses, I put the kit in the purse.

It seems like nothing, but this is important stuff. I have been stuck without things to help me over the years and it’s been pretty terrible. Any little thing that you can do to help yourself, DO IT.

This is what works for me, what it in your “Migraine Emergency Kit”?

 

 

Sunday Meal Prep: Feeling Productive…

As the title says, yes, today was a very productive day. I did everything that was on my to-do list and even a little more. One of the most important things I did today was prepare my dinners for the week. Yes – meal prepping is key to making life a little easier.

Seriously. One of my favorite meal preppers, WorkWeekLunch, mentioned a few weeks ago that we have so many decisions to make during the day, having our food already prepared eliminates the need to make even more decisions. It’s true. Think about it…I know that if I am at work, and I haven’t made my meals yet, I will wonder “What do I have? What can I make?”. Sometimes the answer is “go get pizza” – which is not good, because I can tend to overdo things (know yourself!)…

So, I have been meal prepping for a fairly long time. A couple of years, at least. When you see the pictures I post of older preps you’ll see that I haven’t always made the cleanest, healthiest choices. Oh well. That’s what I felt like eating at the time and those were times when I was in full-on maintenance mode, when I was comfortable making a little dip into the world of carbs and sugars after dieting for a while. Here are some of my preps, I added an Instagram link for the food listing. I actually have a lot more preps on Instagram, but you really have to scroll down and it was pre-iPhone…

Meal Prep 6
I had just gone to Trader Joe’s
Meal Prep 3
Not too bad
Meal Prep 2
Buffet Style! 
Meal Prep 4
I jacked all of the recipes from Mind Over Munch in this one
Meal Prep 5
A soup and overnight oats phase
Meal Prep
Another buffet style prep! This one looks really appealing right now! 

Below are some recent ones. Since I work from home most of the week, I don’t have to prep all of my meals, just dinner on the days that I actually do have to go into the office.

Meal Prep Recent
Those are not potatoes – it is pureed cauliflower with a little bit of ricotta!
Meal Prep Recent 2
I am in love with frozen meatballs, obviously…

Here is the prep from today. I have a busy week, filled with some exciting stuff! Yay!

Meal Prep Recent - Today
Vegetarian Meal Prep

I added a little something extra to it already. There is not enough red or orange for my taste, so I added some Tomato and Onion Salad

I started by cutting the farmers market tomatoes my grandma gave me today. Seriously, grandmas are the best with the food gifting! I also cut up a little red onion, for flavor…

Tomato & Onion
I decided to do this when it got dark out (bad lighting)…

I seasoned the sliced tomatoes with garlic powder and 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s…

Tomatoes 3
Wax paper on my cutting board, I have been doing this forever. It really helps with clean up!

Then I added a little apple cider vinegar, olive oil and more 21 seasoning salute to the jar, then added the seasoned tomatoes and I shook it up!

Tomatoes 2
Extras for me! (Chef’s treat!)

I didn’t measure, I just wanted enough to coat the tomatoes when I shook the jar!

That should be great for Monday and Tuesday! I’ll have to think of another red or orange for Wednesday and Thursday…

Easy stuff. A little preparation on Sunday, helps you through the entire week!

Enjoy!

 

 

Happy #NationalRelaxationDay!

Honestly, I had no idea it was National Relaxation Day until I saw all the hashtags popping up on Instagram this morning. What a great day for it too…It’s raining where I live (Hudson Valley, NY)…I have to go into the office tomorrow…It’s Tuesday…

I don’t know! This holiday should be every single day. Or, every night at least.

Since I didn’t know about this, I was too late to make an appointment to get a massage (bwah haha!) so I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: A relaxing magnesium mocktail…

This is what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of Natural Calm
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • 2 Limes
  • Your favorite unsweetened sparking water

Magnesium has so many benefits – and most of us are lacking in this particular mineral. It helps with…

  • Digestive motility (I told you I’d mention this a lot, it’s important)
  • Calming & Sleeping – a natural sleep aid
  • Beauty – helps maintain collagen
  • Heart health – it’s up there with potassium and sodium, assisting in heartbeat and blood pressure regulation
  • Muscle soreness relief 
  • Migraine prevention (I’ll have an entire blog about this, soon)

So, back to the drink…

Stirring
Action shot!

Juice those limes and add the stevia packet. Stir to combine…

Fizzy

Add about 3/4 of the can of sparkling water. It’ll bubble up a lot, and it’ll bubble up even more once…

Bubbles

…you add the packet of Natural Calm! Stir gently and then add the rest of the seltzer…

Finished Product

NOM! YUM! My choice of sparkling water (Simply Balanced Tropical Cherry from Target) made this taste like a Cherry Lime Rickey, or that cherry lime drink from Sonic…

Okay, so now that we’ve had a drink, we can look at some relaxing pictures. I just added some relaxing words to these pictures I took in various places. Enjoy!

Breathe 2

Relax

Breathe.PNG

Enjoy

These Moments...

Yay!

Smoothie Supplements!

Smoothies are one of my favorite things. Seriously, I have been drinking them fairly regularly for years. I have gone though several blenders (blown out motors) and shaker cups (mold – from leaving them out in my car) over the years. I have tried several “diets” in my life, but the one thing that has remained constant is The Smoothie.

My smoothie taste has evolved over the years too. I went from just your basic fruit, ice and yogurt (delicious, but not that healthy) to pure fiber shakes (icky, but effective) to what I do now, which is a little bit of a blend of the two styles (accidental pun in there!).

Today, I’m not really going to show how I make my smoothies, talk about the protein powder I use (that deserves its own post) or give recipes. I’m just going to show some of the supplements I use to make my blends even more healthy.

Starting with my favorite, Hemp Seeds

SS - Hemp Hearts

I really like hemp seeds in my smoothies, for the health reasons I’ve listed above, but especially because of the last little thing I added there: they add such a nice, thick texture to smoothies. Use hemp hearts and cashew milk and you’ll feel like you are drinking a milkshake, seriously.

Another favorite – Chia Seeds

SS - Chia Seeds

I like chia seed for everything! I make chia eggs, chia pudding and even chia cheesecake pots. They gel up so nicely and add bulk and help bind food (all of which are reasons why they are great for digestive health).

While I rotate the use of all of the others, MSM is in every smoothie I make…

SS - MSM

MSM has no flavor. In fact, I used to just put a half-teaspoon in some juice in the morning and go. Now, it is in every smoothie. So many beauty related benefits, especially for hair, as it is supposed to help strengthen cells during the growth phase.

Here is a new favorite, Maca Powder

SS - Maca

I first found out about it when I was researching foods that would help in treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), something I am managing with weight regulation. Maca is great for helping regulate the hormones (if you know about PCOS you know how important that is) so, I ordered it immediately. And I love it! It tastes great – I am a fan of earthy tastes though, think about my beet post. It mixes so well with cocoa powder too. One of my favorite things to have mid-morning is a Hot Maca-Cocoa!

Here is an old favorite, something I’ve been using for a while: Flax Seed

SS - Flax

Flax seeds were one of the first things I heard about when I got into the “healthy food, health living” lifestyle, about 13 years ago. OMEGA-3s! That was all the rage back then. Heart health is still supremely important, but I don’t see too much out there about flax seeds anymore. Actually, no, I see them used a lot as an egg substitute in plant based diets. I am determined to bring them to the forefront again!

Now, something good AND tasty: Matcha Powder

SS - Matcha

I must admit, I originally bought this with lattes in mind. I knew about the benefits, but I really just wanted it hot and milky. However, a couple of weeks ago, I added it to a basic vanilla smoothie and WOW! It’s so good! Plus, a metabolism booster…and a mood booster…and an energy boost. So many benefits!

Last, but certainly not least, Spirulina!

SS - Spirulina

Yay! My new favorite thing! Not only does it have the benefits I’ve listed above, it’s great to use topically. The morning after I used it in a mask I looked in the mirror and thought “Either I got a good night’s sleep last night, or that mask helped my dark circles…” I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I like to use spirulina in a fruity-slushy type of smoothie, goes better with the flavor.

These are the supplements I’m using right now, and I rotate some of them out and put others in. There will be updates when I do!