Mine’s better

After staying a little late at work Monday, I made a trip to the grocery store, where I was, you guessed it, starving.

I was in the mood for a seitan concoction I made last week with my homemade seitan (which I blogged about making here) which consisted of spinach flat bread that I crisped in a pan, sautéed green and yellow squash (which I am still obsessed with eating), a spot of shredded cheese and crispy seitan.

Since I was the aforementioned starving – and it was too late to make the homemade version, I bought my former trusty – and small! – package of West Soy seitan.

Sure, it saved time, but in the end, I really think my version is better. And I thought you should know. 🙂

Have a happy hump day!

Nikki

A perfect 10

Yesterday’s trip to the gym at 6 a.m. was my 10th day of exercise in a row, making today’s at-home Pilates/yoga/calisthenics mash-up day No. 11!
Is it weird/narcissistic I keep counting the entries in my Exercise Log Book 1. To make sure that I counted right and 2. Because I am pretty proud of myself? 

Plus, since starting this new regime last Monday, I’ve lost four pounds from this regular exercise and, of course, cutting out all the shitty foods I had been turning to.
Also: I’ve only eaten meat twice (and a very little amount at that) and kept the dairy to a minimum.

Both are a pretty big milestone for me – especially since my regular readers know how I’ve been pretty lax and down about myself the past two months. I added some interval jogging to my treadmill routine the past few visits, which is getting me closer to my goal of putting the run back into Run, Nikki, Run – at long last.

I feel pretty damn good – inside and out – and wore a fabulous new outfit yesterday that I felt really smashing in.

Here’s to the next 10 days and the 10 after that and the 10 after that …

Nikki

Hello, seitan

Vegan/vegetarian yum yums!

After a trip to Wegmans yesterday, where I bought the pirate’s ransom of vegetarian-friendly goodness you see at left, I decided to make myself housebound today (after a trip to the gym, natch) to give the homestead a good scrubbing and cook for what is going to be a busy week.

Up first on the food front was finally trying to make homemade seitan. I love the store-bought kind, but it can be pricey for the smallish package you get, so when I stumbled across a post from Vegan Monologue that made homemade sound pretty darn easy, I was sold.

After some modifications (I didn’t have marjoram, nor the garlic or onion powder, so I used oregano which the Interweb said was an OK sub for marjoram plus a dash of onion flakes and garlic salt), I set about making the seitan, which really was a lot easier than expected. And, despite being seriously OCD about my hands, I didn’t half mind kneading the dough.
Even though it did kind of resemble vomit in its early stages.

Homemade seitan, Part 1: The looks-like-vomit stage.


Next, I put the loaf in the already boiling water and set about cleaning for the next hour. I flipped the loaf at the halfway mark – and had to add more water because I didn’t take into account that my pot was wide and tall, so by the end, the water was 98 percent gone.
Knowing is half the battle, as that old G.I. Joe PSA used to say …

While the end result was slightly watery because I just didn’t drain it enough, I guess, it tastes just as good as the store-bought kind and was stupidly easy that I have no reason to not make it from here on out.
Thanks Vegan Monologue!

Can’t wait to make this into many tasty things this week!

I also grated a kohlrabi I bought at the local farmers’ market after testing it and loving its crisp refreshing-ness. Like the farmer who sold it to me (for a steal of $.70) suggested, I’m going to use the gratings to add a bit of crunch to this week’s lunch salads.

Is it sinful I’m feeling terribly proud of myself for my food exploration today? Granted, the seitan was simple, but it wasn’t so long ago that cooking was, to me, microwaving a Lean Cuisine.

Well, I’m fixin’ to make this super-productive Sunday a super lazy one from here on out. Hope you are happy doing what you’re doing!

Nikki

P.S. – If you ever see So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk green tea frozen dessert, get it. It is fantabulous. 

Dancing queen … not

Years ago, I took an online “What’s your theme song” quiz.

I’m a total Elaine – and damn proud of it.

Upon tallying my answers, the site determined that Abba’s “Dancing Queen” was my tune.

I thought it was fitting because 1. It is my favorite Abba song, and 2. When I think of myself at my most fabulous, I always think of myself at 17 – before college, before life really got real, before I cut my hair, before I began struggling with my weight – and because I was, naturally, just like the girl of the song who’s “young and sweet only 17.”

Since then, every time I hear it, it makes me happy, and I unabashedly sing along, and maybe sway a little bit wherever I am.
Yes, yes I am one of those singing-in-their-car rock stars.

In real life, however, I am the exact opposite of a dancing queen. I’m not even a dancing jester. Well, maybe upon seeing my moves, you’ll disagree with that last part, but I digress.

That point was driven home last night when I attended a new fitness class that blends dancing, tai chi, tae kwon do, aikido, yoga and more.

I’m never really one for group fitness classes (save for that boot camp that I loved so much last year), though I’ve always wanted to try Zumba, I am too self-conscious of my lack of rhythm.

Think I’m being too sensitive? I present exhibit A: I was asked to move to the back during a step class I frequented back in the late ’90s because I was throwing everyone off. Exhibit B: I was asked to leave the dance floor of a friend’s wedding during “The Electric Slide.” By the DJ. Exhibit C: The one kickboxing class I went to – where I was the only person there, mind you – the instructor couldn’t hide her laughing at how off I was. Exhibit D: I punched myself in my own face doing tae bo. By myself.
Yeah, that’s enough public mortification for one lifetime methinks.

But there was I was last night, and like I blogged Wednesday, I was excited to do something new and different to maybe get over this public-class fear. While I did enjoy myself and felt like I got a good workout, I just couldn’t make my body do what everyone else was, so I felt kind of lost. And just when I got something down, the move changed.

But then I did what I do best in class situations: I just moved in my own way that kind of looked like the others – even if I went left when they went right or back when they were front, thus almost crashing into pretty much everyone.
I just kept chanting, “Hey, least I’m moving.”

By the time we got to the part where we could just dance to our own idiom, my inner Elaine was all thumbs shouting, “Now this I can do!”

What’s your favorite fitness class, and why should I try it?

Nikki

An eye-opening experience, or what *finally* clicked

I’ve been pretty open about how low I’ve been feeling about myself, but Saturday, which truly was a spectacular day in our beloved New York City, was just as much an all-time low for me.

For my birthday last month, the fella got me tickets to see “Roger Waters: The Wall Live.” Pink Floyd is my No. 2 favorite band, so this was a big deal for me to see. We decided to spend the night in our favorite city and got an early check in, so we had all day prior to the show to wander the streets snapping pics, lunching at our favorite restaurant, treating ourselves to Pinkberry and got to meander through a multi-block street market.

Aside from the high temp, it was a great day and an even better night because the show was fantastic. Afterward, we took the subway back downtown and had a late-night dinner before making our way back to the hotel.

Since it was such a super-hot day, the kind that melts you inside and out, I wore what any normal gal would wear on such a day/night: A summery tank top and a flowy skirt.

Sure, both were sensible for the weather, but for my legs, not so much. By the end of the day, during which we must have hoofed it 100+ blocks, my thighs were chafed beyond belief.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that I am embarrassed as hell to admit that because it makes me sick about myself and how far from my goals I’ve let myself get. And it finally, finally, finally made me so sick and disappointed in myself enough to say: “Enough is enough.”

I don’t want to be this person anymore. I don’t want to keep derailing myself. And I don’t want to look like this in pictures anymore.

Let’s consider this recent beachy photo my ‘before,’ shall we?

Aside from how I feel about myself, I feel so damn lucky to have a great and loving fella and family, fantastic friends and a job I am passionate about – now, it’s time to take back myself … from myself.

And starting on Sunday, that is just what I did.

– I got home from the city and took a long, brisk walk.
– Monday I ate healthy, and the fella and I clocked a three-mile walk.
– Yesterday, I ate even more healthy, and we logged four miles.
– Tonight, I took a solo two miler after a date with my mom.
– And tomorrow I’m taking a new fitness class that I’m writing about in next week’s issue, something I’m very excited about.

Plus, I’ve already mentally scheduled my workouts for Friday, Saturday and Sunday – and I’m actually looking forward to them – and made a return to My Fitness Pal, which I find as helpful as always.

In just these few days, I feel better about myself, empowered and ready to kick my own ass.

As an added incentive to myself, I have made the life (and body)-changing decision to treat myself to my very first tattoo when I reach the 25-pounds-lost weight. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, especially now that I’ve realized what My Perfect Tattoo is, and I’m looking forward to it.

I hate that it took something so embarrassing to me to get me to this mentally ready phase, but I really am glad that something finally just clicked.

When was your “aha” back-on-track moment? How do you keep the momentum going?

Nikki

I saw this post on In Pursuit of More – and my stomach instantly growled. Coconut milk is my absolute favorite, and I have a feeling this will become one of my favorite breakfasts ever – especially since I’m in full-on cherry obsession mode right about now!

Nikki

in pursuit of more

Sometimes I feel like I live in a dream.

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.

~ Goethe

Well it is officially summer here in Vancouver. After a long spring, and many, many cold & wet & rainy days, the temperatures here are now warm again! I thought it would never come, but it did!

And oh, how sweet it is. One can hear many times the words of those who live and love in this dear part of the world. The words that forgive the endless days of rain and cold to be grateful to live in such a stunningly beautiful place.

It’s a good life.

I am one lucky girl.

Today’s recipe comes from an ingenious idea for a salad that captured my attention here at Sprouted Kitchen. I was so intrigued at the idea of cooking quinoa with…

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Dinner, last night

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Finally got back to making myself a vegetarian dinner last night.

I made thin rice noodles with smoked tofu and yellow and green squash that were sautéed in a citrus stir-fry sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. So yummy!!

I have a lot left over to pick on for the rest of the weekend, which is always a party bonus.

Next goal: Get to using that tahini I’ve had for a while and only used once!

Suggestions??

Nikki

Resolution check: June (or, There’s still hope for me)

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Well, just like its predecessor, June was a bust on the resolution-keeping front – but much, much worse.

I exercised a paltry nine of the month’s 30 days.
Pathetic, I know. Boy, do I know.

BUT – even while I took a much-needed, long-overdue and uber-relaxing vacation last week, there was a whole lot of exercising done, including the very best kind: Frolicking in the Atlantic with the girl child for hours two days in a row and a horrid (but not really) walk up the killer hills of Rocky Point, Long Island.

The fella’s taken to walking those hills each night, and it’s inspired me to finally move my damn feet. As a result, we’ve walked several miles most nights this week – including last night’s four-mile stroll along the Susquehanna under some spectacular firework displays.
And these four- and five-mile jaunts are bringing me all the more closer to my goal of actually putting the “run” in Run, Nikki, Run!

And though we’re not off to an Independence Day party at a friend’s, we’re taking our sneakers with us for our nightly walk post festivities.

Happy 4th everyone – it feels good to have something positive to report, finally!

Nikki