Archive for July, 2009

T. G. I. F

times 2!

1. Thank Goodness It’s Friday, right?

I had an eye appointment this morning and it had been 3 years since the last time I went – oops! I got some new contacts ordered AND bought a new pair of frames/lenses. The glasses I have now are a cheap $8 pair of sunglass frames that I popped the lenses out of and had prescription lenses put in and I’ve had them for about 7 years, so it was time. I needed them to have the right prescription anyways and I got a really cute pair. I should be picking them up in the morning  🙂

Today was crazy busy at work. I had so many emails to work through, plus we’re trying to set up working remotely from home to see how that will work, so I was working on a bunch of stuff today. It felt like a full day even though I was only there about 5 hours. I am glad I only had one day of week this week and now the weekend – that will make getting back into the office easier after the trip.

We didn’t eat all the ravioli last night, so I brought that with me for lunch.


I also brought a small salad with the leftover romaine I cut up last night, plus 1/2 of a tomato from our garden.


and a nice, crispy apple.


Hooray for produce  🙂  I wonder how long this excitement will last! I know I’m already psyched about going to the market and grocery store tomorrow.

I got pretty hungry at work this afternoon, but I was working on everything so much that I never stopped to have a snack. Nick and I ended up running around after work checking out vacuums since ours broke, so I had this in between stores.


Yup, I finally found the Coconut Cream Pie LARA bar right before we left for our trip. I’ve been looking for this flavor since I saw it on a blog MONTHS ago!


I realize that I haven’t tried all of their flavors yet, but this one rocked! I loved, loved, loved all the shredded coconut in the bar. It gave it such a great texture. I will definitely buy more of these. I hope they keep them stocked around here now that I finally found them.

In vacuum news, I think we found the one we’re going to get – Nick was looking up reviews while I was getting dinner ready, so we should hopefully have a new one this weekend.

The second TGIF for today is:

2. Thank Goodness I Freeze…


I had no plans for dinner tonight. I was hoping we would have had enough ravioli leftover for dinner tonight, but the package only had a little over 2 servings and we had barely stretched it to 3 servings.

What to do when grocery shopping won’t happen until the next day and you don’t want to eat out?

Look in your freezer.

I found a bag with 2 servings of my Super Bowl Chili Mac, so I heated that up in a pot on the stove and roasted some broccoli in the oven.


I love roasted broccoli. I love that the edges get kind of crispy.


I also love having stuff in the freezer for when I have no plans and no food! At least we still had a homemade meal.

I’ve got one load of laundry going and still have a full hamper. I have a feeling this rainy weekend will be filled with laundry  🙂

Do you like grocery shopping/planning?

I usually do and love my early Saturday morning shopping trips, but there are some weeks that I just don’t feel like planning out meals or making my list.

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Bean-less Breakfast

After almost a full week of having some of the most amazing beans with just about every meal, I had my 2nd breakfast in a row with no beans in sight.

I actually  miss them….just a little 🙂

Nick and I woke up later than normal this morning to catch up on a little sleep, then got to making some breakfast before heading into town.


I made myself some grits and 2 over easy eggs for breakfast.


Runny eggs and oatmeal were 2 things I missed, among other things.

Plus 1 slice of bacon and some plums we picked up last night.


Nick also brewed up some of our Honduran coffee we brought back, so I’m grabbing that and heading out the door.

I’ve got an eye appointment at 9:30 and then I’m heading to work for the afternoon to start weeding through the emails.

Any fun plans for this weekend?

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Home Sweet Home

Welcome Home, says Roxy  🙂


It seems my guest posts didn’t go up when I scheduled them to, so I’m trying to figure that out. And we had a power outage at the hotel sometime on Sunday, and they just never got the internet hooked up again, so I had a nice 4 days with no computers at all.

The trip was amazing. I know I’ll be doing some posts on it with tons of pictures, so be ready for those as soon as I can get through the 600+ pictures I took! It was a great, crazy, unforgettable trip.

We got in to Nick’s parents’ house this morning around 3 am, slept until about 9, ran some errands, ate lunch with Nick’s mom and then headed home. We’ve got a few groceries to tide us over until the weekend, the bags are unpacked, and I am in my pajamas on the couch, getting ready for a long night of sleep.

I did take pictures of food for the first time in over a week tonight! I had so many other pictures to take while we were gone, that I just didn’t worry about it. Plus, our breakfast was at the hotel everyday and was basically the same: eggs, beans, fruit, coffee.  Lunches were either tuna or a pb & j tortilla plus fruit or a granola/Lara/Clif bar or nuts. Dinners were out and ranged from grilled meat/beans/tortillas/salsas, soup, fruit plate/smoothie, plain salad, etc. All good and no one got horribly sick, either.

Dinner tonight was super easy, and I’m really glad I thought to buy these before we left.


I cooked these ravioli and put together a quick sauce with:

  • tomato sauce
  • onion
  • garlic
  • italian seasoning
  • crushed red pepper
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper


I thought these were really good – I do think I liked their mushroom agnolotti a bit better, but these were very good and so quick to make.


We also threw together a quick salad with some romaine and tomatoes from our garden.


Can I just say how excited I was to have something whole wheat and a big serving of veggies tonight? We had some produce, but mostly in the form of beans, plantains, pineapple, watermelon, or a bit of salad on 2 occasions over the entire week.

I’ll be posting the last of the guest posts over the next couple of days while I catch up on everything and get back into the swing of things around here. I’m also extremely terrified to look at my google reader  🙂

See you for breakfast! This girl needs some sleep.

How long does it take you to get back to “normal” after a longer trip? I feel so out of it still after being gone for over a week.

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I love summer vegetables so when I found Heidi’s recipe for squash gratin, I knew I had to try it.

I made a few small adjustments according to what I had on hand- used store bought breadcrumbs and added cinnamon and coriander to the mix (I’m loving coriander lately). I also subbed a butternut squash for yellow squash because I wanted the dish to be sweet as well as salty.


The result was delicious! The gratin was hearty and flavorful and very satisfying. The veggies had a perfect golden crust from the breadcrumbs and cheese. This recipe was easy to make and did not disappoint. A perfect summer evening meal!


Jennifer and Jessica

Keep It Simple Foods

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Hi there! I first want to thank Brandi for giving me the opportunity to write this guest post and share part of my story with you.  Thanks, Bran!

My name is Christie and I write the blog I Quit Dieting.  As you can see from the name of my blog, I don’t believe in diets and I practice intuitive eating. I am recovering from binge eating disorder and for me, eating intuitively has salvaged my relationship with food and my body. Learning to eat this way has been a big challenge for me because I had a number of struggles to overcome. When I started on this journey more than two years ago, trusting my body was a foreign concept and I used food to cope with every emotion and situation under the sun. My path to healing has been a bumpy ride but now, I am in a place that I feel contentment and appreciate my body as it is today. In order to get to this place of peace, I had to learn new ways of coping with my emotions and situations that would trigger my compulsion to over eat or restrict.

My first step was to create a food mood journal where I recorded what I ate, when I ate, where I was on the hunger scale and any thing I was feeling emotionally. This was my turning point and I will never look back. Shortly after I started using this journal, I began therapy and discovered who I truly am. I learned what my triggers are and then, I started on the path of discovering ways to deal with them.  I have learned so many new ways of coping and I would like to share a few of them with you.

  1. Yoga  – I practice vinyasa yoga a couple of times a week and it has truly changed my life. By going with “the flow”,  I am able to just breathe through my challenges and by holding challenging poses for long periods, I learn patience with myself and the way my brain works. My practice has tremendously relieved my anxiety symptoms and I am able to deal with the day to day antics with a sense of calm that I never had before.  The vinyasa style is not for everyone but I encourage you to try out a few styles and incorporate a regular practice into your life.
  2. Regular, but not obsessive or punishing exercise – For many years, I used exercise as a way to punish myself for eating. Even “healthy” eating would trigger hours of exercise and beating myself up if I missed a workout. Now, I exercise regularly and only participate in activities that I enjoy. For me, that means walking, lifting heavy weights and yoga. I don’t exercise if my body (not my mind :D) tells me not to and I feel great.  I feel strong and proud of my body and my energy levels are through the roof.  Grab a partner and get moving, your body, and mind, will thank you!
  3. Coloring Mandalas – I discovered mandalas while I was in an eating disorders therapy group and it was another one of those life changing things. One of my problems with binge eating was that I could never identify the emotions behind the binges. Now, when I am feeling something that I can’t figure out, I grab my colored pencils and color. I flip through the coloring book and color the one that stands out the most. As I color, colors will pop into my mind and I use whatever those colors are. I always start with the color blue because it relaxes me and opens my mind to using all of the colors. During the coloring process, I often realize what the emotions are and if not, most books have a color analysis chart that gives some insights. At this point, I pretty much know what each color means in my life but it is wonderful to be able to look at the beautiful creation and feel whatever I need to feel.
  4. A strong system of support – It took me a long time to figure this one out but now I know how important it is to have people that understand me and my struggles. For me, this means a strong network of friends, a good therapist, an RD that specializes in intuitive eating and eating disorders. There is also a wonderful world of online support for those that don’t have strong support systems in their walking life. I find online support very useful because often times, the people in our lives are facing different struggles and online, we can find whatever kind of group that fits our needs. It is important to be able to reach out at any time that you need help and have someone there to listen and help you through.

Not using food as a coping skill is a really hard hill to climb but it can be done. Finding ways to ease my mind and face life’s challenges has been an essential step in my recovery. I hope that you can take some of these suggestions and incorporate them into your own life. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at Christie {at} quityourdiet.com

Thanks for reading!

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Hello Bran Appetit readers!

This is Lynn from The Actors Diet (www.theactorsdiet.com).  Our blog shows two actresses (one is also a nutritional health counselor) navigating the superficial world of Hollywood with health and positive body image in mind.

My husband is a vegetarian, so I’m constantly trying to make meals high in protein without having to resort to soy.  Once every week or so, I boil a bag of dried beans with some kombu and skim the foam off the top to prevent gas.


Then I put the beans in leftover glass jars, freeze them, and defrost the night before I plan to use them.   Or, I’ll just nuke them in the glass container, without the lid.


One of my favorite recipes for leftover chickpeas is mock-tuna.  This can be made vegan by using Vegenaise, but I like how the greek yogurt adds even more protein.

•    1 ½ cups chick peas
•    2 TB greek yogurt (I use non fat)
•    1 tsp sweet pickle relish
•    Squirt of yellow mustard
•    Salt and Pepper to taste
•    1 sheet Nori seaweed, torn into pieces (optional, for a more fishy taste)

In a bowl, combine all ingredients  except the seaweed and mash with a fork or potato masher (you can also use a food processor) until beans break down, but are still chunky.  Tear up the Nori seaweed and fold it in.   Serve with crackers, on crusty bread, or over a salad!


Thanks to Brandi for featuring us on her wonderful site!  Hope you’ll stop by and visit ours sometime soon.



The Actors Diet

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Safe Arrival

What a crazy few days we’ve had  – i’m sorry ahead of time if some letters are out of place or if there are strange symbols in this post, as the keyboards are different than the one i have at home.

we got here safely, no flight delays, and arrived to see a smiling and familiar face in Walter, who helped us put the trip together.

Our first full day at Jovenes went well yesterday, and a lot of work was completed on the roof. We made new friends with the boys here, and I already don’t want to leave. Nick’s mom, Gabby, and I had great helpers today from little Dennis and Munguia in weeding the flower beds. We also helped shuck corn for lunch and gave and received many hugs. They are just precious and are trying to help us learn more of their language – although I’m sure they’re having fun making fun of us, too.

Things are still a little stressfull here with everything going on and with the ex-President threatening to come back into the country, but everything has been peaceful so far. Our guides and helpers on the project are being amazing protection for us, as well as becoming friends and family with us.

I have already taken a lot of pictures, but I have no way to upload them, so those will have to wait.

Saturday we will go to the new clinic ot see some of the children we sponsor and then head out to Jovenes to finish one side of the roof and start on the other. Sunday will be a day of rest here, so no work, but we will go to church and maybe do a bit of sightseeing.

We are all a little sunkissed, a little exhausted, and our feet hurt at bit, but we are having an amazing time.

I cannot put into words what I feel when little Dennis meets me out of the van with a 2 minute long hug after just meeting me yesterday. Everything we are doing here, the money that we saved and spent, the time it took to get here, the sleep we may be losing, and the bit of sunburn on my arms is all worth it to see their faces.

I hope with all of my heart that everyone has a chance to truly serve someone else in their lifetime. For when you truly give of yourself is when you find out who you are and what really  matters to you. I would not give up this experience for anything.

I hope you all enjoy the guest posts!!! I promise some pictures when we get back, and I hope everyone is having a great week.


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I’ve decided to post my recipe for Brown Rice Crispy Treats (I originally got the recipe from Alton Brown, on Good Eats, but I’ve made several changes of my own.) These treats are so ooey-gooey, I wouldn’t believe they were healthy if I didn’t make them myself!


  • 5 cups of puffed brown rice
  • 1 tbsp of agave
  • 2.5 tbsp of flax oil
  • 3.5 cups of mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup of slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup of chopped dried cherries
  • ¼ cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 1.5 tbsp of almond butter or natural peanut butter

Start out by toasting the brown rice in the oven for four minutes at 400 degrees.


While the rice is toasting, put the oil, marshmallows, nut butter, chocolate, and agave in a mixing bowl and put the bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water.


Stir until the everything is melted together


*Note:  it should probably look a little less chocolaty than this – I went overboard on the chocolate – I always do! :-p

Remove the bowl from the heat and immediately add the toasted rice, slivered almonds, and dried cherries to the chocolaty goodness mixture.


Stir until mixed together.  Coat a 9×13 pan with oil, and press the mixture into the pan evenly.


Allow to cool completely, and then cut into squares. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.



I hope you enjoy. I usually make them when I need to feed a handful of people, as they only keep for up to 3 days.

Thanks, Brandi, for letting me share my recipe on your blog!



Running Around Normal

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Food for Travel

One of the biggest challenges on our last trip and this trip to Honduras is packing food.

We do have access to breakfast at our hotel every morning and dinners will normally be in the hotel or a restaurant nearby, but we’re basically on our own for lunch + snacks for an entire week. Since we’ll be out at the orphanage all day every day, we won’t have access to food stands or grocery stores during the day.  We pretty much just pack a huge suitcase full of food and bring it with us.

What kinds of things do you take for a trip like this?

Well, the biggest thing for us had to be convenience, ease of making/eating, and things that wouldn’t melt or go bad.

These are just the items Nick and I bought for this week:


  • Mountain Mix Mojo bars
  • Quaker True Delight bars
  • Cascadian Farms chocolate chip granola bars
  • Kashi Blackberry bars
  • 2 kinds of Odwalla bars (I finally found them!)


  • Honey Roasted Peanut Mojo bars
  • Chocolate Almond Fudge and Blueberry Crisp Clif bars
  • Coconut Cream (yay! finally found those too), Key Lime Pie, and Apple Pie LARA Bars – my mom also bought some pb cookie, cashew cookie, and cherry pie ones that are coming with my dad


  • Natural no-stir needed peanut butter
  • Squeeze bottle of grape jelly
  • single packets of almond + peanut butter


  • 100 – cal packs of almond, almonsds + walnuts, cocoa roasted almonds
  • single serve packets of mixed dried fruit


  • single serving trail mix
  • gum


  • pita breads
  • whole wheat tortillas – both to make pb & j wraps or tuna/chicken/salmon sandwiches


  • tuna pouches
  • salmon pouches


  • mayo
  • light mayo
  • mustard
  • honey


  • single serve gatorade mix-ins
  • large container of powdered gatorade

We also have to have other things on hand that aren’t food but are necessary:


  • wet wipes
  • flushable wipes
  • face wipes
  • shout wipes
  • Aleve
  • Purel
  • travel shampoo
  • travel face wash
  • pepto bismol + imodium

Nick’s parents and my dad also bought other food items, like:

  • premade tuna salad lunch packs
  • pb + cheese crackers
  • more bars
  • fruit cups
  • applesauce
  • plastic silverware
  • juice

and I don’t know what else  🙂 It’s funny to see just a suitcase filled with food, but you do what you gotta’ do!

I hate having to rely on so many packaged foods, especially since we usually don’t eat them very much, but I am glad we were able to find relatively healthy packaged food to take.

Breakfast should be good and a hot meal to start out each day. I’m just going to try to do my best at breakfast every day to make sure I have a filling and lasting meal, have a good amount of snacks/wraps with me during the day, and then make sure I have a good meal to end the day. AND make sure we’re all hydrated because it is hot there and we’ll be working outside the majority of the time.

How do you approach travel eating/planning? Any tips and tricks that work for you?

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I’m probably in the air right now, on my way to Honduras with my husband, his parents, my dad, the pastor at Nick’s parents church, and a good friend who’s been before.

I realized that I didn’t really give much information about why we’re going, what we’re doing, and what this trip is for, so I thought it would be good to explain it as we’re on the way.

Quick back  story:

Four summers ago, Nick, his parents, his sister, and I tagged along with a church from Miami to work at a clinic in Honduras for a week. While there, we did a variety of things to help out:

– bagged food to take to villages

– built houses for families

– worked in the dentist office and general health clinics at the free clinic

– entertained the children at the clinic

– packed up the clinic to take to villages that couldn’t make the trip, where we cleaned teeth, dressed wounds, passed out clothing for children, etc.

– visited an orphanage

It was an amazing trip, even the last day where I was laid up in the hotel, sick all day. Although the entire trip was life-changing, this orphanage seemed to grab a hold of all of our hearts. We were only there for 3 hours, but it didn’t let go of us.

You see, this isn’t any orphanage. It’s not like any in the states.

They don’t adopt out. These kids are saved from the streets and brought here to be raised up, educated, and taken care of.

Jovenes en Camino is a place that stole our hearts as soon as we stepped off the bus 4 years ago.

While Honduras has no sole claim on homeless children, the causes are painfully disturbing.

Many lost both parents to Hurricane Mitch. Others are unclaimed offspring of illegitimate and short relationships. The most disturbing situation, however, involves destitute single mothers who are forced to put their children on the street by the replacement male adult of the house. It is a form of self-preservation triage, and the male children are the primary victims of this culture.

The purpose of Jovenes en Camino is to intervene and break this cycle of hopelessness and abuse for 128 children by fulfilling the words of the Lord Jesus, “I was a stranger, and you invited me in”.



“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself undefiled by the world.”-James 1.27

God’s injunction encourages us to care for those unable to care for themselves. It is a happy burden that has been placed before us and we are called to pick it up. Jovenes en Camino is the manifestation of this call to action. It has been brought to fruition by countless benefactors, workers, and volunteers who have given selflessly of their wealth, time, and abilities to provide a home for about 80 children.

Many of the children at Jovenes en Camino are orphans. Others have been rescued from situations of extreme abuse. Still others have been forced into the streets by parents who are unable or unwilling to provide for them. The vast majority of street children are boys.


Physically: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy, Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”-1 Corinthians 6:19

The bodies of children at Jovenes en Camino are well nourished by a healthy and varied diet. Medical care is readily available and provideded by the Neil Howard Clinic in Tegucigalpa. They also maintain a very active lifestyle. The children frequently go on organized hikes in the mountains where they enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and can also swim in the rivers. Interns are often on staff and direct a variety sports programs. Soccer is by far their favorite physical activity. In fact, soccer balls get so much use that a brand new ball might only last one week before being reduced to a raggedy, flat, torn, scrap of leather.



Spiritually: “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”-Mathew 4.4

While some shelters provide only for the immediate bodily needs of needy children, the creators of Jovenes en Camino realize the importance of ministering to the complete person. In addition to caring for the physical well being of the children, Jovenes is designed to minister to their mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.   The reasons for this are twofold. First and most obviously, all these areas are important to the overall health of the individual. Second, by investing heavily in a relatively few number of children rather than providing minimal care for a great number we hope to break the cycle of poverty, destitution, and hopelessness. They will be offered the opportunities necessary to become contributing members of society, upright family men, and leaders in their community. Their children will not end up on the streets. The boys regularly attend church, have daily devotionals, and are surrounded by loving and godly staff.



The boys are currently enrolled in public school system. Smaller children attend pre-school and the smallest ones have class and organized play time with the house parents. Interns often teach English classes and there are plans to bring in a long-term volunteer to develop a more comprehensive English curriculum. The older boys attend technical classes on the property where they learn practical and marketable skills in the fields of woodworking, electricity, and mechanics.



Many children at Jovenes have suffered severe emotional trauma prior to their arrival and professional psychologists are available and periodically offer their services. However, the most important emotional support is provided by the staff that is there every day. They foster a caring and environment in which the boys can grow and mature. The house parents are there twenty-four hours per day and it is up to them to discern and dispense optimal doses of discipline, affection, and love. The brotherly love that exists between the children is also an invaluable source of encouragement and support.



The ages of the children range from about fifteen months up to sixteen years. Since Jovenes en Camino has only been operational for a few years it has not graduated any children yet. But for some of the older boys the age is rapidly approaching when they must venture out, spread their fledgling wings, and achieve some sort of self sufficiency. For some, higher education may be the correct route. Though public Honduran universities offer free education, the boys will need a source of income or financial support for housing and food during this time. Other boys may be more suited to enter into a vocational career. Plans are currently being made to help smooth the vital transition from Jovenes en Camino into the next phase of their lives.


The Jovenes en Camino Project ministers to the physical and spiritual needs of homeless Honduran children, using a foundation of Christian principles to educate and foster a healthy self-esteem. Our goal is to return these children into their communities as young men that love God and His Son Jesus Christ. The by-product of their faith is being a productive Honduran citizens, breaking the cycle of hopelessness.

Jovenes en Camino is our only focus on this trip. It means “Children on the Way”, and we are so happy and thankful that this trip has come together.

This trip is definitely different than the last; we are not with a large, organized group this time.

It is simply a group that formed out of the desire to go back to this orphanage and help in any way we could. There aren’t many of us on this trip, but I know we can do great things.

Our main mission this week is to put a new roof on one of the buildings at Jovenes.

It will be a long week. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining, but worth every minute.

Because when these boys come up to you calling you “tia” and “tio” and just want a friend to play “futbol” with…you can’t say no.

When they sing you a song they’ve learned in English and come onto your bus to pray for you before you leave after they’ve just met you…your heart melts.

They deserve everything I have to give. My life and its hardships are nothing compared to what some of these boys have dealt with in theirs.

When these boys love you with all they have even after just meeting you, there’s nothing I can do but give them all of me when I have the chance.

While I may not be able to solve the problems that led to these children being left on the street, I can be part of the solution.

There is always something you can do, no matter how big or small.

Here we go!

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