Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flat Out Pizza

I had/have an absolutely horrible headache today, so I didn't feel like making a fancy dinner... although, to be honest I rarely do. I've decided that I'm an "assembler" as opposed to a cook - I like to put a bunch of things together and eat them as opposed to cooking or baking. I think that's fine (hopefully my husband does too) but sometimes it's hard to keep from turning to processed foods. I like things that are fast, but healthy.

Here's what I threw together:

A Flatout Wrap topped with some tomato paste and organic mozzarella cheese. I stuck it in the oven for a couple minutes and waited for it to heat through and the cheese to melt. I used parchment paper to make for easier clean-up.

I steamed some spinach and threw it on top. Viola! Spinach pizza.

I wondered if it would be even better with the spinach underneath the pizza, so I made another pizza for my husband:

I guess it was, because he ate some of it before I could snap a photo. :)

Do you have any crazy quick dinner ideas?

~ Susan

Thursday, September 27, 2012


What I Ate Wednesday is a blog social event held on Wednesdays by Jenn of the blog Peas and Crayons. It's an opportunity to share a day's food diary and to check out what other bloggers are eating. This is my first WIAW post. :) Thanks for hosting, Jenn!

Today was an interesting day in terms of food.

This morning I woke up and went to the gym. I usually don't eat before I work out, so I ending up eating a very late breakfast. I was feeling like lentils, so that's what I ate. :)

My boss surprised me with some Kim Bap today, so I had that for lunch instead of what I had packed.

Kimbap is Korean sushi. It's usually made with rice (bap) and pickled vegetables, but it basically can contain ANYTHING (...except raw fish, which is what I usually associate with sushi). The roll I ate had some pickled vegetables, egg, some sort of pork/sausage (which I removed) and crab. I really like Kimbap, especially rolls that are made with lots of different pickled vegetables.

I had a Chocolate Cherry Chip Torte Larabar for a snack at work.

I'm getting a little bored of my go-to Larabar flavors (Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough). Can anyone suggest some new flavors to try?

I ended up eating what I had packed for my lunch at work - meatless meatballs and a salad -  for my dinner. After dinner I drank a serving of GoodBelly.

GoodBelly is a probiotic juice drink that is supposed to help your digestion. My stomach has been feeling a bit weird recently, so I'm hoping that the probiotics will help regulate things.

I ended the day with a small handful of dark chocolate covered peanuts. I ALWAYS have some sort of dessert. :)

~ Susan

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Fall! & Howl-O-Scream, A Review

The fall season has officially arrived, and I'm so happy! Fall is my favorite season - I love the slightly darker days and the cool temperatures.

Image source

I also really love the holidays that come in the fall - Halloween and Thanksgiving. What's not to love about Halloween? Cute/spooky decorations, scary haunted houses, and CANDY! This weekend my husband and I went to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, a holiday event at an amusement park in Williamsburg, Va. We've gone to Kings Dominion's Halloween Haunt in the past, but we really wanted to go to Busch Gardens this year because it  has a reputation for being a bit more upscale. The long and the short of it is: Kings Dominion's Halloween Haunt is SO MUCH BETTER!

We spent the day going on the various rides. Verbolten, the newest ride, was really cool - there's a twist in the middle that really took us by surprise. :) I think that Busch Gardens has more roller coasters than Kings Dominion, but we went on far fewer rides because we  couldn't navigate our way around the park. We actually started following a crowd of people, hoping they were going towards a ride, until we heard them saying they couldn't find their way around either! Also, I think that Kings Dominion's "medium" rides (not full-blown roller coasters, but ones that aren't for children) are much better than the comparable ones at Busch Gardens - for example, the Beserker at Kings Dominion goes all the way around and is thrilling, while the Battering Ram at Busch Gardens... isn't.

We made sure we were in line and waiting for one of the haunted houses when they opened at 6 P.M. Busch Gardens has six different ones. While we were waiting, no fewer than seven people cut in line in front of us. Some of the Busch Gardens security guards noticed and commented on it, but did nothing. We were towards the beginning, so I assume there were others cutting behind us as well. I asked the lady who was in control of letting people into the house what their line-cutting policy was. She said that they did not allow people to cut in line and that line-cutters would be removed... clearly that was not true. Kings Dominion has an extremely strict line-cutting policy that I have actually seen enforced. You wouldn't think that was a big deal, but considering the wait for the first house was 30 minutes, then for the second was 45 minutes, and the third was an hour, it was extremely annoying that people could just by-pass the entire line. A different park employee told us that the waits by end of the night was going to be around three hours. I don't know if that made sense, because she said that at 8:00 P.M. and the park closed at 10:00.

We ended up only seeing three houses because we decided the other three just weren't worth the wait. They weren't very scary. It seems that Busch Gardens decided that they'd rather have employees man the inside of the houses instead of the lines outside.  That didn't make any sense to me because: a) having people standing around in the houses in black Busch Gardens shirts and khakis really broke the mood and b) the majority of visitors at any given moment weren't outside the houses, not in them.

Also - the number of small children who were in line for the haunted houses was astounding. There were signs and oral announcements that parents were strongly discouraged from bringing their children to the haunted houses. The kids were so high-strung that several burst into tears when they saw park visitors who had paid to have their faces painted to look like ghouls or zombies. The ones who actually got into the houses didn't last long. If I had a nickel for every sobbing kid I saw... I would have a couple bucks. :-p I'm not sure if Kings Dominion has a different policy about children at their Halloween Haunt, but I didn't see anyone under the age of ten when I went in the past.

In the future, we'll definitely skip Busch Gardens and head to Kings Dominion instead. Kings Dominion also has the added bonuses of being closer to my house and a lot cheaper. Don't get me wrong, Busch Gardens is a great park - their food is infinitesimally better than Kings Dominions, and their shows were high-quality. But, for me, the draws to these parks are their rides and their haunted houses and Kings Dominion has Busch Gardens beat on both of these.

How about you - do you have any favorite amusement parks or Halloween events you like to go to?

~ Susan

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Creamsicle Goodness

I've been making "creamsicle shakes" for breakfast for the past couple of days. Here are some variations on the standard recipe:

Banana Creamsicle

1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. soy milk
1 banana 

StrawBana Creamsicle

1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. soy milk
5 strawberries
1/2 banana

Berry Creamsicle

1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. soymilk
1/4 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 c. frozen strawberries
1/4 c. frozen raspberries

Add fruit to the blender with the soy milk, orange juice, and (if you like) some ice. Blend until smooth and serve.

Make sure you use calcium-enriched soymilk and orange juice in order to get in a good dose of calcium! I also make sure to use organic soymilk and berries whenever I can. Any of these "shakes" will provide you will a good amount of soy isoflavones and Vitamin C. :)

~ Susan

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Staying Healthy While Working Late

My husband has been working the night shift for the past few months and has a few more to go before the project he is working on is done. It's been hard for both of us because we don't get to see each other at all during the week - he gets home from work right after I've left for it. His health has also been affected by his current schedule.

Humans are not made to stay awake while it’s dark. Doing so disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythms, which control many biological functions such as sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, and body temperature. Staying awake while it's dark also triggers a low-level but persistent inflammatory response, damaging the body and causing illness. Night shift work increases your risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. If you’re working the night shift, you have to go the extra mile to protect your body and health by:
  •  Exercising before or after your shift. This helps to reset your clock and eases inflammation.
  •  Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Look for ones that are high in flavonoids and antioxidants (apples, bananas, berries, orange juice, broccoli); they will help tame inflammation.
  •   Finding ways to manage your stress. Working nights can cause an increase in stress hormones that fuel disease. Combat this by meditating, reading books you like, lighting a candle, or taking a bath.
  • Getting seven to eight hours of straight sleep. For the first few months my husband slept a couple hours then woke up when I got home from work before going to bed for a few more hours. Eventually we realized that he would feel so much better if he sleep seven straight hours, even if that meant I didn't get to see him.

For more information about flavonoids, check out this PDF created by the USDA. A chart with the flavonoid contents of selected foods begins on page 11.

~ Susan

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I used to love Orange Juliuses. You used to be able to get them at my mall, but the stand closed down a long time ago. I've recently been craving the taste, so I tried out a kind  of weird combination, but in my mind it tastes just like an Orange Julius. For anyone who hasn't ever had an Orange Julius, it's like a Creamsicle that you drink. Try this knockoff version!
Orange juice
Vanilla soymilk (light soymilk actaully works best; it mixes better)

1. Combine equal parts of orange and vanilla soymilk in a glass/cup/shaker/blender/whatever you want.
2. Mix it up, then drink it up.

I also spotted this bar at Whole Foods recently:

I wouldn't say it tasted exactly like an orange float, but it was delicious.

~ Susan

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shaving Essentials

It's summer, which means I'm shaving almost every day. My legs can get quite irritated, so I take care to use products that soothe rather than chafe. Here are my current products that ensure smooth skin:


1. Schick Quattro Razor/Blades - I used to use the cheapest razors, but after using these, I realized that a more expensive but higher quality razor is really worth the extra money. They give a closer shave and stay sharp for more uses, so I think I actually save money in the long run.

2. EOS Vanilla Bliss Shave Cream - Any shave cream will do, but this one smells especially nice.

3. Shea Moisture Honey & Black Seed After Shave Regenerative Lotion - I've found that using a lotion immediately after shaving prevents razor burn. This lotion is supposed to slow hair regrowth, and has a light, pleasant scent.

4. J.R. Watkins Hand & Body Lotion in Lemon Creme - I like to use this when I want to smell extra yummy. It smells super sweet - it really makes me feel as though I've had dessert. It's a little over-powering, so I only use this on days when I don't feel like wearing perfume (otherwise the combination of scents would be a little much).

~ Susan

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vegetarian McDonald's

Have you heard? McDonald's is opening its first vegetarian-only restaurants! Unfortunately, there will only be two... and they'll both be in India. Bummer, it would be nice if there were some more readily-available vegetarian food options.

While I think it's best to try to eat produce and other whole-food items, sometimes fast food becomes the only option. For instance, sometimes I forget to schedule time for me to eat and I have to grab a quick bite on my way to work from a haircut or a doctor's appointment. A lot of fast food chains have relatively clean options for meat eaters - some variation of a grilled chicken salad. It's a bit harder when you're a vegetarian, because vegetarian options are often laden with cheese or a high-calorie sauce. Here are my top five meals to grab on the run for vegetarians:

1. McDonald's. McDonald's has salads, but if you ask for them without the meat you're basically eating lettuce. I order a fruit and walnut salad and two side salads. This comes out to about the same cost ($3.50) but is much more filling.

2. Subway. Order a veggie delite or a veggie max sub. I usually get a foot-long veggie delite with every vegetable (if you only like some of the toppings, don't be scared to ask them to double the amount of everything) and eat half for my lunch and the other half for dinner.

3. Starbucks. Get the grilled vegetable sandwich and ask them to heat it up for you. Also get a banana to eat on the side.

4. Supermarket. Run into a supermarket and grab some pre-cut and packaged fruit, crudites, hummus and pita. Dip the crudites and pita in the hummus and eat the fruit on the side.

5. Snackbars. Sometimes I'm on so much of a run that I don't have any time to stop at all. Because this happens more than I would like, I started to have a couple of Larabars in my purse at all times. I can always eat one or two of these in cases of emergency. You can also stash some nuts and/or dried fruit in your purse or at your office in cases of emergency. I love cashews, almonds, prunes, and craisins.

Let me know if you have any veggie options for those of us who are on the run!

~ Susan

Sorry for being MIA... I've been dealing with some stuff and didn't have the time or energy to blog. /: But, now I'm back!