Monthly Archives: September 2011
At my work, I am known as the teacher who always carries around a huge bag. Students and teachers alike comment on how my bag looks ridiculously heavy. They express concerns that I might be straining my back by hauling this thing full of books, papers, and school supplies everywhere I go. They even go as far as advising me to purchase one of those bags on wheels, and drag it through the halls of my high school rather than schlep around the one I currently sling on my shoulder. I, however, prefer the one I have.
My school bag is not the only bag I have in my life. There’s my purse of course, stuffed to the brim. And hanging out in the backseat of my car is my gym bag, which contains various outfits, sneakers and toiletries. Every night, I think my neighbors chuckle when they see me come home and struggle to unlock my door because I am not only sporting three different bags on my shoulders, but also anything else that I happen to be carrying in my hands. I am most certainly a bag lady of sorts!
Oh well, this is one of those cases in which it is what it is– hopefully all this heavy lifting will result in same fantastic shoulders and biceps!
I fueled all of my heavy lifting yesterday with a delightful lunch I have been making for myself every morning. Here’s a few photos of the mess/explosion I create in the lunch-making process!
It all ends up in one delicious sandwich!
Wrapped in foil, the above creation holds up well all day! It consists of 2 mini whole wheat pitas stuffed with sliced radishes and grape tomatoes, lettuces, a slice of cheese, chipotle hummus, and sprouts. Paired with a plum, it is my go-to power lunch! Heavy bags don’t stand a chance when I eat this!
I am very happy it is Friday. It’s been a long week to say the least.
What are your Friday plans? Do you carry around a million different bags too?
As I mentioned yesterday, I am going to make a conscious effort to do more things I perceive will be helpful in reducing the stress that is kind of dominating my life right now. I have thought of a few more things to add to my list of tactics and strategies to lower the amount of general anxiety I have been feeling lately. Check out yesterday’s post for the first five points of my list!
6) Stretch! I have been completely ignoring this part of my workout that is perhaps the most therapeutic and relaxing. Stretching just feels so darn good, and sinking into deep poses is a perfect time to kind of zone out and be mellow! It only takes a few minutes a day, and given the minimal amount of time it takes, it is kind of pathetic that I have been skipping it lately.
7) Stop multi-tasking. Multi-tasking in general is not a bad thing; however, I find myself so caught up in doing a million things at once, that I can no longer fully concentrate on any of the tasks at hand! For example, in efforts to keep up with my favorite shows, I often correct student papers and watch tv at the same time, or read/write blogs while viewing a program. I end up pausing the show to pay attention to a student’s work anyway, so why bother having the telly on at all? Full focus and concentration on one task may be a better strategy in cases like this!
8) Don’t overthink situations before they happen. I am one who tends to ruminate over what might, could, or will occur before the event even takes place.
A perfect example is in my teaching– I am always prepared for the day regarding each and every one of my classes. However, before the class even begins, I am already playing out scenarios in my head for what could disrupt my lesson or class, which obviously increases anxiety. I wonder what I would do if this happens (like no chalk in the classroom) or if that happens (students don’t finish the test on time), and usually none of the things I worry about ever happen, and if they do, it’s never a big deal! Being a planner is one thing, and I believe it is a very admirable quality at that. However, my tendency to over-plan might be taking things a bit too far. If I start to stress over situations beyond my control, I must take a deep breath and just let it go!
Honestly, I already feel better having typed out my goals for stress reduction. Yesterday, I met one of them by making a triumphant return to the gym after school. I ran for six miles, and walked for a few more, and even lifted weights for my legs! And I felt accomplished and fantastic afterwards. It was the perfect stress relief to gear myself for my school open house held later last night!
Are your working on any stress-reduction goals for yourself? If so, please share!
This post is not going to have too many pretty pics, because frankly, I did not take a single picture yesterday, and I only managed a few photos on Monday. Yesterday, like all other days recently, was go, go, go, and I honestly felt like I had no time to do all of the things listed on my must-do list. Monday was also incredibly packed with activity– so busy in fact, I still haven’t caught up with its to-do list! If you can’t tell yet, I am a bit overwhelmed and a bit stressed right now, and it is a direct result of having gone away this weekend and losing Saturday and Sunday as errand days. Thus, everything fell to Monday. I thought I would show you how my anxiety-inducing Monday schedule went:
4:45: Wake up!
5:00-6:20: Breakfast, shower, get ready for school which includes making lunch, and also getting my husband up so he can do the same!
6:23: Drop off the husband at the train station; head to work.
6:40: At work for the day!
1:30: School ends, but I decide to stay after for an hour to finish some correcting.
3:00: Make it to the gym for an hour elliptical sesh.
4:00-6:00: Errands including grocery shopping, getting my eyebrows done, and going to the dry cleaner.
6:15-7:25: Make a curry-ation from scratch, and draft a blog post while dinner simmers.
7:40: Pick up my husband from the train station, eat dinner together while watching Project Runway.
9:00: Drag my sleepy self to bed! Fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
Maybe my above schedule doesn’t strike you as overwhelming, but for me, it was. I usually strength train on Mondays, but I let that go, hoping I would fit it in Tuesday. Well, Tuesday came and went, and I skipped the gym entirely to get in a few hours of correcting papers after school yesterday. Normally, I never skip a scheduled gym trip or run, but I had so much school work piling up just from my classes yesterday, that I sacrificed gym time for time with my red pen!
I am a bit disappointed with myself for skipping my workout yesterday, but I think I made the right choice to focus on my grading (work takes priority people!). However, the last few days have left me feeling incredibly rushed and cranky, which is a feeling I detest. I realize I need to CHILL OUT, and today, I declare that I am revising my life game plan!
In other words, I am using this opportunity to list out some of the changes I need to make in order to get my stress under control. Here’s what I came up with so far:
1) Breathe. Deeply. Over and over again! I think taking a few deliberate deep breaths each day when I begin to feel overwhelmed will remind me of the fact that life, actually, is not so bad!
2) Chew thoroughly! My tummy troubles have been awful lately, and the bloating and distension I am experiencing are surely related to stress. I discussed this with my friend who practices Chinese medicine, and she advised me to slow down while eating and chew until my food is liquid. She said this would improve my digestion and also help me concentrate on the act of eating and enjoying food. Sounds good to me!
3) Get back on track with exercise. Ok, Ok, it’s not like I have forsaken exercise forever– I only skipped one day! However, I realize that sticking to my exercise routine after school is crucial as it is a primary means by which I do relieve stress. I don’t have to go all out every time, but going to the gym is a nice post-work ritual that helps me decompress from my day. Correcting can always wait til after they gym!
4) Smile more! And laugh more too! I get very serious and testy when I am under pressure. I think if I remember to physically put a smile on my face, I will remind myself that I have so much in life to smile about!
5) Appreciate my situation. I have a wonderful and rewarding job that I get immense amounts of satisfaction from. I have a caring and devoted husband who works hard to decrease my stress levels on a daily basis. My family is awesome. My friends rule. I know all of this and must remember all of this much more often, especially when I think life is trying to get the best of me.
I think this post may require another part– I know there are things I want to focus on that are missing from the above list. I need a bit more time to stew over all this, but I am certainly glad to be entering this hump day on a much more positive note!
Are there any revisions you want to make towards your life game plan?
Last night, I made one of my usual curry-ations– a stew of veggies, assorted spices, and beans. Usually, I add lentils, kidney beans, or chickpeas, but this time, I busted out my one can of fava beans, which I’ve been hoarding for quite a while now!
The purpose of this post today is not to highlight my curry-ation, though it was quite divine. Rather, I thought it would be fun to feature the fava bean itself, also known as the broad bean.
History alert: the fava bean is one of the most ancient plants in cultivation, and quite hardy and easy to grow, which is why it is such a staple of Mediterranean cooking.
So I don’t need to explain that a fava bean is a legume; however, it is important to note that in their original form, favas are contained within a long green pod, almost like peas!
From what my sources spill, favas are sort of a hassle to eat if purchased raw. One must shuck them and remove the string, and then par-boil them to remove the waxy coating surrounding the bean (source). Therefore, canned favas are often preferred to their fresh counterparts, merely for convenience’s sake!
The nutrition of favas is kind of off the charts: once cup has 13 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber, and they are also loaded with folate (44 percent of the daily value!), copper, manganese, and phosphorus as well. Fava beans also contain a significant amount of iron, which is why they’re often referred to as “the meat of the poor” (source).
Favas have a nutty taste and firm texture that can stand up to any amount of heat without really getting mushy (at least the canned ones can!). I love how chewy they are, and I appreciate the fact they don’t melt in your mouth like some beans often do when cooked. Here’s how they held up in my curry-ation:
Pretty good, right?
I do have one suspicion though about the canned favas I purchase from Westbrae Naturals– the favas are brown, which makes me think they are dried first, then canned and rehydrated through the canning process. I can’t confirm this, nor do I have an issue with this concept, but I am curious about if favas are available canned in their young and green form.
Regardless of this fava controversy, I love them just the same. So the next time you want to mix up your choice of beans, grab a can of favas– they are delish and extremely good for you!
Does anyone have any idea about the brown versus green fava beans? Have you ever had favas, and if so, how do you eat them?
Yesterday was the ultimate Sunday Fun-day! My husband and I attended a wedding Saturday night in Boston, and we stayed overnight at the Boston Omni Parker House hotel.
The room was small but cozy, and due to the extremely comfortable bed, I ended up waking around 7 A.M. Talk about sleeping in!
I hit the hotel gym for a 4.5 mile run while the husband slept for a bit longer. Eventually we made our way to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. I ordered a simple plain yogurt, granola, and fruit parfait. I wanted to keep it light, since I anticipated a Mexican feast later in the day!
We spent the day in the Boston area, heading over to Cambridge first, as my husband had an event to attend in the early afternoon at Harvard. Then, we headed over to the Copley area, window shopping along lovely Newbury Street. We walked around a bit, enjoying the warm fall weather.
Around four in the afternoon, we decided to head back home to Providence. We debated just eating at home, but the weekend had such a fun vacation feel to it that we decided to keep the party going by heading to my favorite corner Mexican restaurant!
This legendary spot is called Tortilla Flats, and it has been a Providence institution forever! In fact, I recall coming to this restaurant with my parents on weekends when I was in high school. My mom even tells me stories of when she used to come here with my dad before I was even old enough to remember!
Since we arrived before the dinner rush, we were promptly seated. I didn’t even need to look at the menu– I always order the same thing!
We obviously began our meal with their chips and salsa. When paired together, the chips and salsa tasted just like Doritos! I think I wanted to come here tonight just to satisfy my craving for their amazing jalapeno salsa! We got the medium spice, though mild and hot are also available.
Now you would think that would be enough to start off with, but no, we went further in the appetizer department. Tortilla Flat’s “traditional nachos” were also ordered and also dominated. Full of beans, cheese, guacamole, salsa, jalapenos, lettuce, and tomatoes, this gooey mess was eaten by the husband and I in its entirety!
Even though I was full by this point, I still ordered a combo special consisting of one bean burrito, one bean enchilada, refried beans, and Mexican rice. Their combo platters are their specialty– one can choose from a variety of both vegetarian and meat fillings, and in addition to burritos and enchiladas, tacos and tamales are also available. I ended up eating about half of the burrito, one-third of the enchilada, and left the beans and rice. My husband will appreciate these leftovers tomorrow!
Did I have room for dessert? Did you have to even ask? Mud pie please!
I ended up eating all of this. Coffee ice cream in an oreo crust, topped with crushed almonds, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and caramel drizzles– this mud pie was absolutely perfect! It wasn’t an easy choice to make though, as Tortilla Flats also offers some awesome delicacies like churros and fried ice cream.
All in all, this meal was a great (though decadent!) way to cap off the weekend. I love ending Sundays on such a sweet note! Monday, bring it on!
How did you spend your Sunday?