Walking

I’ve resolved this month to spend more time in nature. I started a new job in April that requires a longer commute so I’m in the car and/or my office a lot these days. That’s not really what led me to decide to get out more though. What really prompted this was my discovery that Google is tracking me. I know, I know. It’s creepy, corporate domination, big brother, rise of the machines, etc., etc.

It happened on June 1. I got a notification from Google Now (a service you have to enable to let Google track you) (I mean, they probably were anyway)(but maybe they’re not creepy and weren’t until I said they could?) that I had walked 3 miles in the month of May. That’s probably not super accurate because, according to the Google Now terms, Google only gets periodic updates (they claim anyway) and I don’t carry my phone with me every time I go for a walk (unsafe, I know), but that’s still a number that’s waaaaay too low for my taste.

So. This month I’ve decided to make sure that number is a bit higher and I’ve been trying to make sure I get at least half an hour of time in nature everyday. Usually that takes the form of a walk either with the bear dogs or the husband and baby. Sometimes it’s just some time playing in the yard and gardening with the baby. Sometimes its a lunchtime stroll across campus. The point isn’t really a specific activity. It’s to make sure I see some sunshine and get a little more movement in my life.

Thus far it’s going really well. All the time in nature is making me focus on things I wouldn’t have noticed before. Like that there’s a couple of wild ducks that hang out in my neighbors yard in the evening and that my dogs give the illusion of being really well trained when there’s other people around provided those other people aren’t also walking dogs. Here’s my favorite view from last night’s walk in the park near my house.

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My Top Five Pregnancy Cravings

Everyone always talks about the amazingly weird cravings they have during pregnancy. I haven’t had any really weird cravings (no pickles and ice cream here!), but I have had some pretty strong, one might even say irresistible, cravings.  Here are my top five cravings in no particular order.

1. Chocolate: I’m not usually a huge fan of chocolate. I mean, I like it, but I usually don’t crave it. Until now. I’ve been craving dark chocolate, which I don’t usually even like that much. I’ve not really been giving into this particular craving that often, but when I do I just have a piece of a chocolate bar.

2. Spinach: I always like spinach, so that’s not a huge surprise, but I want it at least 3 times a week these days. How have I been satisfying this? Well, I’ve been making smoothies and adding a handful of spinach in. I’ve also been making Italian Egg Drop Soup and having a lot of spinach salads.

3. Black Beans: Pretty much in any way possible. Black bean salsa dip, black bean chili, black bean tacos, black bean soup. Love. Them. And cannot get enough.

4. Guacamole: I’ve been eating this like crazy. As a dip, on sandwiches, in soup…

5. Watermelon: There’s not much to say about this. I’ve been eating at least one baby watermelon a week by myself. I’m really hoping that all this super hot weather we’ve had this year means the watermelon season will last forever, because if there’s one thing that’s really gross it’s out-of-season watermelon.

6. Sharp Cheddar: I know, I know. I said this was a list of my top 5 cravings. As it turns out, I have 6. I can’t stop eating sharp cheddar cheese. Really the sharper the better. I usually pair this with granny smith apple slices, but it’s not unusual for me to just eat  slice.

As I was typing this list, I realized I haven’t blogged a lot of these recipes yet. I’m shocked since most of these are my favorite recipes in general. So, expect a lot of recipe posts in the coming weeks!

Did you, or anyone you know, have weird cravings while pregnant?

All good things must come to an end

S. and I are leaving our glorious beach vacation behind today. We were planning for a late departure this afternoon complete with a mini beach day, but then we both got horribly sunburned yesterday. So that plan got scratched.

Despite that we had decided to get up in an attempt to see the sunrise one more time. When the alarm went off this morning, I got up, opened the curtains, and… Rain. Lots of heavy rain. Sadly, I climbed back into bed (first time I’ve ever written that sentence). A few minutes later, when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I decided to get up and have some coffee of the very drippy balcony. That’s when I saw this:

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Despite the really heavy rain (which miraculously didn’t show up in the picture) I can see the sun rising!

Hope your Friday is as surprising!

Vacation!

I’ve officially been on vacation since Friday and it has been absolutely fabulous. We’ve been sleeping in, walking on the beach, eating fabulous meals, laying on the beach, I’ve been yoga-ing, and… just generally doing things at our own pace. You know. Like you do on vacation.

While it’s been amazing and I’m having a wonderful time, just doing whatever we feel like doing whenever doesn’t make for much blog fodder. I mean, I could go on and on about how much I’m enjoying taking 3-4 mile beach walks everyday and detail all the shells we’ve collected and how I got a terrible sunburn yesterday, but, frankly, I think I’m the only one who wants to relive all that. So, here’s some pictures I’ve snapped with the ol’iphone.

View from our room

First time on the beach

Our “homemade” beach chairs. Surprisingly comfortable.

S. watching a storm roll in

Me on the remnants of a sand castle… it was impossible not to get my belly in the shot.

The beach at dawn.

I’m off to enjoy another day lounging on the beach. Hope yours is just as enjoyable!

Homemade tomato sauce

If you’ve been following me on twitter today, you know that I’m officially on vacation!! Of course, this is roughly the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.* But, like all things, there is a downside. This week my CSA share, which is normally shared with R., is all mine. And it’s full of tomatoes and corn and peppers and tons of other things that we can’t possibly eat all of before  our trip.

*Note to the future offspring: that was hyperbole.

So, to use up a large chunk of the tomatoes, which, incidentally have been fabulous this year, I made fresh tomato sauce. I used a recipe that was included with the CSA this week. It’s really simple: Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and Basil.  I added some balsamic vinegar and food processed it all until smooth.  After the sauce is complete, just add to some hot pasta and top with some Parmesan.

Lunch today. I also added a tofurkey Italian sausage.

This is basically a perfect summer meal, light, fast, and full of the taste of summer. Fabulous!

Summertime Smoothies

Smoothies are pretty much my favorite summertime snack. I like them year round, but a smoothie on a summer afternoon is bliss in a glass.

Bliss in a Glass!

I started drinking/making smoothies the summer that I studied in Paris. Our study abroad group was instructed to eat yogurt regularly before we went so that the active cultures would help protect us from any foreign bacteria. At that time I (weirdly) didn’t like yogurt at all. (I think it was texture thing). So I started making myself smoothies with yogurt in them everyday for a month or so before we went. When I got back, the tradition continued.

Afternoon Smoothie. 

Since I love them so much, I thought I’d share my super easy recipe.

Ingredients

Orange Juice (or whatever juice you like) 1/4 Cup-ish

Frozen Fruit (whatever you like) 1/2-1 cup-ish

Yogurt (vanilla for sweetness) 1/2-3/4 cup-ish

Method

1. Get out your blender

2. Put the OJ (or whatever juice you like; I like the citrus for some acidity but Hubby prefers apple) in the blender

3. Add the Frozen Fruit

4.  Add the yogurt (if you have plain, put some honey in as well)

5. Blend until smooth. (If it’s too thick, add some more juice)

Et voila! Delicious smoothie. I’m sure you noticed that the measurements are not so much measure-y. That’s because I don’t really measure things. Unless I’m baking. That’s the only time it’s necessary, in my opinion. Anyway just use the measurements as a guide and do what seems delicious. You can’t really make a smoothie bad.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!