Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beautiful Food

Andrew and I were so hungry last night that I nearly forgot to take pictures that I promised!  I threw together a stir fry of green beans, bell peppers, and onions and paired that with leftovers from last night (soba noodles and chili beans).
 Top it all off with some of those red pepper flakes on the side and it was really good!
After dinner, we went for a swim, came home to watch an episode of Smallville, and went to bed.

This morning, we went for a quick run before breakfast (peaches and Kashi) and have a lot to get done today!  Here's my agenda:  work until 5:30, have dinner with Kristin for her birthday, begin to pack for vacation, roll up the tent, and prepare more meals for the trip.

Check back in for a post about dinner!

Luana ola!

p.s. I won't be doing any posting while on vacation, so keep an eye out for some awesome pictures in about a week!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012


When your world is turned upside down, why not join in the fun?!
Over the past few months, I have been trying to focus on being healthy (and not so much on what I look like).  When I was younger, I never really had any self-esteem issues; playing volleyball helped me with that because I knew I was strong.  After I lost a bunch of weight (mostly muscle...) I felt good knowing that most of my clothes were big on me.  Then winter came and I gained the weight right back and went into a mild depression from a lack of vitamin D.  Ever since the lovely weather has been around, I am spending as much time as I can outside; feeling the warm, sometimes hot, sun on my skin and the cool breezes signifying Autumn is just around the corner.

I felt very playful this morning after a delicious breakfast of Kashi Golden Goodness cereal and a peach, so I went outside to do some improv. yoga.  Then, it hit me...Barely Balanced from the Renaissance Faire came to mind and I decided to try something new.  Since I can't quite hold a hand stand yet, I had to use the support from the wall; but a little support every now and then is a great thing!  I love how testing your limits can make you feel!  Although, most of the time, new poses are difficult, it is really exciting when you can do it on your own or can hold it long enough to take a picture!  Next goal...do a hand stand without a wall and take the picture (I held this for 10 seconds because I had to wait for the self-timing snapshot).

Have a happy Monday!  What is your favorite yoga pose?

Luana Ola!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stylish Tortoise

 After our 13 mile bike ride yesterday, Andrew and I whipped up a big batch of the smoothie and relaxed while Gus made sure she looked cute before lunch :)
4 days until vacation!!

Luana ola!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Farm Friday

It was a very interesting day today.  I woke up and had a crazy taste for vegetables and garbanzo beans for breakfast!  Usually I have a sweet tooth, but my taste buds were looking for something more...So a loaded a bowl of cucumber, garbanzos, plain coco-yogurt, dehydrated garlic, and red pepper flakes.
 Then, it was off to the market!  This week, I picked up cabbage, purple pole beans, red onion, cucumber, and a bunch of carrots from one stall; button mushrooms from another stall; and yummy peaches from a third stall.

 You know what I love most about farmer's markets, besides meeting all the wonderful people who cultivate delicious foods to nurture our bodies, is how crazy natural plants look!!  Do you really think that all carrots are as uniform and perfect as they are in the grocery store?  Sitting there, perfectly straight, fluorescent orange, and no green tops?  How many of us actually get to see the luscious feathery tops of carrots and know that those tops are great for making broth (or feeding to cute tortoises...) and taste kind of like parsley? (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure carrots and parsley are in the same family...)

Aren't these beautiful creations of mother nature?!
 Finally, progress is being made on my cook book.  I have tested 4 recipes and have the ingredients to try a few more this week.  Here is Camelene sauce.  If you want to know what it is, you will just have to wait for my book :)
Vacation in less than a week!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunny and Warm

The temperature has finally cooled off a bit here in the Midwest and the sun is still shining bright!

A delicious breakfast of warmed pita bread and peanut butter gave a nice kick start to my metabolism this morning.  Since I have no work today, I followed breakfast with some much needed computer time while my stomach digested before yoga.

The dogs made a mess, the dishes had to be done, the laundry had to be washed and dried, I needed to pick up more fabric for Renaissance Faire garb, Gus needed to be fed, her tank to be cleaned...

Good thing I did yoga this morning!  How did I manage to pull 90% of that off before lunch, you ask?  I have absolutely no idea.  The cool thing about being a person who needs to be busy, you find every little minute you possibly can to get stuff done.

Lunch consisted of raw kale, cucumber, garbanzo beans, and grape tomatoes with a dressing of mustard, pineapple vinegar, and red pepper flakes.

 MMM...quite tasty!  Especially the first couple of bites with lots of mustard!
Now for some sewing and reading in the sun!  Oh yeah...and I have to mail my new competition suit back because it was too small!  I could have sworn I ordered a 36, but a 34 got shipped to me.  Oh well, it was a super cute suit that I will just have to order in one size up!

Luana ola!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Renaissance Faire

This past Sunday was fantastic!  We went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire!!!!

I wore my usual garb (orange and black corset with a self-made navy blue skirt and white chemise) and Andrew wore the new shirt I made him.  Sadly, no pictures were taken due to the theme of Renaissance (we just didn't bring cameras), but I got a few cool things.  Most of the buying is being saved for Marketplace Day in August.  This is the day in which $200 is spent and 2 free tickets are earned!

I, of course, got the marinated mushrooms.  I can't even begin to describe how good they are; and I think they get better every year! It is basically a variety of mushrooms cooked in a veg broth loaded with herbs and garlic.  Oh so satisfying and perfectly medieval!  Overall, it was a grand time and I certainly can not wait to go back soon.

My one purchase was from Hair Twisters.  I got a very pretty gold pony tail twister with a heart clip and charm. 

Ponytail Wrap Gold - 3 Inch
Charm Large Gold - Heart
I highly recommend their products because they are easy to use, can give you a cute hairstyle in less than 5 minutes, will stay in your hair for hours, and are reasonably priced!

What is your new favorite hair style?

Luana ola!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Independence Day/Farm Friday

I had so much going on this week, that I was too tired to blog.  I know, I know, blogging is a way to relax at the end of the day...Anyways, Andrew and I went on a quick bike ride to watch the 4th of July parade on Wednesday morning.  It was HOT, sticky, and we were sweaty; but we brought refreshments to cool us off.  Those refreshments included grapes, cucumber slices (for me), ice water, and Vanilla Juice Plus Complete.

After we got home from the parade, we had lunch and spent the day cooling off inside (making occasional trips outside to soak up that vitamin D) and getting chores done.

Then, on Friday, I went to the market!!  I can't even tell you how much fun it is to have the opportunity to go to the farmer's market every Friday morning.  I feel so blessed to have such access to fresh, local produce.  I picked up some kale, cucumbers, shiitake mushrooms, portabello mushrooms (for burgers next week!), peaches, raspberries, grape tomatoes, and more garbanzos!

 I am so blessed to have these foods!  I hope that my future includes a large garden in which people who have little access to fruits and vegetables can buy from at an affordable price.  Being a registered dietitian will help me to teach those people about making healthy choices and living a long, healthy life.

Today, I am finishing up a Renaissance shirt, going to work, and heading up north to see an old friend do some fireworks!
What's your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Luana ola!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tropical Treats

Due to the love I have of warm weather and all things tropical (the food, the fun, the music, the water...), I decided to write a post about some of the great health benefits of a few of my favorite tropical foods.  Now, that being said, if you do not live in a tropical area and are trying to eat local, these foods will be a challenge for you but would be good to add as an occasional treat.  I personally love to eat local, although it is not always easy and I probably do it about 50% of the time.  That being said, let's get started!

1. Coconut
     One of the cool things about coconut is that it is such a versatile food.  You can consume the flesh, oil, and water inside it.  Islanders consider the coconut palm the "Tree of Life" because they value the coconut as both food and medicine.  Coconuts have great antimicrobial properties that have been used in medicine for centuries and they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/
    Now, it should be mentioned that coconut oil has been given a bad rep in the past because it is made mostly of saturated fats.  As we have all learned in basic biology courses, saturated fats are not healthy for the body and can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, which will lead to clogged arteries if not enough HDL (good) cholesterol is taken in as well.  That being said, studies have come to find that the type of saturated fat found in coconut oil is special; it is actually made of medium-chain fatty acids.  Without going into great detail and giving you a science lesson, basically, this type of fatty acid does not have a negative affect on cholesterol and can actually protect you from heart disease.  If you would like to know more, please leave me a comment or send an email and I would be happy to answer any other questions about this amazing food.

2. Pineapple
Google Images
       Besides being one of my favorite fruits, pineapple has a great substance called bromelain that helps our body digest food and reduce inflammation.  You may have seen this complex in supplement form, but why take a pill when you can enjoy a sweet/tart tropical fruit?!
     One frustrating aspect about pineapple is getting to the fruit.  Unless you buy it frozen, canned, or pre-cut (which I don't recommend any of the above), you have to get through the tough outer portion.  Here's the way I have found to be most successful and least wasteful:
1. Lay the pineapple sideways and slice off the green leafy top, followed by cutting off the bottom.
2.  Stand the fruit upright and make thin slices from top to bottom to remove the prickly skin.  This is the tricky part because you do not want to cut off too much and waste the succulent fruit, but you also don't want to leave the pricklies (is that even a word?) on there.
3.  Now, it is up to you as to how you want to slice the rest.  First, you can slice the fruit in half length wise and slice into half-moon shapes.  Second, you can core the pineapple and make rings.  Third, you can just chop away and either eat the core or save it to cook with!  Hint:  the core is where a huge concentration of the bromelain is!!

3. Sweet Potato (yes, this is actually a tropical plant!)
Google Images
Although they originate from Africa, sweet potatoes are a staple in the diet of islanders.  The orange flesh makes it easy to see that this tuber is loaded with vitamins, especially vitamin A.  Just like white/blue potatoes, sweet potatoes grow on vines in the ground.  I personally adore sweet potatoes for their mildly sweet taste.  They have tons of "antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and blood sugar regulating nutrients" which most definitely makes them a super food in my book!

These are only 3 of the many healthy tropical foods out there!  As I said before, I adore the tropics; not just for their food, but for their way of life.  Hawaii, although not tropical, is the reason I created this blog.  Luana Ola means "Enjoy Life" in Hawaiian and the staple phrase among the locals is Na Mele Aloha which means "Live the life of Aloha" aka Hang loose!!

What is your favorite tropical food?  I can't decide...

Luana ola!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Almost Here!

It's almost Independence Day!  236 years since our founding father's declared us the United States of America.  Wow!  I think I need to do some historical research on this holiday too; but I should probably focus on my classes for now...only two weeks left of microbiology and business management.

I have been getting registered for classes at Dominican University in the fall, working on labs, and finishing up assignments online.  Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed when I think about wanting to get this license finished in two years, but after doing the math, it shouldn't be too bad.  I just have to remember to take my time and make sure to get it done the right way without stressing myself too much!

Some more fun events coming up:

  1. The Bristol Renaissance Fair starts July 7th.  One of my best friends is having his July 4th party that day, so Andrew and I are thinking about hitting the Faire on the 8th!!  Ahhhhh I can't believe it is finally here!  For those of you who don't know me very well, I am kind of a history freak and the Renaissance/Medieval periods are my favorite to learn about; next to Colonial America that is.
  2. The end of August is the sprint triathlon that Andrew and I are doing.  We are both getting prepared very well.  Our times are getting better and we are training well.  Come support us in Woodridge IL!
  3. My first ever Mud Run is also in August.  I couldn't make the one in May because it landed on my graduation day and June just blew by in a blink.  Andrew is doing this one with me as well, but I think it would be REALLY fun if we could get some friends to join us!  Let me know if you are interested :)
  4. Finally, our vacation is in a couple weeks!   Mammoth Cave, Kentucky is where we'll be. I can't even describe how excited I am.  Horse back riding, kayaking, zip lining, hiking caves, camping = tons of fun!!
This Wednesday, we will be going out for dinner and seeing some fireworks.  What will you be doing to celebrate Independence Day?

Luana Ola!