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Friday, August 20, 2010

Do as I say; Not as I do

Ever since reading the thought provoking post from Sarah of Peas and Thank You I have been on a mission to consciously become an example for Bean. As you can read in a previous post, on this subject, I was really moved by her concept that by acting the part soon enough you will start believing it. This concept has always been something I practiced, but the way that Sarah described it is amazing.

While growing up I always felt that my parents word was the ultimatum. This notion might have been based on a childhood perception, which I will gladly admit to, but I never felt that they were consistent in their action as they were with their words. Now that I am a parent I realize that my parents were only doing what they thought was right. As they say, they were doing the best they could with what they had on hand. Nevertheless it always irked me......That being said, I realized if i expect certain things from my daughter I have to "show" her how it is done. I felt like I would be a fraud if I stressed to her the importance of facing fears and giving something your best shot if I make excuses at times to get out of things I am afraid of.

A prime example of facing one of my fears was on Tuesday. Through my husband's paper we were invited for a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a boat ride on Lake Mahopac. Now if you do not know Lake Mahopac you do not understand how beautiful and what kind of opportunity this was. Being on the lake and seeing the houses that are hidden from the road was breath taking.

I would like to declare that I am not a fan of boats and tried REALLY hard to get out of going. I had a terrible experience on a boat when we were in Ireland which has made me hesitant to go on one ever since. Then, I thought about Sarah's philosophy.......I did not want to miss out on a unique opportunity because of fears. I went and had a wonderful time.

Thank you Sarah for motivating me to face my fears. I am not disappointed that I did it.

Pictures to come.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

You say tomato; I say tomato

Good morning blog friends. Did you miss me? What can I say, I think I took Wordless Wednesdays to heart and forgot to reappear. Here I am...

Bean has been teething so she has sucked all the the energy out of me. At least the horrible mood has an explanation. The tooth did break through and soon we will be able to see the top middle one. I can't believe that in two weeks she is one. Where did the time go? One minute she was a newborn and the next she is entering toddler years.

Now for some adventures in eating......A recipe that I have been meaning to make is one from Kelsey at The Naptime Chef. By the way, have you guys read her posts on Babble? If not, you really should visit her over there. Okay, back to the subject on hand....Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan and Herbs. Tomato have been a staple at the farmer's markets these days. When Bean and I went for our weekly trip some beautiful beefsteak tomato were calling my name. This was the prime opportunity to make a delicious side dish that can be used for a variety of main entrees. The steps to make this dish were very simple and it uses staple ingredients in my pantry so it was easy for me to prepare without having to run to the grocery store as well. My summary of the process in pictures is below, but if you visit Kelsey's blog she has a webisode that details the process of making this wonderful side dish.

Health, Happiness, Hamstrings makes The Naptime Chef Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan and Herbs.

5 large tomatoes
1 cup EVOO
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (recipe calls for freshly grated, but I had already grated on hand)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (recipe calls for plain or panko, but I had Italian herb plain bread crumb
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

I followed Kelsey directions:

Her directions called for preheating the oven to 350 degrees. I wasn't going to be cooking the tomatoes until later that day so I started by cutting up the tomatoes:

Next I scooped out the seeds. Since I didn't have a grapefruit spoon like Kelsey suggest I used the next best thing on had.....one of Beans spoons. Was the perfect size and made it a breeze to get in the crevices. Then, nestle the tomatoes with the cut side up in a baking dish.

I drizzled the olive oil like she says and patted to make sure the tomatoes are nicely coated.

Then, I mixed the Parmesan, bread crumbs, and parsley. I patted even amounts into each tomatoes. Since I wasn't going to make them until that evening I covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator until dinner time. Here is what they looked like:

Since Kelsey's recipe indicates it take about 25 to 30 minutes to bake. I preheated the oven while I gave Bean a bath and put them in the oven while I read Bean her bedtime books. About 30 minutes later I opened the oven and this deliciousness greeted me:

I served the tomatoes with grilled chicken and of course a staple in this house Roasted Eggplant.

Enjoy your day blog friends. Mr. Man, Bean and I are off to lunch. Naptime Chef thank you for a fabulous summer recipe that utilizes staples at the farmers market and pantry (at least my pantry).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And The Day Kept Going.....

Have you ever had one of those days where you just couldn't keep up with it. It was almost like you gave up the reigns and someone, other than yourself, took over. That was my day, but in the end I got through it and I am here to blog about it.

Since Mr. Man hurt his back I wasn't able to run with Jen nor work out with Neil. It is amazing how routines are built and suddenly you feel all out of whack when can't follow them. Mr. Man did go to the chiropractor and who said it would be a month until he feels and relief. Poor guy.....he is so uncomfortable, but has been putting on a brave face and nevertheless accomplishing a lot.

Now for some eats. Once again I made a batch of roasted veggies before leaving for the day. This mix included eggplant, kale, bussel sprouts, and peppers. Instead of goat cheese I topped it with feta. For breakfast I had a big bowel of white peaches. Lunch was the roasted veggies. Dinner rest of veggies and sundried tomato & asiago chicken sausage. For Mr. Man I made pasta with Barilla tomato sauce.

To end my not so great day I knew it was time to pull out a favorite. You've got that right, Edy's Slow Churned Rich & Creamy Fudge Tracks ice cream. How can you complain when you have chocolate and peanut butter in the mix.

Now to introduce a new tradition on Health, Happiness, Hamstrings: Wordless Wednesdays. Wordless Wednesday will appear every Wednesday and consist of a picture that says enough in itself. Please feel free to post what words you think of when you see my post. Since I have to be wordless I will rely on you to fill in the blanks.

Good night blog friends!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Did 5 Years Go

Mr. Man and I just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. It is amazing how quickly time goes by.....Thinking back it is unbelievable in just 5 years we lived in Chicago, New Jersey (two towns), and New York (two towns), but the biggest and best thing that has happened in these five years is the birth of Bean (who is going to be one in less than a month).

Our wedding was celebrated in Tarrytown, New York at Tappen Hill. It was a beautiful affair where Mr. Man and I exchanged vows in front of friends at relatives.
For me marrying Mr. Man was truly the first day of the rest of my life......

On our 5 year anniversary Mr. Man and I went back to Tarrytown (our roots). The funny thing is for 2 years we lived just miles from where we said our vows. We celebrated by sending our little Bean off with her grandparents and we took advantage of some R&R. Well that is what we thought......At the Sheraton we ended with a room right across the hall from the bridal suite. Perfect! Getting woken up at 2am was not my kind of R&R.....On a high note we received a comped stay and a gift certificate to stay one night with free breakfast. While we sacrificed some sleep the free night more than made up for it. Night number two was spent at The Castle On The Hudson. The grounds were magnificent and the pool was spectacular.

While in Tarrytown we stopped at a local wine store and bought this:

We tried this Acai vodka with seltzer. In the words of Mr. Man....Delicious! Great on a hot summers day especially with a squeeze of lime.

Mr. Man, happy anniversary! I am so proud to call you my husband.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Perfect Blend of Flavor

Sorry for the lack of Health, Happiness, Hamstrings love. Life sometime gets ahead of you, if you know what I mean. But here I am......Mr. Man, Bean and I had a VERY busy weekend. All good things, but busy.

Since Mr. Man pulled out his back I wasn't able to run as much as I would have liked. Not being able to bend over and watching an almost one year old isn't the best combination. Therefore running was not in the equation. After not running since Tuesday (had a GREAT run/training session with Neil Deanut of All Out Fitness) I did accomplish a nice 2 mile run this morning. Keeping to my 15 min mile and maintained a steady heart rate, which I was happy with. In the short time I have been running I have noticed that I get more out of my runs when I use my heart monitor. Goal is to push my run to 2.5 miles to get a higher calorie burn.

Now for eats......On Friday I was reading a blog post by Ashley of the edible perspective where she made a simple roasted veggie dish with couscous. My mouth was watering as I read the combination of flavors (Turn back the clock just 4 months ago you would NEVER hear me saying these words.--I almost told Mr. Man to call a search and rescue crew because someone has taken over his wife). Because I didn't have all of the ingredients that Ashley used in her dish this allowed me to make my of version, which I define to be the perfect blend of flavor.

Lauren's Couscous & Roasted Veg (adapted from Edible Perspective)

~1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes
~1 eggplant
~5 brussel sprouts
~1 zucchini
~4 stalks of dinosaur kale
~couscous (I used one box of Near East Couscous)

1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Cut up veggies (keep tomatoes whole) and coat with EVOO then sprinkle with salt (I had kosher on hand, but prefer sea) and pepper. Roast for approx 20 minutes
3. Add in chopped kale. Roast for another approx 10 minutes
4. Cook whatever couscous you have on hand according to the directions.
5. Combine in a bowel and top!

goat cheese
juice of lemon to taste

Great post Ashley! This was truly the perfect blend of flavor.

(Since Mr. Man "stole" my camera I wasn't able to take pictures)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Holy Okra; I Have a Crush On You

Last night I learned that I have a crush on a new green vegetable.........okra. I always associated okra with gumbo or fried, but now I see it in a new light. After reading a post from Amy Green, at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free , on okra I thought I would give it a shot, when the time was appropriate.

Well time was on my side.....Bean and I went to the farmer's market and my favorite vendor, Ryder Farms, had some beautiful okra calling my name (Wow, life has really changed for me! Who would ever have thought I would call okra beautiful.). It was my turn to do something with this okra. I wasn't going to let it sit without proper attention. It was time for: Oven Roasted Okra. Mr. Man you have some competition, I am in love with a vegetable named Okra.

Readers, please run to your local grocery store, farmers market or wherever you shop and pick up some okra. You too will have a new crush.

Now a shout out to Sarah at Peas & Thank you.....I did as a promised; here is my Operation Beautiful post-it inspired by your note.

Night blog friends! Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Little Girls Think You are Beautiful. You Should Too!

Wow! I just read the most amazing post by Sarah of Peas and Thank You. This was the first time I visited her blog, but through post at Healthy Tipping Point I will now be a frequent visitor. The specific post that really hit home for me was Lessons in Beauty (& a Giveaway). This was my comment on her blog:

You brought tears to my eyes. I admire your philosophy on parenting and will save this post in a special place to remind me of the important of fostering a healthy body image in our children. I too have a little girl who I can't believe is turning one at the end of the month. One of the biggest things I have taken away from your post is the concept of being an actress. You are right and until now I didn't know how to explain what I hope to do for my daughter. Slowly for me my acting is becoming believing and I know she ultimately deserves this. Lastly, your post-it "Two little girls think you are beautiful. You should too!" is going on my bathroom mirror (obviously a little adjustment two is actually one in my case).

My best to you!

Thank you Sarah for inspiring me to change my ways and give my daughter a gift I longed for.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sometimes a Good Workout is ALL You Need

While I didn't start the morning on a high note, sleeping through my alarm when I was supposed to meet Jen for a run, I did finish the morning off strong with a nice booty kick from Neil. It is amazing how sometimes a really good workout is all you need to start the day on a better note.

After the workout I made Carrot and Granny Smith Apple juice for myself. Mr. Man and Bean joined in on the vitamin action finishing every last sip of my con caution. Bean couldn't get enough of her juice, which was music to my ears. After the juice I was off and busy until lunch. Today was a salad with raw spinach, chicken breast from last night, goat cheese crumbles, cucumbers from Aunt Lori's garden, and finally peppers (finished the bag). On the side I had three figs that Bean and I picked up at the grocery store yesterday.

Dinner was another grilled chicken breast from last night. Since Mr. Man had started his business I no longer have the luxury of a grill master. That being said, before the summer started I made sure he gave me a crash course. It was my turn to take a shot at it. Thought I would start off with something simple.......Purdue Perfect Portion Chicken in the Italian style. On the side I made roasted eggplant.

This is the method I use to make roasted eggplant. The end result is perfectly moist, yet crunchy veggies:

1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Cut eggplant (my choice these days are Italian eggplant) into 1/2 inch slices
3. Coat eggplant slices in EVOO
4. Add seasonings of your choice (tonight I did fresh garlic and sea salt)
5. Back ten minutes on each side.

I also made Naptime Chef's Roasted Tomatoes with Parmesan & Herbs. You can access the recipe here. And dinner was served, but not without a nice glass of red wine.

Good night blog friends!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Opted for the Real Thing

Once again, I threw in the towel and opted for the real thing. I have always been a fan of beets, although this isn't something I grew up eating, but, I never had the guts to make my own. Instead of taking on the challenge I took the easy route and opted for the canned stuff. Not to say there is anything wrong with the canned stuff and I too will still continue to use it when I do not have the luxury to roast my own. Never the less, after going to the farmer's since June and seeing the beautiful beets sitting there I realized it was my turn to take the plunge and opt for the real thing.

Through the guidance of both Jen and Kelsey I took on my own challenge to once again prove the real thing is the best thing. Here is the process I used to roast the beets I purchased at the Brewster, NY farmer's market.

Step one: Preheat oven to 375

Step two: Take fresh beets and remove the leaves (many people save the leaves to create other dishes, but during this experiment I didn't save the green

Step three: Scrub the skin and cut off the root ( do not be surprised if you see a little beet juice when you cut the root)

Step three: Pull out aluminum foil and place beets on top. Coat beets in EVOO and add salt and pepper as pictured.

Step four: Wrap beets in the aluminum foil as pictured.

Step five: Let cook about an hour or until beets are soft.
Step six: When beets are soft use the aluminum to "scratch" off the skin.

End result looks like:

Use beets however you please. I added them to salads throughout the week. One way you can could make uses the beets is with oranges and goat cheese and dress with an orange dressing.

As mentioned, I have learned the important lesson that the real thing is worth the work. The only thing I would do differently next time is to wrap each beet individually. I think that will help when taking off the skin.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please make sure you send me your own stories on roasting beets.

Health, Happiness, Hamstrings featured on Operation Beautiful!

What an exciting day. Health, Happiness, Hamstrings has a blog posting on Operation Beautiful. The title of the post is My New Skin: Loving Your Body After Pregnancy. Please visit her awesome site and read my post.

A little about Operation Beautiful. Operation Beautiful was created by Caitlin Boyle. On her website she states that the goal of Operation Beautiful is to end negative self-talk or "fat-talk." Caitlin has recently written a book on Operation Beautiful which you can purchase through many bookstores. She also blogs about her healthy lifestyle at Healthy Tipping Point.

Thank you Caitlin for the wonderful opportunity to write for your blog. Bean and I are going to go to the bookstore and take a picture of your book in the Suburbs for New York City!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

change the way you see not the way you look

Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful has requested bloggers to write about body image. Please visit her blog so you too can give your perspective on an important topic.

Here is my submission:

My New Skin-Loving Your Body After Pregnancy

Being self conscious and critical is nothing new to me, but the biggest battle has been learning to love my body after having my daughter. It is a known fact that your body changes after pregnancy, how could it not. But, like parenthood, you do not truly understand what this means until you experience it face on.
Each of us have a unique view of what we would like our bodies to look like. More times than not, it is created based on images we are fed through the media and society. The result is often making decisions to measure up to what we think we are supposed to look like instead of loving ourselves for the skin we are in.
While it was a true honor to have been able to carry Bean for 9 months, and one I would never have given up, learning to love my "new skin" is a process. I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband who reminds me that these changes represent something beautiful and he finds me more beautiful because of these changes. I too am learning that these changes make me more beautiful than I was yesterday.

Thank you Caitlin for the opportunity to write a post that is dear to my heart.

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