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Moving Day

Sorry for the short absence, I’ve been packing up and moving.  You can now find me at Healthy Living In The City.  I hope you come and visit me at my new home!


Back To (Lunchtime) Normal

It’s day three in the new year and day one back at the office in 2012.  All the holiday treats are gone and the Fat Days are over and it’s time to get back into my normal eating routine at the office.  I would love to say that I make gourmet meals every night to bring to work the next day for lunch, and while I do make pretty tasty dinners, leftovers are rare in our house, so the lack of time and leftovers equals frozen entrees for lunch.  I’ve tried several brands: Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, Eating Right (that might be a Tom Thumb brand, but I’m not sure), just to name a few.  But by far, my favorite brand of frozen entrees is Kashi.  While they don’t claim to be diet food, the different entrees come it at right around 300 calories, give or take, depending on the entree.  I’ve tried just about all of them and love all but one that I’ve tried.

Today is Chicken Pasta Pomodoro (along with an orange and a Camelbak full or water).

While a home-cooked lunch might beat a frozen entree, I really like the Kashi entrees because they have a reasonable amount of calories and a healthy balance between protein, carbs, and fat.  They, along with my selected piece of fruit, keep me satisfied through the afternoon.

The Chicken Pasta Pomodoro isn’t my favorite though, although I do enjoy it.  I need to add a little bit of salt to this dish to make the favors pop more.  I love the Mayan Harvest Bake, and if I had to choose a favorite, I guess this would be the one.  I love the sweet plantains in it along with the kale and quinoa (ingredients that you wouldn’t find in other major frozen entree brands).  It’s also vegan, which doesn’t matter for my diet, but it’s nice to know that not every meal I eat has to have a meat product or by-product in it in order to give me the healthy  balance of proteins, carbs, and fat. Other favorites include the Lemongrass Chicken (yum, major flavor), Pesto Pasta Primavera (I love pesto and this one doesn’t disappoint), and the new Spicy Black Bean Enchilada (it’s pretty spicy for frozen entree standards).

Another big time favorite of mine is the Red Curry Chicken, but I can no longer find it.  I’m afraid the makers of Kashi may have pulled it to replace it with the new Three Cheese Penne (which I’ve tried and approve of it).  If this was the case, I’d be very disappointed.  I’m a big fan of Red Curry and while I know it’s not very healthy from Thia takeout, this is what I always order (but with tofu).  So when I came across the Kashi Red Curry Chicken, I was super excited to have the red curry flavor within a healthy calorie range.  Even better, there are sweet potatoes in it.  I’ve never had sweet potatoes in red curry before so if I attempt to make red curry at home sometime, I’ll be sure to add sweet potatoes.  Anyway, if anyone out there from Kashi is reading this, don’t get rid of my beloved Red Curry Chicken.  If you need to replace the new Three Cheese Penne, replace it with the Sweet and Sour Chicken.  I don’t like that one.  All others I approve of!  (FYI, if you are looking to try the Kashi frozen entrees, I’ve found that Target has the best selection and best price.  Central Market comes in second, with slightly fewer selections but the same price, surprisingly.  They are ridiculously over-priced at Tom Thumb and Whole Foods and Wal-Mart has only two of the entree types.  I think Kroger falls somewhere in the middle.)

What do you all eat for lunch during the week?

Cross It Off the List

I have to say, it’s nice to spend a weekend home for a change.  Not that I didn’t like all of the traveling, but it’s nice to relax in my own home for the weekend.  Plus, I’m pretty crazy when it comes to making lists and being able to check things off, so this weekend was great to catch up on my lists!  Most of the weekend was dedicated to unpacking (finally) from Mexico and California, cleaning, and running errands.
Our computer room was the luggage room for the past three weeks.   It’s all picked up and put away (temporarily) now.  I went on a cleaning rampage to say the least.  All laundry including bath mats, comforter, and throw blanket is completely taken care of.  I ironed all the clothes that needed to be ironed (a task that I dread doing but usually get it done every weekend we are home).  I vacuumed the condo, including the stairs, which rarely gets done.  The bathroom has been scrubbed down.  The kitchen has also been scrubbed down.  And the kitchen, bathroom and entryway floors all have been mopped!

I also took Jackson (aka, Frederick Stonewall Jackson or Dr. Jackson) to the groomer for the longest grooming appointment ever!  Nick came with me for the first time to drop Jackson off and the groomer asked if we wanted the same as last time and Nick requested that she trip a little lower on his paws.  Jackson is very sensitive when it comes to his feet.  He doesn’t like anyone touching them.  It’s probably due to some distant memory he has of being completely declawed by his previous owners.  Anyway, the groomer took Nick’s request and ran with it.  Instead of Uggs, Jackson has little mittens on the tips of his paws.  It’s no wonder the appointment took 8 hours!  I can’t imagine Jackson being a happy camper when she trimmed the fir on his paws.
Here is Jackson before his haircut, playing dead kitty.
And here he is after, getting all curled up on his bed.

In addition to Jackson’s haircut, I managed to get my car washed, oil changed, shop for a bridal shower gift for my best friend from high school, Caitlin, apply to four jobs (one of which kind of relates to why I started this who The Urban Retrofit blog in the first place- but have completely been derailed by the rest of life since starting the blog), pay various bills, submit my credential maintenance to Green Building Certification Institute, which I just got an email about that everything went through and I don’t have to worry about being audited, and wrap up week two of half-marathon training (more on that later)!   I also made a trip to the grocery store and the pumpkins are out!  I couldn’t help myself, Central Market had so many different kinds of little gourds and a convenient bag to throw an assortment of them into.  I went to town.  Luckily they’ll last through Thanksgiving and it’ll put my urge to buy flowers at bay.
The gourds on the coffee table.
And the gourds on the kitchen table.

To top it off, I made a quick dinner from a Food Network recipe that I’ve modified.

What was Lobster Cob Rolls is now Shrimp Cob Salad.
Central Market makes really good herb-marinated grilled shrimp that I’ve used for another recipe and so I though I’d use them in this recipe as well.  I first made this salad back in grad school and since lobster meat was super expensive and hard to find without buying whole lobsters back in Michigan, I found great marinated shrimp in the shrimp bar at Whole Foods.  Much to my dismay, when I moved to Texas, none of the Whole Foods seemed to have the same shrimp bar that the one in Ann Arbor had, so I haven’t made this salad is quite a while.  Then, like I said, I discovered these grilled shrimp at Central Market for a different recipe.  It dawned on me that I hadn’t made this salad is a while and these shrimp were perfect for it, so I picked some up last night.  The challenge is to hide them well enough so Nick doesn’t snack on them before I use them for our meal.  I thought I did really well this time.  He was playing poker with his friends last night so I figured, surely he won’t even be digging deep in the fridge for a snack when he gets home, there was plenty of other stuff right up front that he could nibble on and the shrimp would be spared.  Sure enough, he found them!  Not too much damage was done, but I did have to start dinner fairly early this evening to keep from torturing him any longer.

All in all, it’s been a good and very productive first weekend home in the past month!  Just a few more items to cross of the list and I think this house will officially be in good order.  As best stated by the goddess of good-smelling cleaning products, Mrs. Meyer’s says, “A clean home is a happy home”!

Into the world of blogging I go!

It wasn’t too long ago that I told myself I would never blog… ever.  Haha.  Never say never, I guess.  I’m not one to consistently keep a journal, but I decided I’d give this blog thing a try.  The idea came upon me over the last few months in the search for a perfect job.

Let me take a few steps back… Nick, my wonderful boyfriend of 2 years (as of this Saturday officially, but a since July 2009 unofficially… that’s for another blog entry I suppose), had to go through the unfortunate experience of having his father pass away this past April.  We made a couple of trips out to California to deal with matters, and for some reason, this event triggered change for me.  Perhaps it brought back feeling of losing a parent of my own, perhaps it was getting out of Texas for an unplanned event, perhaps a combination of several things.  At any rate, these two trips  have caused a change or rather a reminder of what I once wanted to attain.

Back when I was in grad school at the University of Michigan, I was very focused on running of all things.  I’m sure my roommates, Anna, Austin, David, and Erin remember me being totally crazy about running; 3 miles every day, same route.  If I missed a day, I’d run double the next day.  With the running in my personal life, I really had a passion for designing communities for healthy living.  (For those who don’t know, which at this point in my blogging career, you all know me- I went to grad school for Urban Planning and Urban Design.)  Upon graduating, I got a job at an architecture firm in Dallas.  My running obsession completely stopped.  It was WAY to hot in Dallas to run outside and I was too poor to pay for a gym membership.  With that, my aspiration for finding a job that incorporated urban planning, physical activity, local food systems, public health and healthy living faded away.

Upon returning from our second trip to San Francisco and having gone through an emotional whirlwind during the spring, I decided that despite the money still not being there, I needed to join the gym.  I needed to do it for myself as a way to clear my mind.  Shortly after joining the gym, I realized that for the past four years living in Texas, I completely forgot about my aspirations and so the search has begun in the hunt for the perfect job that incorporates urban planning and design, public health, alternative transportation (rail, bike, foot), local food systems and healthy living.  Unfortunately I don’t know if that job exists.  So I thought, why not write about it.  Ultimately, I don’t want this to be a professional blog.  I want it to be fun to read; a way to friends and family to find out what’s going on in my life if they are interested.  It won’t all be about urban planning… I’m sure most of it won’t be, but at the very least, it will be a place for me to talk about life, professionally and personally as I’ve experienced it.

Well, entry #1 turned out to be much longer than anticipated, but I have to start somewhere!