A Burger That Works For Me

Hi!  Yes.  I’m still here. Life is keeping me busy.  While my heart tells me that my blog is neglected, my mind tells me that grad is more important.

Anyways, look what I found!!

veggie burger

Why didn’t someone tell me about these??  I know all about the “other” Bubba burger, but I stumbled on these in Shoprite.

Now, y’all know that I am not big on processed foods, howeeeeeevvvvvver; in a pinch, the tasty burger works.  It has real identifiable vegetables! I mean, like, you can actually identify some of the contents!!  Imagine that!!

actual burger

The label reads like this:

ingredients

I will admit, that it has way more ingredients than I’d like in a box, but it still beats a big mac.  Eew!

As for the nutritional part…

burger nutrition

Will I eat this every day?  No.  But it’s not bad. I’m not thrilled about the 300 mg of sodium, but the most I would eat in a sitting is two burgers and this gives me 600 mg of sodium. The product is made in the USA.  Halleluja!! It’s gluten-free and the carton is made from 100% recycled paperboard.  They care about the environment, so maybe they care about the rest of us too.  Lol!

For lunch, I placed two “burgers” to a frying pan, added olive oil, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and slowly browned them on each side. Instead of placing them between two buns, I ate them solo with a sliced apple.

lunch

Two thumbs up for the Veggie Bubba Burger!!  Of course eventually, I will mess around with some of their ingredients and some of my ingredients to create my own.

I hope that you’re enjoying your summer and thanks for stopping by!:)

Smooches!

 

 

Slow Your Roll


In our busy lives, we often race from one activity to another. I too am guilty of that; however, I make it a habit on my work days to get up early- before sunrise, before anyone is up in my home.  When the house is quite, I have the pleasure of  enjoying the amazing sounds of the birds singing.

Getting up early allows me to move slowly and freely throughout the house but also to take the time to observe the beauty of sunrise, birds flying and singing, and other amazing insects and creatures moving about. 

Earlier this morning, I found this cutie (baby frog) sleeping on the window pane next to the front door.  It’s such an odd place–up off the ground and by the front door handle– I just had to capture him sleeping.:)


Please slow down and take the time to enjoy the beauty of each day!

Happy Monday!  

Smooches! :) 

Happy 28th Anniversary to Us!

Every love story is beautiful,

but ours is my favorite!

-Unknown

Twenty-eight years ago, June 4, 1988 at 3:10 p.m. I walked down the aisle of Second Baptist Church in Atlantic City, New Jersey to exchange wedding vows with hubby.

I didn’t have a clue about the amount of patience, love, sacrifice, commitment, and dedication needed to sustain 28 years of marriage and 32 years of friendship.

The one thing I knew for sure was that I deeply loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. How that would occur was a mystery that I would later sort through.

My father-in-law performed the ceremony, which made the day even more special. Although Reverend Cain died in 2003, the blessings he bestowed upon our marriage is still present today.

We were young and naïve but very committed to respecting and loving the other. I the extrovert; a crazy out going and out spoken hot-head. The contrast was my laid back introverted husband who internalized and mulled over everything before speaking. Talk about a contrast! I have wondered, “How on earth did it work?” Maturity, time, prayer, more maturity, more time, and more prayer helped immensely. I learned to speak less; he learned to speak more. Somehow we found a solid balance.

While I cannot speak for hubby, the past 28 years has been an enlightening journey for me. A personal journey that included bumps , bruises, detours, and exciting discoveries. Childhood relationships with my parents and between my mom and dad affected my relationship with my husband with great surprise. I saw glimpses of characteristics that I liked and that I disliked. The realization that I, and only I was empowered to make changes about myself that needed to be made was a relief. Cycles… some are meant to be broken.  The fact is that we don’t have to repeat what has been done before us. Some family traditions should end.  I say bury the old and build new traditions.

Sadly, I closely witnessed the shattering of too many marriages. I have never judged other marriages or thought that my marriage was better than others. I did, however, extract the lessons that I could from the failed marriages around me. So often spouses point the finger of blame, but don’t ask what did they bring to the table. In turn, my reality check is to stare in the mirror and ask, how am I doing? Do I need to make adjustments? Have I fallen off course?

Sometimes there are issues that exist within me, which require me to adjust and make changes. Other times, the pulse of our marriage needs adjusting– I think of it (the pulse) as a heart rate– Neither too fast or too slow is not good. I strongly believe that at least one person in every relationship, should have their finger on the pulse of the relationship at all times. The pulse being, the pace and mode of the relationship. Is it steady? Is it regular? How’s the vibe? Is it positive? Do things feel out of sync?  Am I happy? Is my partner happy? They are just questions that have worked for me.

My point is that marriage is not easy. Point blank, it is hard work and by no means do I claim to be an expert. We’ve been blessed for 28 years and I hope and pray that we are blessed we a good 28 more years. I want to be one of those couples who are married for over 40 years.  :)  While reflecting on the years, I came up with many lessons that I have personally learned. While this list could be longer, I dedicated one lesson for each year of our happy marriage. The original list was posted on our 25th anniversary.  Since then, each year I add an addition lesson to my list.

Lessons I learned from 28 years of marriage:

  1. I learned that speaking my unfiltered opinion, without considering hubby’s feelings was inconsiderate and to think before I speak.
  2. I learned that no matter how “I preferred” he do things, hubby is entitled and will do things the way he chooses to.
  3. I learned that I can only change and improve myself and that’s what I ought to work on.
  4. I learned that when you marry your spouse, you also marry your in-laws.
  5. I learned that just because you create babies together, doesn’t mean you will share beliefs on how to raise them. Your ideas on child rearing will differ. Compromise.
  6. I learned that your spouse will do things behind your back and you will do things behind his back.
  7. I learned that, if you allow it, children can take the sex right out a marriage. Keep it interesting and fun.
  8. I learned that one of the two will always appreciate romance more than the other.
  9. I learned that saying, “I told you so” is unnecessary.
  10. I learned that somebody ought to know how to cook a decent meal.
  11. I learned that you will like some of your spouses friends and you will despise some of your spouses friends. You opinion won’t change his relationship with his friends.
  12. I learned that married family and friends will divorce. Try to stay neutral. Your harsh words may return and bite you in the butt.
  13. I learned not to compare my marriage to another marriage. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and you cannot predict the future (of yours).
  14. I learned that solid marriages are built on friendships. Maintain a friendship with your spouse.
  15. I learned to establish and maintain my identity and my independence.
  16. I learned to become educated, even if you wish to be a stay-at-home.
  17. I learned to expect the unexpected.
  18. I learned to plan for the future, but live everyday in the present.
  19. I learned why older couples like my parents slept in separate beds. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point.
  20. I learned that the affirmation, “A women’s work is never done” is true.
  21. I learned that husbands and wives should have separate clothing closets and bathroom sinks.
  22. I learned that spirituality is important to a marriage.
  23. I learned that spouses who work hard as a team can accomplish amazing feats and can overcome incredible obstacles.
  24. I learned that spouses who hang out together are genuinely happier couples.
  25. I learned that your spouse is not a mind reader.  Don’t assume that your spouse knows what you want.  Tell your spouse what you want.
  26. I learned that if you have an open mind and an open heart, there are still things to learn from your spouse.
  27. I learned the importance of family vacations but even more importantly is to take vacations without the kids.
  28. I learned to be careful about who I allow in to our home.   Not everyone has your relationship’s best interest at heart.

Hubby and I have shared 28 solid good years. Were the years always perfect? No, but we’ve always managed to work through our differences in the most respectful ways and treat the other the way we wish to be treated. I am thankful for the 28 shares we’ve shared and pray for 28 more.

marriage

20130603-225103.jpg

June 4, 1988

20130603-225208.jpg

Exchanging wedding bands

20130604-212644.jpg

Spontaneous trip for our anniversary to Cancun, Mexico (2002 or 2003)

20130604-212550.jpg

Hubby forgot to tell me that we had an appointment for a family portrait immediately after leaving spending the day at an outdoor park. OMG! Look at those heads! LOL!

20130604-213738.jpg

NYE late 1990’s (I wasn’t natural then… I wish I were)

Do you have questions about marriage and relationships?  Although I’m no certified professional, I am happy to answer any questions.  :)  You can ask here or email me at lexawrites@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the weekend.

Why I Stopped Eating Poultry: It’s Not What You Think

quote

Jason Silva

 

One insignificant decision, good or bad, can alter the course of one’s life forever. The changes occur like a domino effect. One domino tilts forward causing a forward motion and for as long at another lie ahead, the movement is continuous.

 The “domino effect” is a great metaphor for how we choose to live. I say “choose” because the action is voluntary. Throughout our life, we can opt to remain unchanged and hold on to our conceptual beliefs, moral convictions, and unwavering attitudes or we can decide to open our mind and open our heart to the unknown.  For me, the later is working its magic!

Four days remain for me to finish reading, The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons.  A goal for 2016 was to seek more education, so I chose (there’s that word again) to work on a Master’s degree.  Monday ended my first class and the second course starts in four days.  Simmons book is a quick read.  I enjoy his style of writing. He is practical and deliberate and precise.

I am reading the book because I need clarity on what it means to be a vegetarian.

My domino effect goes like this.

In 2014, I competed in my first figure competition. The training took my already wholesome diet to a more sophisticated level of eating clean (insert link). Building muscle mass requires more than throwing up weights.  Depending on your fitness goal, increasing muscle mass requires eating significant amounts of protein.  Because I don’t eat red meat (since 1994), my go to was poultry and seafood.

Toward the later part of 2015, I was getting tired of eating chicken and turkey.  Thoughts about giving up both on a regular basis occasionally plagued my brain, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up the likes of homemade turkey burgers and turkey chili.

January 2016 rolls around, and without doing much research, I take the plunge.  I decide to give up the chicken and turkey and go with more seafood and more plant-based protein.

I was consistent until February 7th, SuperBowl 2016.  The weekend was busy and for the first time in a month, I failed to plan— I was stuck for meal prep.  In a haste and, in spite of my goal, I bought chicken breast.  For the next two weeks, I ate chicken.  Then something happened.

The unexpected.

The hot flashes returned!

HOTFLASH

HOT FLASH!

 

For most of 2015, I experienced hot flashes from hell!  From deep within, an insane and intense radiating heat ignited then spread to every part of my body extending to my scalp. I’d look like someone threw a pot of water in my face.  By 8:30 in the morning my clothes were sweat-stained. As sad as it was, I don’t believe in hormone replacement therapy or any types of medication.

I was just going to adjust my wardrobe and deal with shit.  Since the summer was only a few months away, I could dress half-naked when needed.

By the end of January, I noticed less frequency-almost no hot flashes, but I did not make an immediate connection.  The ah-ha moment was after Superbowl weekend when I started eating chicken breast again.  The hot flashes returned with venom.  They increased in frequency and in intensity.

How on earth could chicken breast affect my hot flashes??  I searched online for a connection between chicken and hot flashes.  Nada!  Zilch!  I could not find a connection.  Furthermore, I was buying Lancaster County Poultry from a nearby Farmers Market. “Lancaster County has the highest density of organic farms in Pennsylvania and one of the highest in the country.” Their chickens are said to be all natural, free of growth hormones, pesticides, and fed a vegetarian diet.

The effects may be a coincidence, my body is rejecting the meat, or perhaps something that is in the chicken.  I don’t know.  The fact is that currently and since I stopped eating poultry, the only time I sweat profusely is during a workout. When the intense summer heat arrives, I will see what happens.

Also, when I get more time, I plan to read, Eat Right 4 Your Type. The premise of the book is that not all foods are suitable for all blood types and based on one’s “genetic code” and “characteristics,” they are predisposed to certain illnesses. It is an interesting theory that I will certainly explore.

Okay I know, I got off track.

After two weeks (February 21, 2016), I returned to plant based, and seafood as my protein source and the intense and unbearable hot flashes have almost entirely disappeared.  I no longer walk around looking like someone threw a bucket of water in my face.

Is this a coincidence?  I don’t know.  Only time will tell, so for now, I chose to stay away from poultry.

More of the domino effect.

Two and half months have passed. Since I stopped eating chicken, turkey, and pork, which I never ate much of, I decided to continue eating hard-boiled eggs, omelets and scrambled eggs.

One problem!

At work one day, while eating my hard-boiled eggs, I started gagging and was so confused. I managed to eat three but tossed the fourth egg and have not eaten a hard-boiled egg since.

After the boiled egg incident, I tried an omelet but added about one and a half cups of Tuscan kale.  I was okay with that and wolfed it down.

So for now, no more hard boiled eggs.

All of the diet changes have led me to consider eliminating all animal-based foods from my diet but I need clarity.

Does that mean I will be a vegan, vegetarian, or something else?  Hmmm… Heck at this point, I don’t even know what to call myself. Not that I need a label, I am just curious.

Low and behold I found http://www.vegsoc.org.    The Vegetarian Society, who defines a vegetarian as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses (what’s that?), nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

Pulses are beans and lentils.:)

This definition may be debatable for some; I was curious from hearing people declare themselves as “vegan” or “vegetarian.”  At this point, rather than get hung up on a label; I am proceeding slowly. As I sort through the particulars of plant-based protein sources and diets, I will continue my diet without the poultry and eat seafood as needed and continue to educate myself on meatless meals.  Plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein.

My fitness plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein. I need to continue researching and find out what will work for me.  I believe there is no cookie-cutter approach to diet (lifestyle) and nutrition.  What works for one does not work for all; therefore, I have lots of tweaking to do.

Are you vegan? Are you a vegetarian or another identify with another label?  Are you a bodybuilder or gym rat who lives on a plant-based diet?  If so, I need you.  Please comment and share your experience or advice.

Thanks for stopping by and make it a great day!

Adjust Or Go A Bust

“Remain flexible and teachable so that you can make necessary
adjustments in life.”
Mz Liz

Adjust 

[uhjuhst]

  1. to change (something) so that it fits, corresponds, or conforms; adapt; accommodate
  2. to put in good working order; regulate; bring to a proper state or position

 

Today marks the end of my third week of grad school. Whew!!  Adding reading assignments, papers, and projects to my already busy schedule is a challenge– challenging but not impossible.

This weekend is about adjusting.  I am making the new addition to my routine fit.  I am adapting my weekly routine.  I am accommodating new tasks.  I am deleting some things from routine (less social networking time) and putting others (my son’s tutoring, basketball, etc..) in order.

Accomplishing anything good in life required adjustment.

If you can’t adjust, you will certainly a bust!    -tfc

Sunday is my meal prep but last week did not work too well, so I had to adjust my routine.

I moved the majority of my shopping day on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to Friday evening. The change frees me up for Sunday.

The second major adjustment is my cooking day. To free up more time to read and to write, I moved cooking from Sunday to Saturday afternoon… umm… I just looked at the clock.  The “afternoon?”  I started cooking at around 5:30 p.m…. the current time is 8:33 p.m., but it is done.  In between cleaning up the kitchen, letting the food cool down, and putting items away, I’m snapping pictures.  :)

What’s cooking?  A hodgepodge of quick dishes for me and my peeps. The only menu items left to cook are veggies and I’m working on those.   I don’t have enough time to write recipes and all, but I wanted to give you an idea of what’s happening in my kitchen.

 

spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash… it is quick and easy to prepare.


mexican quinoa

Mexican Quinoa is a hit with hubby, is loaded with protein, so it works.


black rice

This black rice will pair nicely with the black-eyed peas.


black eyed peas

My first attempt ever at meatless black-eyed peas.  I add extra goodies like garlic, jalapenos, and substituted water with vegetable broth, so the peas should have a nice 


sweet potatoes

I can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes.


sausage dish

Mom will love this!  Sweet hot sausage and turkey kielbasa cooked in a fire roasted tomato sauce.  Whoever want to indulge can enjoy it over whatever style of pasta they choose, just don’t touch my black rice.  :)


crock pot

I would be lost without my crockpots!  The third crockpot is full of steel cut oats in the fridge. 

 

The point of this post is to remind you that when trying something new, you have to be flexible.  What works for me may not work for you.  Also, what worked for me yesterday isn’t working for me today.  So no worries.  Take in a deep breath–slowly release the air and keep it moving.  I have a ton of work to do and must go. See Yah!

Happy day to you!! Smooches!

 

 

 

 

Combatting Monotony For Change 

“The only time you fail is when you fall down and stay down.”
Stephen Richards,

Have you ever caught yourself about to do something that you knew was wrong?

If you are not careful, monotony can lead you to go astray- completely off course from your goal. After leaving the gym last night; I needed to eat.

This week, my daytime and evening,  Monday to Friday gigs were unusually busy. A series of events,  resulted in a refrigerator full of uncooked food. No matter what I decided to eat, would require some form of cooking. I did not feel like cooking, besides school work awaited me.

While driving home from the gym last night, a mental mêlée of sorts played out.

Just call Frankie’s and order your grilled chicken fajita salad with extra chicken. From my car, I place the call. Hmm…. They are busy tonight. I’m never put on hold like this. I hold. I continue to hold.

Wait!! You’re about to order chicken!!! What are you doing Tanya? Dial tone. I disconnect the call.

Okay, so now what? Well, Friday night can be your cheat day. Order pizza… a pizza with roasted peppers, garlic, and spinach; yeah, that’s what I’ll order.

Awe dang.   Where is the protein? I rationalize that I can have a shake with the pizza. I place the call. Geez!! They are busy too!! Holding…holding… holding music… holding.   I hang up!

I’ve already detoured my route home. I just can’t decide what to eat. Finally the thought occurs to me that I should not eat the pizza or the chicken salad. The delay in trying to place my take out orders is universal energy trying to stop me from getting off my vegetarian path. I got it!

I drive home and cook a spinach, tomato, and garlic omelet. I eat the omelet with two slices of Ezekiel raisin bread covered in peanut butter. I am satisfied.

When setting personal and professional goals, we have to understand that tests and challenges occur along the journey. However, by remaining present, paying attention and listening to our conscious and inner voice when it speaks, we can stay on course.

I almost slipped, but I did not. Hallelujah!

Yesterday’s dilemma rolled over to today, but mentally, I was already planning.

Today’s Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Smoothie (strawberries, spinach, protein, half avocado, blueberries, flax seed coconut milk.

9 O’clock snack: Steel Cut oats (added cinnamon, blueberries, strawberries, & coconut milk and a shake

Noon lunch: Mango salad (spring mix, canned tuna (in water), mango salsa (mango, red onions, red pepper, cilantro, and ginger), radish, and half jalapeños pepper.

mango salad

By the way, the mango salad is a first for me. It was delicious- a nice blend of sweet (mango) and spicy (jalapeños). To resist food boredum and to continue to create healthy dishes with new and exciting flavors, I try combining different foods.

3:00 p.m. snack: Gala Apple & protein shake

6:00 p.m. dinner: I’m working on something light because we have dinner reservations later tonight and I don’t want to eat too much.

Stay encouraged and resist the desire to return to your old habits. Have fun on your journey and take each day as it comes. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Smooches!😉