Archive for May, 2008


food list

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists

Food I have
beets w/ greens
3 small zucchini (hopefully still good)
1 larger zucchini
spring mix lettuce
2 limes
string beans (maybe still good)
grilled onions and other vegetables (from BBQ)
2 tomatoes
I want to buy some fruit


1 quart whole milk
1/2 quart 1% milk
1/2 pint heavy cream
opened pint sour cream
a lot of tzatziki sauce

beef roast (needs to be cut up into meal-sized portions, some frozen)
2 strips grilled beef (from BBQ)
1 cup fowl chili left
1/2 cooked chicken breast

What/when I shall eat
Friday, May 23rd
leaving work at 2pm
reheat last of soup.
set up to make more stock
wash dishes
start season 3 of Slings & Arrows
make a salad with the roasted onions and stuff and a third of the grilled beef.
Also, slice the beef roast into portions and freeze.
4pm – Hatha Yoga?

Saturday, May 24th
11am volunteer at Mazzoni Center (1201 Chestnut) to prep for trans health conference
lunch – salad with the 1/2 chicken? salad with roast beef and string beans?
4pm-6:30pm – West Philly Art Rising Showcase @ Studio34 – $5
quick dinner? (wee zucchinis?) Dahlak?
8-11pm – Music Showcase @ Studio34 – no fee mentioned

Sunday, May 25th
12:40 Massage – 7th & Market
Make soup
roast vegetables: beets, carrots, large zucchini (to east separately or put in soup)
*make pita chips

Monday, May 26th
9am – pilates
noon-5pm work
5-7pm – party at [redacted]’s – potluck? Maybe I’ll make pita chips* and take the rest of the tzatziki
7pm – yoga class (will probably skip)

Tuesday, May 27th
8:30 pilates?
if not, go to gym and work on arms
1-9 work
have I used the baby zucchini yet? If not, throw together any remaining meat and make a stir fry.


In the dysfunctional food vein

   Posted by: Livia N    in dubious, Food

If I make it through the night without devouring the cheese dip (even a little bit), I get blackberries with real sugar and milk for breakfast.

ETA: Did not eat more cheese dip. Had blackberries for breakfast. Harrumph – next time it’s with heavy cream! Cheese dip and tortilla chips are now safely located at work where people who are not me will eat them.

ETAA: Gad! I got into work at 8am! (I’m supposed to be in at 9am, but I thought I’d sneak in before the rain starting coming down.) And the whole rest of the week will be morning hours, too.

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Binging and purging

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, weight/exercise

Binging (yeah, I, too, thought I was joking when I came up with the post title – but I’m running with it)

So the first week I started Weight Watchers was crazy! I had a lot of fun and went out to eat (fairly indulgently) every single night. But I only gained the ~4 pounds I had lost due to starting physical therapy, so I just chalked it up to picking the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

This week, however, I have been mostly good… aside from the wee gathering I had at my friend’s place that was populated almost completely by people who love to share food… and aside from the extravaganza of finely grilled MEAT (and many excellent side dishes)… Okay, so there was a bit on binging, but it was *awesome*! [redacted] is not only excellent at providing her guests with tasty meat, but he also looks good doing it.

Purging (still running with it – sorry)

I have been exercising like crazy this week! And liking it!

So last Wednesday at physical therapy, I did my 10 minutes on the elliptical. For the past couple weeks, I have found a nice even pace that I can maintain the whole way through (which is better at the elliptical than I ever thought I’d be); the machine says this pace is 8.4mph (13.52kph). YAY! Oh, yeah, also last Wednesday, my usual person came to me and said, “So is it all right if I let a student run your workout since she’s bored?” And I was very agreeable since I was hoping for something a little more challenging – and boy did I get it. While I had once asked about standing on a squishy thing (umm… the physical therapy is for my knee and not only is balancing a good skill to have, but also it builds up the muscles around the knee that start doing some of the work of keeping the knee aligned that the stuff I damaged did) and had been humored for the one session – but this time the woman had me stand on a squishy thing while throwing and catching a ball. Also she had me stick my leg out to the side while using an elastic.

So Thursday… I did not take the day off. Well, I did take the day off work (since I was meeting my mother and other people from my old neighborhood for lunch at Buca di Beppo – Hmmm… maybe that should have gone in the binging section, too), and to make up for all that free time, I decided to check out the new yoga place near me: (Studio 34. After you get up the treacherous flight of stairs at the entryway, the site is gorgeous – two classroom studios (large and medium), many small rooms for community massage/acupuncture/reiki/pilates workers to rent out for individual sessions, a large public sitting/dais space with plush cushy couches, and a wee little library space! So I took a pilates class, and while I have woefully inadequate abdominal muscles, I still managed to complete about half the class. And the next day I discovered that I do, indeed, still have lower abdominal muscles. I thought they had been lost completely (I’d been going crunches over this past month or so and not been able to feel them working at all. Now I can – ow :-> ). And, luckily, that day there was only one other woman in the class, and this was her first pilates class since giving birth, so I wasn’t too hopelessly outclassed. I think I can build this into my schedule twice a week for the future.

And then I’d thought about going back for a 5:45 beginning yoga class that same day, but I was feeling a little sleepy after the drive back from lunch, so I didn’t manage to get out of the house in time.

I did, however, manage to make it to the 7:30pm Belly Dancing class. The woman teaching the class is rather impressive, and I hope I manage to find a way to take more classes with her. She has a foreign view of belly dancing, so she is all about small movements working very particular muscles in a certain way – and it does really make a difference. Even the posture is different. Of course it also helps (and makes things a little bit more brutal) that she has a strong background in yoga. I was definitely also feeling those muscles in a way I haven’t from belly dancing before. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be able to remember much from the two classes total that I’ll be able to schedule.

So that was Thursday,

Then Friday I had more physical therapy – at the new intensity level. It was only after I finished the step section that my therapist told me that the other therapists were talking while I was doing it because they’d never had anyone use *four* levels before. And my nice steady speed on the elliptical magically went up to 12.3 mph, but I must have been reading the display wrong – or it was broken. I’m still waver between wavering at the end of 10 minutes and feeling like I could push on through to 15.

And then this morning I went to my second pilates class. There were more expert people there, but I was able to do just as much as the first time, and I can definitely see where these are exercises that make sense and will benefit me. Hopefully, I’ll keep it up. You don’t have to make a commitment to a series of classes, either – you just pay $10 per class on a drop in basis – and pilates is available most mornings at a very workable time.

And then an hour later, I went to physical therapy. Mostly, it went very well, but it took a while to build up to balancing on the squishy pad.


So here’s what that means in Weight Watcher’s land: you gradually work up to *blah blah proprietary information* 28 points. I earned an insane 45 points – and I’m not sure I counted everything.


Fowl Chili

   Posted by: Livia N    in Recipe, soup

I just made (what I thought was) a tasty chili.

Fowl Chili

Soak 1 cup of cow peas (because I had them hanging around my pantry from an experimental purchase – feel free to use kidney or some such)

In soup pot – saute 1 diced onion, 5 cloves coarsely minced garlic, and a dozen diced baby carrots in a little olive oil. Once it’s almost translucent, add 2-3 teaspoons of ground cumin and cook a couple more minutes.

Add the drained peas. And at this point, I added some duck stock because that’s what I had made most recently. Feel free to use chicken stock. Ummm… about 10 cups… well, as much as my pot would hold.

I also added 1 link of turkey sausage (frozen) and one chicken breast (frozen). Then I left that over medium heat while I ran a couple very quick errands. When I came back, I pulled out the mostly-cooked breast, sliced t, and then returned it to the pot.

At the point I added herbs: a few sprigs of fresh fennel, fresh marjoram, and fresh savory – all minced. 2 teaspoons of ground oregano, 2 teaspoons of Penzey’s chili powder (which ended up making it plenty hot because I let the soup cook a long time), 2 generous (but not quite heaping) teaspoons of regular paprika, just a pea-sized amount of smoked paprika, and a pinch of sugar.

I added some leftover dark meat from a roast chicken. And once it was thorought ly cooked and not going to crumble, I sliced the turkey sausage.

I finished the soup off with a teaspoon of flour mixed with lukewarm water (shaken together in a jam jar is the easiest way) – this thickens slightly, but it also really makes the taste smoother.

I had originally planned to add a can of tomatoes, but the soup was very tasty without, so I didn’t mess with it.

Served with fresh bread and a large dollop of sour cream to cut the heat.

(It ended up cooking for 10 hours)

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More lists than my average food lists

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists

So a while back, my grocery store had a (no entry fee) sweepstakes where the grand prize was a big ass television or some such. Luckily, I won a secondary prize: $100 worth of groceries to be bought all in one go, with no change given.

So, of course I’m going to list every item (39 of them) for you:

  • Things to use/serve socially
    • 2L A&W Root beer
    • 1 jar salsa, medium
    • 2 bags Herr’s potato chips (of which I have already eaten one *facepalm*)
  • Potentially healthy diet-ish foods
    • 2 jars salsa, hot
    • 1 lb whole wheat rotini (pasta)
    • 2 5oz packages of sexy spring mix lettuce (because I am a total sucker for spring mix)
    • bag of Carolina brown rice
    • *multigrain* tortillas (yeah, I don’t even know if they fit in this category, but I have developed a passionate love for tortillas based on their infinite shelf/refrigerator life and tastiness)
  • Kitchen staples
    • 5 lbs granulated sugar
    • 1 qt 1% milk
    • 2 boxes gallon ziplock storage bags
    • 4 jars pasta sauce (so one is vodka cream sauce, but the other three are perfectly respectable)
    • jar of pimentos
    • 3 cans coconut milk (and I had a complete brain fart and got the full fat variety because I can get cool international brands)
    • 1 can of red salmon
    • 2 jars of peanut butter (crunchy for eating, creamy for cooking)
    • bag of chocolate chips
    • dishwashing soap
  • Random sauces/condiments for fun
  • Impulse purchases
    • 1 qt whole milk yogurt (I hovered between nonfat and whole milk yogurt for a while, but I couldn’t ring myself to do it yet. Now I need to think of something to cook with it)
    • 1 gal orange juice
    • a flour sifter
    • 2 (small) containers of Edy’s Dibs
  • For the person accompanying me on the expedition
    • bag of generic frosted cereal
    • Carr’s Whole Wheat crackers

And what did the total come to with tax and all? $100.89! I have a feeling that I should have been able to make it stretch a little farther, but I got it right on the nose. Yay math!

But you know what? I was totally virtuous in not buying the velveeta, but I have just remembered that I promised to make my sleazy cheezy dip this weekend, so I have to go in and buy some anyway.

And I also have stuff in my fridge
string beans (I don’t really feel like eating string beans, but my mother bought a ton of them and split them with me – feel free to inspire me)
broccoli (+1 stem because I used the other head for dinner last night)
hot red peppers
3 small zucchini
2 packages of lettuce
2 tomatoes
some baby carrots
2 limes

duck stock
4 oz tandoori turkey that turned out rather well

a little bit of roasted red pepper cream cheese
1% milk
1qt yogurt (unopened as of yet)

Meal Planning
I have no plans!

Ummm… Tomorrow (Thursday) I’ll blow everything on lunch with my mother and the neighborhood ladies at Buca di Beppo (I want cannelloni and the escarole side) and there will probably be leftovers to bring home and add to this list of food

Friday – I guess I’ll be eating the tandoori turkey (with one of the green things as a side – maybe also a salad so the lettuce doesn’t go bad before I can eat it)

Saturday – I’ve plans to go to a barbecue (taking sleazy cheezy dip) And if I haven’t eaten them yet, maybe I’ll slice (lengthwise) the zucchini and marinate it in olive oil and Penzey’s pasta sprinkle for grilling… maybe.

Sunday – Eep! I am hosting people. I have made no food plans. Maybe I should start a soup on Friday so that it’ll be especially tasty by Sunday. That would give me something to do with the stock… I need to check and make sure the stock is still good. I’ll boil it tomorrow morning and set some aside for my mother (assuming it’ll be good since it should still be happy)


Healthiness is only vaguely like truthiness

   Posted by: Livia N    in weight/exercise

So today I took the plunge and went to a Weight Watchers meeting.

I am so confused by the core plan. My head says, “Oh, well that’s what I’ve been doing all along and maintaining, so that’s no good.” So I really think I should have planned ahead and done a food log for this past week so I would have written down the fried egg and bacon on rye bread with cream cheese sandwich I had for breakfast yesterday. I mean, sure, I had a nice moderate lunch and a pretty healthy salad for dinner, so it really might have still fit within the plan, but I’d at least have something I could compare either way.

And there are the random whole chocolate bars. Nom nom nom…

So I might have to do the point system… which is sad, since one of my secondary reasons for leaving Weight Watchers last time was that I was just obsessing over food way too much, and you all know that I love obsessing over food (but, man, there wasn’t much room for obsessing over anything else!).


So here are my thoughts on Weight Watchers –

  • the main reason why I quit last time was that I ended up feeling cold and getting sick more, but that was only after I had lost 60 or 80 pounds (I forget – this was more than 10 years ago, but it was some nice round number like that)… so I am thinking this time that I only want to lose 50 pounds and then maintain that for a year or so before even considering whether I want to lose more.
  • $15/week is a decent-sized chunk of money to just do what I’ve always been doing.
  • While I am only mildly thinking it wouldn’t hurt to weigh less, I certainly don’t want to weigh more than I do right now… and that means that failure doesn’t get to be an option… and I don’t like that type of scenario very much. It’d be safer not to mess with things and know that I can just stay at this same weight that I have managed to keep perfectly stable ever since I got my own apartment and settled into my current lifestyle.
  • On the other hand, not trying is for cowards. Grr!


And I am having trouble figuring out walking. Who knew it could be so hard? Okay, so I did – I have always suspected that I had no idea what a proper stride was supposed to be like, but I never had anyone to tell me.

Well, in physical therapy (for my knee), I have had someone tell me! It’s been awesome. Apparently, my toes are supposed to come up and hit the ground last. And, yeah, when my knee is better, I do have a little bit more of a heel strike, but when I’m limping I set down with the ball of my foot first… which has saved me from many a fall, since I can adjust a lot better to uneven ground that way. But she told me to walk around on just my heels, and I gamely went ahead to give that a try and found that I just don’t have the muscles to do that! A whole set of muscles in my leg completely unused ever. So we’ve been working on that. And my therapist keeps looking at me and sighing, “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to try walking in sneakers?” And I am all, “Sneakers are the work of the devil – they weigh a lot, don’t bend enough, and when I go to sit on the floor they get all in the way and dig into my thighs and feel, in general, like lead weights.” But it comes out more like a bit of a wince and, “Yeah, sneakers and I don’t get on so well.”

So then I went and read a timely article on New York magazine on how to walk… and they are all – sneakers are the work of the devil, and everyone walks with way too much of a heel strike.


So I’m not really worried because I figure it’ll all even out and all of this heel walking will eventually mellow out into a more proper stride, but what I really want is a walking coach who will walk next to me and give me pointers on every pitch and yaw of my feet. And how much my knee should bend. And how fully should you straighten your leg while it’s in front of you before you put your foot down? Do you balance the forward and backward extensions? Why do I get this weird wear pattern on the bottom of my sandals? Really – I have no idea how to walk.