Baked Oatmeal- up with the moon, out with the sugar

Some days are perfectly lovely. This week early in the morning, we were able to enjoy the lunar eclipse.

I had zero awareness it was this week. My little two year old, however, was awake at 4am, and my husband said from under his covers, ‘there is a lunar eclipse…’ With that we turned our early morning lemons into lemonade and bundled ourselves up to go outside and watch the moon.

Before venturing out though my husband brewed some coffee over the chemex, and I thought ‘hey, there’s enough time to bake the oatmeal,’ and I set out to find a recipe that didn’t use sugar.

Here’s the thing, so many recipes say they’re ‘sugar free’ and they are quite literal about it- while there may be no sugar, there is honey, or molasses, or agave. While each is unique and precious, when my goal is to eliminate minimally nutritious carbs, those sweetners aren’t much better than sugar.

So I decided to improvise.

For mine:

1/2 mushy banana
1/3 cup unsweetned applesauce
1 egg and 3/4 cup egg whites, whisked together
1 cup oats
1/2 a medium to large apple, cubed
Pumpkin spice to taste
Dash of salt

Combine the egg mixture with the applesauce, banana, pumpkin spice and salt. Add in the oats and apple.

We baked ours at about 425 for 30 minutes. Cook as long as you need to for a golden hue.

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We watched, huddled in blankets, as the earths shadow covered the moon and turned it red. My son delighted at seeing stars, and the moon, and we stamped on the earth as he thought about it casting a shadow, just like he does.

We then enjoyed our baked oatmeal with a bit of almond butter and yogurt. Truly sugar free, since honestly life is sweet enough already.

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Did you catch the eclipse? How do you make your recipes slightly healthier, what subs do you make?

XOXO

Butterflies by the Lake

This past Saturday I was in sorry need of some butterfly therapy, and thankfully Munchie was game.

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rockin out in the car, or, at least I was

So we headed out to the local butterfly pavilion. I sincerely hope your town, city, province, region has one or will get one soon. Cheesy, maybe, but oh so right.

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There’s just something so soothing about all those beautiful flowers and these whisp-like lovelies feathering around your head and ankles. My tot was smitten.

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He kept running around after them…

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…upsetting their nectar dinners as he tried to touch them…

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We read about the little life-cycles of these magical creatures:

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Then we checked for stow-aways and said good bye to the butterflies.

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Just past the red barns and around the bend we stumbled upon this little scene:

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In his usual fashion, Munch dove right in:

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And then we did a bit of climbing:

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I love places like this that give little urbanites a chance to get closer to nature, to see what it’s all about.

After messing about on these for a bit,

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he was ready for the real stuff: ‘let’s go see nature’ he said.

And so we did.

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He was thrilled to discover this little lake, all set up for a visit from a mama and son on Saturday afternoon jaunt.

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It was hot, and approaching dinner time, so we took off.

But couldn’t help pulling off at the farmers stand on the way home. The late-summer bounty, rounded out nicely by the first fruits of Fall were a feast of senses.

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If you read my post about our typical breakfasts, you can imagine how pleased I was to find this ‘no-sugar’ added beauty:

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perfect on those eggy-oats, protein pancakes, greek yogurt or whatever an aspiring bodybuilder may need to spruce-up!

In the end we got the preserves, two Tango Apples for the road, and a beautiful box of juicy heirloom tomatoes.

Those tomatoes were lucky to make it home, they were as sweet and flavorful as candy. We weren’t even done paying and Munch and I were helping ourselves!

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And you know what, everything just seemed clearer after our little trip.

Sometimes you have to let go of things from yesterday to make room for something beautiful today.

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Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and if you’re in need of lightening up, needing to let go of something, find your way to a butterfly pavilion. Those little creatures are surprisingly good at helping you out with heavy loads 🙂

XOXO

Friday Night Eats

Last Friday we had dinner with my lovely parents.

We picked up a rotisserie chicken; fresh gazpacho; spinach, berry, and feta salad with balsamic dressing; oh, and Munch wanted a bit of lemon-dill pasta. Sure kid, whatever you like 🙂

Dessert was a bowl of chocolate we passed about.

Friday night dinner can be both healthy and fun; community-building and nutritious.

The bodybuilding lifestyle does not need to be isolating- healthy, beautiful food is something everyone can enjoy!

Cheers!

XOXO

My toddler, Mickey and Me

I’m going to be very very honest: I used to think, ‘why would anyone go to Disneyworld for a vacation when they have the world at their fingertips??’ I know: snob! And how unoriginal of me, right? It’s so easy to write things off, while, to quote the cashier at my last grocery store run, ‘enjoyment is an art, it’s taken me a lifetime of practice.’ Um, wow!

Not to mention, this is a downer of a way to start a post about the Most Magical Place on Earth. Disneybashing.. It’s just, I thought Id always opt for Paris, London or Athens given the chance to travel. Like all the cool kids, right?

And then there’s this ethos, ever see the previews for Disney bluerays? The happy family in pristine fabulously appointed home, gave me a good eyeroll as my own family ran about the mess of a hollow we called a living room.

But I’ve changed. I get it Walt, I really do! I’m sincere, and I’ve been softened. There is no delight like that of a toddler meeting Mickey Mouse. When I became a parent, I learned to follow my sons lead and just enjoy things as they’re found enjoyable. Let go a bit, have fun. Hang that self-preoccupation. If it’s fun, it’s fun. And not every moment of life will be fun, so why find some reason to scorn those moments that are? Thank you, Mickey, Walt, and Crew for making our trip SO MUCH FUN!

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We met Mickey 4 times!

And here I go, the new convert:

I’d highly recommend, if you can spare the cost, doing a character meal. They’re a great chance to meet a bunch of characters at once, while enjoying a yummy meal. Guess what? Meeting the characters was surprisingly exciting and fun for us big people too!

Everything I read said you had to book these waaaaay in advance. Nope! For Pooh and the rest we just took a buzzer like any old time at a popular restaurant. My favorite was breakfast at the Contemporary.
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I’m genuinely thrilled lol

They were all so darn charming and sweet, I especially loved Pluto and Donald. Honestly, their spunk made my day as much as Munchies. Not to mention that each of those experiences happened at an all-you-can-eat-buffets… Pricey? Yep. Do it. Turn over those couch cushions, scrounge those pennies, and enjoy!

Can we talk about food? To keep our budgets and waistlines in check we brought a few of our own snacks that keep well, like dried fruit and nuts, larabars, and would grab fruit and veggie packs as we found them. Most of my meals I opted for veggies and a protein of some sort.

But we were also on vacation! So relax! Those are the times to enjoy a little. Oooooh did that giant sundae we shared on Mainstreet during the Electric Lights Parade taste good.

I worried a lot about all the travel involved, to and from the air port, from our hotel to the parks and back again and back again between naptime. My little boy just detests sitting still. But it was not a problem. Not once. After he caught on to what this whole thing was all about, he was game and demonstrating the zen-like patience of a true Disney-master.

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nevertheless, have some backup- who knew the felt-backs of bus seats would make such great sticker boards??

My sons favorite ride was definitely Small World. We rode it 4 times.

He also said this was one of his favorite rides:

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He would request ‘the fountain ride.’ Folks, when you’re with a toddler, everything has the potential to be a fascinating and new experience. I didn’t mind the chance to sit and regroup while my LO enjoyed his ‘fountain ride.’

Disneyworld can be exhausting for toddlers, with the new routine and all the excitement. We took advantage of his nap times, and would go back to our motel during the heat of the day to rest, and eat, all ready to head back out for the afternoon and evening.

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zonkered

We stayed at one of the cheaper motel options that was part of the Disneyworld resorts line-up. I’m really glad we did, especially since we were consistently returning there midday as a means of preserving of our sanity. It felt like a contiguous part of the whole experience!

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a giant Dalmatian!

During these nap-breaks I’d fit in some exercise. I would do a 30-minute brutalizing met-con routine- I had two different plans and would alternate them- and then follow that by maybe an additional 10-15 minutes of lower intensity cardio. This I did in the small space between the main ‘bedroom’ and the bathroom, like where the sink and vanity were, while my dear son dreamed of Mickey pops and Piglet dolls.

This isn’t the exact routine, but something like this:

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The cardio would be some jogging or dancing in place. Inside. Out of the heat. While the baby slept. Pure genius.

Even when you can’t have access to heavy weights or whatever equipment or space you might use, if you’re motivated, you can still find ways to challenge yourself and keep that intensity high. Progress is all about intensity.

We also walked a bunch, all over the park. In short, fitting in fitness was not a problem. It was easy, and a fun change of pace from my normal lifting routine.

Guess what? Despite not really paying too close attention to how I ate, while also feasting at those buffets, my clothes were actually looser on the way home. Not really what needs to happen on vacation, but I’m just trying to say health and enjoyment can go hand in hand. And this is a bit of a fitness/health blog 😉 so you’re going to hear how I took care of those things on a trip!

All in all it was magical. People warned us that traveling there with a toddler would be a waste. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can’t think of a better place to have gone with a toddler. Simply smashing, my dears! If you’re on the fence about whether to ‘wait till Sally’s [or maybe it’s Avery these days] older,’ get off that fence and onto Kayak! Book those flights and look forward to the fun any parents of toddlers deserves.

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**sigh** I think I missed my calling as a Disneyworld dancer

Most of all, though, what made it SO memorable was all the time I spent with these two people:

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They’re my favorite people in the whole wide world. And I got to take them home with me 🙂

Do you have tips for doing Disney with a toddler?

How do you keep to your fitness and health commitments, while still enjoying your vacation as much as possible?

Let me know in the comments!

XOXO

A Picnic by the Riverbank

We recently moved. Moving was a staple of my childhood. Costa Rica- England- Costa Rica- England- America, all before I was 8. And then I happily married a man who has dedicated his life to a profession that could have us moving every 5 years. All systems go.

Of all the places I’ve lived, the place that felt most like ‘home’ has always been England. Some combination of where we lived in England, and my mothers unmatched ability to reveal the magic of everything, my memories of England are charmed. Everything just seemed beautiful. I walked to school through nettled paths by the river under the willow. We biked, or hiked , everywhere. Fast trains would carry us off to London or the highlands. We spent long lazy afternoons sipping tea and philosophizing under the apple trees, surrounded by the buzz of bees and tourists.

Some of the places I’ve lived since England are constructed around a more modern utility. They’re functional and new, which can be comfortable and convenient, but often lacking in beauty and imagination. I suppose well-thought out utility requires a great deal of imagination at first thrust, but it’s hard to be inspired. This apparent lack of beauty, or rather a lack of the kindof beauty I had come to prefer and love, has often undermined my desire to settle, and find home.

Today is Labor Day, September 1st. My husband stayed out of the office today in favor of family time and creative pursuits. I’m a new mother of a darling soon-to-be 2 year old. Sitting in our toddler-sized dinning chair, contemplating my sore throat, I thought, ‘No, we can’t NOT do something.’ It’s true I don’t personally understand the battles behind Labor Day, but I know they’re important.

More simply though, it was a holiday, and a chance for me to think what kindof family we want to be. Do we just let days pass us by, or do we take the opportunities thrown our way to dig up magic?

So we packed a picnic and walked down to the river. We debated a few minutes whether to drive or walk, deliberating how badly we think the highway-portion might affect our walking moods. In the end we walked, in order to bask in the abundance of time on this lazy afternoon. People often focus on the ‘should’ of picking something like walking- it’s healthier, and greener, but goodness it’s more enriching too!

In less than a mile we broke upon a beautiful patch of green complete with picnic bench and a view of the river.
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We unloaded our picnic. Hard boiled eggs, cheese, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, crackers and salsa. Light, munchable summer fare.
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Between courses my son and I sunk rocks into the river.

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My husband lounged.

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Dessert was simple. Blueberry greek yogurt, fresh raspberries and some graham crackers. While greek yogurt might sound pious, this was rich and bright. The aphorism that somethings can be good and good for you rang true about so much of today.

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And then we explored some more of this little patch of wild so close to home.

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Ansel Adams wrote, “I believe in beauty. I believe in stones and water, air and soil, people and their future and their fate.” -from Ansel Adams: An Autobiography

The first time Adams saw Yosemite he was completely consumed by it’s beauty. I feel it awoke him completely to the beauty of life in general. He could do nothing else then but to seek to reveal, preserve and honor beauty where he found it. He said of Yosemite:

“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. I know of no sculpture, painting or music that exceeds the compelling spiritual command of the soaring shape of granite cliff and dome, of patina of light on rock and forest, and of the thunder and whispering of the falling, flowing waters. At first the colossal aspect may dominate; then we perceive and respond to the delicate and persuasive complex of nature.” -from The Portfolios of Ansel Adams

I’ve experienced in my life beauty that has awakened, pulled me out and opened my eyes. And now it’s my joy to look for it everywhere.

My husbands’ job means we’ll be moving a lot. As a mom I’m moving all the time, as I keep up with this little mush:

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Oh were a great duo.

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But seriously, I love movement. I used to teach fitness classes, and hope to be a personal trainer. I want to help people love good food and fitness, in order to enrich their love of selves, others and life.

This blog is my outlet as I try to overcome the obstacles to me reaching that goal. I hope to look for beauty, find home, but more importantly, follow the example of Ansel Adams in his project to help others see the beauty in the world and in themselves.

And I’m so grateful that you read my very first post on A Glitter of Green.

Cheers 🙂

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