I’ve been MIA

I know I have been MIA. Completely missing in action. I have, however, been in action. This past month I have been very busy with school, parenting, looking for work AND I earned my TURBO Kick Certification!!!

In October, I completed the 8 hour course. It was INTENSE. I had never done Turbo for that long or that hard. Let me give you a short synopsis of the day.  It went like this:

 

It was 8am on a Sunday morning. I had also stayed up until about 3 am the night before, don’t ask.

Anyway, the training was set to start at 9am. I arrived early. There were maybe a dozen women there for the training. Most of them worked at gyms or had dance experience. I have neither and I was the only Muslim woman there. We started with a lecture about some safety issues, and did a practical portion, where we learned how to PROPERLY execute four types of punches and kicks. I say properly, becuase I realized that I was doing a few things wrong.  I learned a lot from the this portion. I also learned that I was doing my knee strikes wrong.

After that, we did our master class, where a few already certified people showed up to learn the choroegraphy for Round 37. It was a lot of fun learning the new choreography. It has a lot of great music.

After that we had a short break for lunch. I really didn’t get a chance to eat much.  I had a chocolate milk and a granola bar. The deli I went to did not have a lot of options, and deli tuna in my humble opinion is gross.

We then regrouped for some practical tips concerning class management and how to cue transitions etc. The instructor gave some really great tips.Did I meantion that my instructor had also lost about 50 pounds doing Turbo?!

After that, we split into groups and took turns leading a section of the class.

Then it was time for practical and writted exams. We had to do the same punch or kick combo until the instructor came to us and tested us on form, force and even facial expression!

The written  test was pretty much a no-brainer, although there were a few trick questions.

Anyway, I just got my certificate in the mail, and I will be teaching my first class on Nov 14th, God willing!

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Best Yogurt Ever!!! Plus the job interview from hades

I have found the best tasting yogurt ever. I kid you not. It is thick, creamy, just sinful tasting. I swear this yogurt eats like a dessert, but it’s only 140 caloriers per 6 oz container. It is kinda high in sugar, at 20 grams but I consider it an occasional treat (especially since it costs $1.29/container) So without further ado, here she is…chobani1chobani2It’s Chobani brand Fruit on the Bottom Greek yogurt. I devoured her with Trader Joe’s gluten free granola. When I bought this granola, I had no idea that it was the gluten free package that I threw into my cart.I was grocery shopping with two kids, nuff said. I guess oats must have gluten in them, becuase this gluten free granola has corn puff thingies instead of oats. It’s kinda interesting. The corn puffs remind me of the Corn Pops of my youth (Remember those commericals? Gotta have my Pops!!) The granola also has walnuts, and dried fruits. Whenever I eat granola I’m super careful to measure it out. The reason being, is that granola is highly caloric. This was an awesome breakfast that kept me full for a long while.

Anyway, as you may know I’m a Graduate student and mother of two. I’ve been out of work since February of this year. Since then, I have been on the hunt for a job. I have worked as a teacher for grades kindergarten through 6th grade, but being in school does not leave me as much time to create lesson plans, grade assignments and conference with parents. So, I got the idea of applying for work as a pre-Kindergarten teacher. I figured that way I could bring my daughter who is pre-K aged to work with me, and perhaps even my son since a lot of time pre-schools are attached to day care centers.

So, this past Monday, I went on an interview for a job as a pre-K teacher. It was a decent looking pre-school/day care center close to my home.  I arrived 30 minutes early, with my resume, transcript and list of references in hand. I had even flossed that morning, I was ready.  I walked up the brick steps of the center and rang the buzzer expectantly.

The woman who answered the door was not wearing shoes. Seriously. You know those bright blue “sanitary” shoe cover/booty things that doctors wear during surgery? She had those on, but no shoes underneath. This would have been no big deal, except for the fact that hers were FILTHY They looked like they were on their 20th or so wearing. Am I the only one that finds that strange??

I offer my hand for her to shake, and she offers me the very tips of her fingers, while looking at me as though I’m the one wearing the filthy booties on my feet. I tried to brush off this slight, maybe she just isn’t a huge hand-shaking type of person.

Anyway, after introducing myself, she ushers me into her office. In the distance I hear a baby crying. Loudly. There are boxes littering the hallway leading to her office. Oh, and her office smelled like rancid fried chicken.  This story gets worse.

She informs me the full-time position that she advertised is actually a part-time position, but she might call me at 6am occasionally to come in for a few hours and then send me home. Oh, since they don’t have a cleaning crew, I will be expected to clean the classroom, floors, and BATHROOMS. She then asks me what my salary requirements are. I reply that I expect over $10/hour. She looks quite shocked and states that none of the “teachers” get paid that much.

Needless to say, this is not a company that I will ever work for. Oh, and that poor baby never stopped crying the entire time I was there.

by the way, don’t ever consider taking your child to a Child Time center, unless you’re blessed to find one run more efficiently then the one I had the displeasure of visiting.

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Spinach, how I love thee

Spinach is becoming my favorite vegetable, sorry broccoli. Spinach is usually super cheap and it has a ton of health benefits. Here are a few

  • high levels of bone-strengthening calcium
  • vitamin A and C, folic acid, and magnesium which are known to fight and prevent cancer (especially colon, lung, and breast cancer)
  • folate that lowers homocysteine in the blood, effectively protecting against heart disease
  • flavonoids that protect against age-related memory loss
  • lutein, which helps prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
  • the antioxidant beta-carotene, which fights cataracts, heart disease, and cancer
  • I didn’t get that info from the top of my head, I read about it here

    Besides learning about the health benefits of this veggie, I’m also discovering just how versatile this green leaf can be. Besides green monsters , I came across this way to use my favorite leaf.

    goood breakie

    I had this delicious and healthy breakfast the other day. It was a whole wheat tortilla from traders joe’s  that I spread with hummus, one scrambled egg, a tablespoon or so of shredded cheese and a handful of fresh spinach leaves.  It was yummy and really filling. I also had a kiwi on the side. I haven’t had one of those in ages. Here are some other ways you can use this super food

    1. Use spinach instead of regular lettuce in salads

    2. Use spinach instead of lettuce on sandwiches

    3.  Use as a pizza topping, finely chopped if you have kiddos

    4. Process thawed frozen spinach in the food processor and add to spaghetti sauce

    So, tell me, what’s your favorite way to use Spinach?

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    I ate there: Mediterranean Grill

    Do you like Mediterranean food? I love it. The other night no one felt like cooking. We considered outsourcing to the kids, but I think the best my 3 year old would ever be able to do would probably be bananas that have been accidentally smashed by her overzealous hands. So we decided to go to Mediterranean Grill. The food was absolutely awesome. Here is what we had:

    DSC00697I had the falafel plate. I just love chickpeas/ garbanzo beans becuase they’re so versatile. I have made falafel before, but they never seem to turn out as great as this place. They grind the chickpeas superfine and add cilantro, parsley and mint, and spices like cumin. Of course they’re deep fried, but they cook in olive oil and you have to treat yourself occasionally, right? 😉 They were served with Saffron rice and Greek salad.

    DSC00699My husband had the Fred Flinstone platter, also known as the lamb shank. I tasted his, and the lamb was super tender. It was seasoned with cumin and Cinnamon, and sprinkled with toasted Pine Nuts.  It was just perfection, and this is coming from someone who is not a big meat eater, at all.

    DSC00698We also shared a plate of hummus. Like I said, gotta love chick peas.

    Do you like Mediterranean food? What are some of your faves?

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    Me: the recovering people pleaser

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    One of my favorite toys growing up was my EZ Bake Oven. The heating apparatus in an EZ Bake Oven is nothing more then a light bulb. I wonder if I could make one of those with a cardboard box and relive my childhood. Anyway, the oven came with little pans and packets of cake mix.I learned to mix the batter, pour it into the little pans and slide them into the oven. In a few minutes, I would have a little cake.  I loved making those little cakes. I soon ran out of the packets that came with the toy, and I discovered that box cake mix worked just as well. You know, it wasn’t that I loved eating this little cakes, as much as I liked serving them up to my parents and siblings. I soon discovered that food an change people’s moods nearly instantaneously. As I grew older, I learned to use the real oven and the stove. I was 16 when I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. Complete with Turkey with apple raisin stuffing, baked macaroni and cheese, candied yams…

    I liked the reactions I could get from people just by using butter, eggs, chocolate chips, flour. Bake for 15 minutes and receive plenty of smiles in return. I realize now that part of me loves the praise I get when I cook and bake foods for people. Conversely, when people don’t like the food I make, or even just the food I suggest at a restaurant, I feel like I have let them down in some way.

    When I got married, I loved planning out elaborate meals to cook for my husband. My husband loves pasta, and I’ve tried out plenty of lasagna, ziti, and manicotti recipes on him. While it felt good to make him happy by cooking his favorite foods, many of my husbands favorites are just not very healthy.

    Once I started losing weight, I started to make substitutions. I would substitute brown rice and whole wheat pasta for their white counterparts. He didn’t mind those changes too much. But one sticking point we still have is over sugar. My husband will pour tablespoons of sugar over his oatmeal and into his coffee and tea. He doesn’t seem to like the alternatives that we have tried, like Splenda, Stevia and even Agave Nectar. None are sweet enough for him. So, whenever I prepare him something using a sweetener besides his old stand-by he notices immediately. Granted, he has gotten better. He can usually swap half the amount of sugar for splenda or stevia and not notice a difference, but he won’t give up his sugar.

    The more changes I make in my diet, the more I want him to enjoy the new healthy foods that I have discovered, but sometimes his taste-buds just aren’t ready for them. Take my Larabar purchase. My husband didn’t like they cherry pie flavor because he didn’t find them sweet enough. Now most people would just brush off that comment, but me: the people pleaser felt like he was making a value judgement about my choices. Weird, I know.

    Or when I make muffins using very little sugar and applesauce, he doesn’t eat many of them. Sometimes, I do make his favorite desserts without healthying them up. His fave is sweet potato pie, but that’s an occasional treat, now. Sometime I wish I could just snap my fingers and he would instantly enjoy my healthy favorites as much as I do, but that’s not going to happen. The truth is, he may never enjoy egg white omelets, but that doesn’t mean I have to change the way I eat or cook to make other happy all the time.

    It’s a continuous struggle to balance my desire to please others through food, with my desire to live a healthy lifestyle, but I’m not giving up.

    By the way,  as you may know, I’m a MA student, and this week all my final assignments are due for the summer session. If I’m not around much this week, that’s why.

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    Apple crazy

    I have a confession to make: I had never eaten a Larabar until yesterday. I know, it’s shocking, shameful. Well, when I found out that Amazon.com was having a great deal on them, I took advantage. The bars are usually $27 for a box of 16, on Larabar’s website. On Amazon they’re about $22/box, and they were having a deal: buy 2 boxes and get $10 off plus free shipping. I love a good deal. Anyway, my package arrived yesterday:

    DSC00665

    I chose the apple pie and cherry pie flavors. They seemed to have the best reviews on amazon.

    I promptly ate an apple pie one:

    DSC00667It was very good. I love how it was sweet, without being cloyingly so. I also loved the simple ingredient list: dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. That’s it. No added sugar or hexametaphos….whatevers. I thinkI may order again soon. They have a skazillion flavors to try out.

    Anyway, I enjoyed my apple pie larabar so much, that I decided to make a bowl of oatmeal inspired by it this morning. I microwaved .5 a chopped apple, with some cinnamon, a spoon of good ole fashioned brown sugar, a few walnuts and raisins and .5 cup of oats.  Here’s how it looked:

    DSC00669It was good. You know, everytime I use brown sugar, Istart singing tha really old song by D’Angelo. You remember the one? “Want sum a yo brown sugaaaa…ahhh, ahhh.”

    Anyway, it was very good and reminded me of a fall day.

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    response from the healthy living summit

    I received a response from Caitlin, one of the planners behind the Healthy Living Summit, concerning my previous post. Here is what she had to say, in it’s entirety.

    Hello –

    My name is Caitlin and I’m one of the planners of the Healthy Living Summit. I wanted to take a moment to respond to your post, which I feel like makes a few valid points but is also missing a LOT of background information.

    The panel for the Healthy Living Summit was formed by six bloggers who are highly active in the blog community and know each other personally. The panel was NOT selected by Stonyfield or another company. The panel consists of 6 bloggers with a large readership base and the clout to get monetary sponsorship from companies such as Stonyfield.

    As I mentioned, the panel was simply formed through e-mail discussions between the 6 of us about how fun a Summit would be. There were not 2 original panel memebers who selected the remaining 4. The selection of the 6 panel members was organic and based on our familiarity with each other already – i.e. no one said sat down and said “we need a vegetarian,” “we need a runner,” or “we need a dietician.” Furthermore, even if there had been a selection process like that, we certainly would NOT have based decisions on a person’s skin color.

    I hope this satisfies your questions. I feel like it is doing a disservice to Stonyfield and the hard work the planning committee has put into the Summit to make such assumptions about the event.

    I personally feel that all people should have accesss to health care information and everyone should feel welcome in our healthy living committee.

    Firstly, I apologize for making the assumption that Stonyfield chose the bloggers, when in reality, it was the other way around. I think it’s great that the Summit developed in such a natural way, and I agree with your mission.

    However I stand behind many of the statements I originally made. I never stated that the organizers of the Summit intentionally left out minorities, and even men for that matter, but that is the result. Caitlin stated, “no one said sat down and said “we need a vegetarian,” “we need a runner,” or “we need a dietician.”’ However, if the panel realized that they didn’t have a dietitian or a runner, would they have made steps to include that omission? By organizing the Summit,Caitlin, and the other bloggers,  are putting themselves out there as experts on the subject, and with that comes great responsibilities.

    Caitlin stated that ” I personally feel that all people should have accesss to health care information and everyone should feel welcome in our healthy living committee.” I’m glad she feels that way, and I hope that in the future organizers of the Summit, and other similar conventions, will put those words into actions and make steps to include a more diverse panel.

    This is something that I feel passionately about, as obesity and the side effects of bad diet and lack of excercise, are hitting minorities harder then the rest of the population.  I feel that given these fact, being more inclusive is pretty much a no-brainer.

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