Sunday, February 24, 2013

Colds and Sore Throats

I've been sick the past few days. I even had to call in sick for work which I do not like to do. I simply do not have time to be sick! *note to whoever got me sick, I'm very mad at you! Although I honestly think it is the constant in and out of the cold weather at my morning job that is doing me in. It does wear on the body after awhile.

So the past few days I've had a sore throat, cough, congestion and a fever. I don't really like taking medication because if I don't fill my body up with artificial coloring and chemicals. If I avoid that kind of stuff when I'm healthy then why would I do it when I'm sick? My eventual goal for 2013 is to have alternative medicine in my medicine cabinet instead of your typical Nyquil arsenal. Have you seen the ingredient list for that? It's full of food coloring and chemicals. I wish I saved the last bottle so I could list the ingredients for you. If you look it up online, it just lists the active ingredients. Not all the other chemicals in it, blah! Check it out next time you are in the store or even if it's in your medicine cabinet now. Don't say I didn't tell you so. I should let you know I'm not anti modern medication. There is a place and time for it. If you are truly sick and no alternative medication is helping, get yourself to a doctor or the hospital.

I just wanted to list a few things that I found that really actually helped me over the past few days. It reduced my symptoms greatly and I got to avoid going to the doctor! It was quick stuff I was able to grab and make over the weekend. I'm curious to hear what my readers also do when they are sick. I know there's a lot more but here are the things that I did this weekend.

1. I drank warm water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. It helps with congestion. It helps drains the sinuses after a cold has set in. Apple cider vinegar has many different health benefits. This is just one of them.

2. STEAM! We all remember mom telling us to have the humidifier (thanks mom for buying me one!) That and a hot bath. It helps clears the sinuses. Ever wonder why anytime you eat something hot or take a hot shower, your nose starts to drip? That's why.

3. 1 tablespoon of honey and some cinnamon mixed up for 3 days. Both contain anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti viral properties. This helps knock out the colds right away.

4. Gargle warm salt water. It helps relieve the pain in the throat for a short while. (I know it helped reduce my pain greatly!)

5. Chicken Soup. I had made some the other week in my slow cooker overnight when I had a sore throat. It made me feel SO much better. I did the same thing this weekend. I threw in some carrots, celery, chicken and homemade chicken stock. There's a reason mama's chicken soup always did the trick. It helps the immune system with the inflammation and it also helps clears the mucus up.

These are some of the things I had done this past weekend. What are some of your tricks to get yourself back on the mend? I'd love to hear.

P.S Also thinking of changing the colors of my layouts so it is easier to read, thoughts?


Where I find peace

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Roasted Winter Vegetable Vegetarian Jambalaya

The first time I made this meal was for Christmas dinner. I needed a vegetarian dish for my aunt. It ended up being a hit with everyone at the table. My 92 year old grandma took seconds and then said "if no one else is having anymore, I'll just take the rest home." That is definitely how you know it was a hit. The only thing that I wish I had more of, was the vegetables. So when I made it tonight, I doubled the vegetables and it came out perfect!

What I love about this recipe is that it truly showcases winter root vegetables. Until I changed my diet, I always ate the vegetables I liked at anytime of the year. Now I focus on eating seasonally and local. This is exactly why I like this recipe. I also like this recipe because it's a vegetarian dish. I've significantly reduced my meat consumption. This dish fills you up without wanting more or missing anything. I won't keep you waiting any longer, here is the adapted recipe from Vegetarian Times, November 2012

Roasted Winter Vegetable Jambalaya (Adapted from Vegetarian Times, Nov 2012)

1 cup long grain brown rice

4 carrots, diced

4 parsnips, diced

1large sweet potato, diced

3-4 Yukon gold potatoes, diced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 small onion, diced

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoon tomato paste

3 cups low sodium vegetable broth - (you may add more if needed)

1 cup chopped canned tomatoes (I used Eden)

1/2 cup chopped parsley


1. soak rice in bowl overnight. (very important you soak otherwise they won't cook properly)

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, Drain rice, coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

3. Toss together carrots, parsnips, potatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil (you may need more to coat) and salt in bowl. Spread on baking sheet and roast 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are browned.

4. Combine onion, remaining olive oil, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt in skillet. Heat over med-low heat until onions are soft. (5-8 minutes) Add rice and cook 2 minutes over medium heat. Stir in tomato paste, broth and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat.

5. Stir roasted vegetables into rice mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper (if desired). Serve hot or room temperature.

**Pictures will come as soon as I can figure out how to upload pictures on my new computer! Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Time management

It's been about two months since my last post and WOW a lot has happened. I truly apologize to my readers for the lack of new food recipes and posts. There was however magic in the kitchen. There just wasn't any time to sit and write the posts. However, Snowstorm Nemo has given me that time.

Here is an update on my life. I cooked an amazing gluten free Christmas dinner. I made gluten free stuffed rolled pork loin, roasted winter vegetable vegetarian jambalaya and carrot soufflé. (My brother in law is allergic to gluten, dairy and eggs) Everything that I had made, he was able to eat, except the carrot soufflé. That was a request made by his wife, my sister. (Recipes will be posted shortly). During Christmas break, there was a lot of family illness and a death. A lot of family time, I'm ok with that. I have the type of the family that is always there for each other. This was a time where we needed each other. I also got to close a major chapter in my life. My ex boyfriend officially picked up the rest of his things in the middle of the month. That was a relief. I also got a full time job. It is a temporary project which ends by the end of the year. It will give me extra money to get some things done such as getting my clinical license. I am still working as a therapist at my other job. SO what does this mean, well, it means I'm working 12-14 hour days for 5 days a week. I'm working a bit on Saturday too. I started at the beginning of January. Hence why I've been a bit MIA for the past month and half. This does entail tons of menu planning, stress management, time management and planning ahead. After all, anyone that knows me, knows I'm all about taking care of myself. So before I started this job, I planned. I planned out "me" time. What are the things I consider necessary for my sanity? Well it includes eating healthy, exercise and downtime. I had done a cleanse that was a two week meal plan supported by two nutritionists as a kick start. Honestly, it was great, I'm glad I signed up for it. It was gluten free, dairy free and nut free. This meant I was drinking almond milk and coconut milk. It wasn't bad for me as I usually eat clean anyway. What I did find out after the two week cleanse, I am officially gluten intolerant. I can not handle it even in small amounts. Boo. :( However, my health has never been better. I've never looked or felt better. However, I'll get to that later on.

I usually hate to plan ahead but honestly, if I didn't plan, I'd be very stressed and frazzled. A stressed and frazzled Suzanne, does not make for a happy person. While I do have a lot of balls up in the air, I am making sure there aren't too many in the air either. I've set several goals for myself this year. I'm not quite ready to share them with the public yet. I need to refine them a bit. However, I am determined to achieve them. This requires a lot of time management and stress management, the two critical skills needed at a time like this.

I'll start with stress management because it's something that I really work with in my practice. It is something I strongly believe that more people need to focus on this aspect in their life. Several things that are in my box are surfing of course, cooking, workouts, reading, baths, playing with my mom's puppies, arts and crafts, writing, naps and just pure doing nothing. There's more that I want to get into but these are just a handful of things that truly bring me to my zen place. However with my time, I don't have enough time to do all of that on a regular basis. I do however make sure I do something at least for a half hour to an hour daily for myself. With my schedule, on a daily basis, I have been exercising and reading. On the weekends, I catch up on my TV shows, I play with the puppies, arts and crafts and my spa day. I also spend a whole day cooking my meals for the week.

This is where time management comes in. Working 12-14 hour days is killer. However, I do not like to just work all day, where does the "me" time come in then? Since my job is outdoors during the day, I do my workouts at night when I come home. It actually is pretty good because I listen to music and just wind down. This is helpful because my second job is only five minutes away from my house. I NEED that wind down time. I also take showers at night so my hair isn't cold and wet for those cold days outdoors. Honestly, during the week, this is the only thing I really get to do for myself. Well that, and take a nap during lunch. Yes, you read that correctly. I have a blanket and pillow in my car. I go in, take off my hearing aid and implant and just turn off the world for an hour. It's nice to be deaf sometimes. :)

My weekends however are another story. Saturday is reserved for work and errands. I do all my menu planning, grocery shopping, laundry and what not. Anything that requires me to leave the house, I do. Sunday, I bulk cook for the week. This REALLY frees up my time for the week. I can just grab and go. I'm not stressed about meals, ending up with something that's not good for me, or spending money I don't want to. Plus, I get to ensure I'm eating all gluten free, clean eating food. :) What more can this gal want? I also clean my apartment, do my bills and anything around the house that day that I want and need to do. Sunday is my pamper day. :) I also don't get out of my pajamas and into my car at all that day. That my friend, is my downtime day.

I do have a list of things to accomplish during the week which does help me stay on task. Lists are your friend during busy times like this. Grocery lists, to do lists, menu planning, goals, work out plans. Thank god I got a new computer for Christmas! Thanks Mom! Anyway I hope this leaves you with some ideas and suggestions for time management. I also hope this stresses the importance of planning ahead. I will be doing a menu planning post within the next few weeks. Any questions or suggestions, leave them on here or on the facebook page.

P.S Spring and summer needs to come so I can get my butt out there surfing and do the ultimate stress reliever for me. Ah. :)