What I Eat in a Week (9/21 – 9/27/2017)

Big news, this gal is in the middle of her first menstrual cycle in 2 years! Success! First time I was this happy to start my menses. Now to keep things as healthy as possible so I can hopefully see a regular cycle and return to doing all the things I love.


Peach zucchini bread and Mango ginger kale smoothie with SCOBY – The same as last week because I really enjoy it and I had all the ingredients.


Edamame mash sandwich – Open faced because the last time I made this all the filling just squished out of it.


Garlic buckwheat noodles with leftover seitan meatballs and a pear with peanut butter – As seen on Instagram, I made this with the leftover garlic sauce from the pizza last week and then the few meatballs I had leftover from our subs this week. Yum!


Grilled cheese and tomato soup – testing out the soup I frozen to have while my in-laws are in town.


Mushroom seitan meatball marinara sandwich – I had been craving a meatball sub since July and had been really wanting to use the vital wheat gluten I picked up to try my hand at making seitan. A lot easier than I thought and my partner did not want to admit how much he liked it.


Leftover Naan bread with salad – I added some mozzarella cheese to the naan and then made a salad from the ingredients I picked up from the farmer’s market for a quick dinner.

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Southern green beans and Asian fusion Barley salad – The later is another test recipe and it was not loved in this house… I was not sure what to serve with the test recipe, so I tried out another side I thought looked interesting. My partner and I enjoyed the Southern green beans, he especially loved the mushroom bacon.

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Prunes and other fruit – I had pears and a peach

Silken Tofu Mousse – So much healthier than traditional mousse. I just drained the silken tofu (the more water you can get out of it the better) + cacao powder + stevia/sweetener of choice blended well in my high speed blender.


I Was Wrong… (Installment 1)

This will be the first in a series of posts that will be irregular to this blog because I have no idea how often I will find myself to have relied on poor sources of information. I want to start this series off with an apology to some people I care about. Historically, I have been hard on my partner, friends and family about the importance of breakfast. As an early bird, I had always been someone who eats first thing in the morning and I attributed a lot of successes and failures to how I started my day with food (or without food in cases of failure).

I was wrong… about breakfast. There are studies that show mixed results for breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Also, some of the most successful people I had the pleasure to work with NEVER ate breakfast. I had been told by health professionals that it is important to have protein first thing in the morning and of course we have all heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But recently I started questioning if it is really essential to break that fast right when you wake up.

Throughout my month of commuting 2 hours for work I had become so stressed out that I had lost my appetite in the morning. Initially, I forced myself to eat something when I arrived at work, but one morning I was so busy that I just did not eat until noon. That one morning quickly turned into a week. I kept that up for the rest of the month and now I eat my first meal whenever I start to feel hungry.

I realized pretty quickly my eating habits were leaning towards the much talked about intermittent fasting. After bulking, I am so over changing up how I eat. I have no intention of following intermittent fasting. However, I was jolted by how my body and mind reacted to changing when I break the fast each day.

I feel less stressed about food. Bowel movements are a pleasure. Bloating has seriously decreased. I am not snacking as much. I am not thinking about the next meal as much. With my work I am functioning on a whole other level. I have not been this productive in years. I feel as though this all happened at the perfect time too. I was able to end my job on a high note by accomplishing a lot in the last few weeks and I need to keep my eating habits healthy since I cannot workout for a while.

So I am sorry to my loved ones for giving them such a hard time. I hope to continue to learn more and be supportive of others. For the record, I still eat breakfast. It just happens at like 10 or 11 AM now, which means I get to enjoy meals in sync with my partners eating routine. 🙂

What I Ate This Week (9/14 – 9/20/2017)

Our last day in Austin I know I was getting sick and indeed I became sick. Started feeling back to normal a week after the trip ended. This was relatively healthy, but I have been feeling kind of down from the fact that I have gained back all the weight I lost in 2015. My amazing friends have reminded me that I am beautiful and its a journey.


Peach zucchini bread and mango ginger kale smoothie with SCOBY – I really enjoyed that smoothie before our trip and had the correct ingredients to make it again so I did, but I added some SCOBY to it. My SCOBY had a lot of babies and I really needed to reduce the amount of SCOBY in my kombucha brewing, so I looked up uses for your excess SCOBY and adding it to a smoothie was an option. Done. Breakfast for the week.



Animal Fries – I baked fries without oil on a silicone mat and made vegan nacho cheese.


Chicken broth with Mary’s Gone crackers and Hummus – I was pretty sick after the trip so this was nice for my throat while not horrible for me.

Tomato and Mozzarella flatbread


Vegetarian steamed dumplings with peanut butter cinnamon pear slices

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BBQ Jackfruit Pizza


Chips, Guac and Vegan nacho cheese – I like to make my own chips by cutting up corn tortillas and baking them. A lot less fat and cheaper than a bag of chips since a pouch of 30 tortillas is 34¢.


Split pea potato curry with homemade Naan – I made the curry in the Instant Pot and may have cooked it too long, but it only affected the texture. It tasted great still.


Chocolate ice cream – because I feel I need to confess to the bad stuff at the beginning. Now that the ice cream is all gone, no more buying clearance ice cream. Yep, you got that right. I kept walking down the ice cream aisle at Meijer and finding Nadamoo, SoDelicious, Jeni’s, Coohaus, etc. on clearance to make room for new flavors or other ice creams and this sucker just went, “When would I ever be able to buy this for $2 ever again!!!” Then proceeded to buy one of each clearance flavor. All the ice cream is out of the freezer now. So that habit must die.

RXbars/Larabars – Hopefully I can stop this dessert habit and save these for road trips and other travel we have planned this Fall.

Fruit – Mango, Pears, Peaches, etc.



Natural Product Review – Oil Cleansers

In my efforts to switch up my products for more natural ones, I tried a oil cleanser for my face wash. I have been using an oil cleanser since January or February.  I started with the Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Sensitive Skin Facial Cleansing Oil. Then in May I decided to try Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil. I really did not know what to expect initially.

The skin on my face is the opposite of the skin of the rest of my body, in that it has always been oily. At times, VERY oily. I have always had to deal with acne, especially when I eat poorly (indulging too often in things that cause me digestive issues). I had been using a cream cleanser from Neutrogena and initially it was the greatest thing I even used and kept my acne pretty calm… until I lost weight.

I am not sure why, but when I lost weight in 2015, my face was cleaner when I used nothing. However, my face would be extremely greasy and feel kind of rough. While researching natural products, I saw a lot of positive and surprising things about oil cleaning. So I looked at my new favorite brand Shea Moisture to see if they had one, and they did.

Pros Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Sensitive Skin Facial Cleansing Oil

  • My skin was clear.
  • My skin was soft.
  • It has a nice scent. It smells like roses, but that does not continue after rinsing.

Cons Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Sensitive Skin Facial Cleansing Oil

  • For the first time ever my face was dry. I actually felt like my face needed lotion after I washed it. I have an exfoliating brush for my face, which I had been using nightly until starting to use this cleanser. That brush with this cleanser made my skin peel.
  • Get it in your eyes and it will burn for a while. Within the first month of using it I accidentally got it too close to my eye. OUCH! My eye was burning and blood shot until the next day.
  • It does not help remove makeup. Some folks boasted about how great a makeup remover it is and it just did not do that for me. I even wear washable makeup. This made me question how much it really does for my skin.

I had decided to repurchase when I ran out. Unfortunately, Target was out of stock when I needed more cleanser. I saw in the recommended section though that Burt’s Bees has one. I love the Burt’s Bees daytime facial lotion I use so I gave it a try.

Pros Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil

  • Little to no scent. Better no scent than a bad scent.
  • My skin remained soft.
  • My skin did not feel dry.

Cons Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil

  • Still not helpful with removing makeup.
  • My acne returned with a vengeance when I used it with the Shea Moisture oil cleanser. When Target restocked, I ordered the Shea Moisture again and thought to use the Shea Moisture in the morning since I need to apply my daytime lotion afterwards and this one at night. Ha. That has stopped. Oh man is my skin not happy.

What to do now?

I am not sure. I have mixed feelings. Do I go back to using the Shea Moisture? Do I give my skin a break? I just hate having half used products, so I am probably going to try to use it all up, but one product at a time. Also, I miss that tingly feeling my old cleanser gave me. Though I know it may have been a lie to make me feel like it was doing something for me.

What I Ate This Week (09/07 – 9/13/2017)

Surprise! I went to Austin, TX! I love Austin and its food so this is about to seem like I am not doing well with the accountability, but I am being honest. I like to enough myself on trips, especially when it comes to food.


Toasted coconut baked oatmeal and 1/2 Mango ginger kale smoothie (9/7-8)

Trail mix (9/9) – raisins and mixed, roasted nuts and seeds

Apple + half a Texas shaped waffle + 3 belVita breakfast biscuits (9/10) – weird hotel breakfast. BTW, belVitas are not a filling breakfast.


Re-Hydrator and Clean and Soba noodle bowl from Juiceland (9/11)


Peachy Green from Juiceland (9/12) – I love this place. Especially the deal you can get with the daily special!



Ratatouille + white rice + carrot cake ice cream (9/7) –  I met up with a college friend who lives near me. Her then boyfriend, now husband is French. Back in college, we would have family style dinners together (some of my most treasured memories of college). He made amazing ratatouille and I felt so blessed to get to enjoy the leftovers with my friend and her girls this day. Then we went out for some ice cream, what else do you do on a day off from school. 🙂

Cucumber and hummus with garlic bread (9/8)

Chips and Salsa + 1/4 of a margarita I shared with my partner + Chicka Chicka Boom Boom enchiladas (9/9) – A long-time friend of my partner was so kind to pick us up from the airport. We wanted to treat him to lunch and catch up while we were in town 🙂 Chuy’s is a great tex-mex originally from Austin.

Arlo’s Frito Pie burger (9/10) – The best burger I have ever eaten. I almost went back for another on Monday and Tuesday, but its important to try more things… right?


Taro coconut bubble tea + scallion pancake (9/11)

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Torchy’s Migas taco and Potato, black bean and cheese taco with avocado sauce on corn tortillas (9/12)


Shared German board and Turkey boudin in pretzel bun (9/13) – Easy Tiger in Austin fulfills my need for comfort food.


Gazpacho with garlic bread (9/7)

Napa cabbage + green onion + egg stir fry with kimchi (9/8)

Holy Macaroni + 10 Chicken Wings with Fire in the Hole, Spicy Ranch, Ginger Peach Sriracha and Gochujang sauces + Sweet potato fries + Austin East Cider (9/9) – the catching up from lunch lead to watching the LSU football game at an establishment my partner and his friend frequented a lot during their college years, Pluckers (originally from Austin, but they are also in Baton Rouge). I realized at the end of the night that every time I am with my partner’s college friends we eat Mexican food and Pluckers.

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Conference food (9/10-12) – Since we were in Austin for a conference my partner was attending, there was free food and this is where I tried to get in plenty of veggies. I ate entirely vegetarian for these events. BTW, why are conference desserts so gross?


Salt Lick 3 Meats platter shared (9/13) – At the airport my partner saw BBQ, so we shared the largest meal to save money.


Snacks/Dessert – Not going to be good…

Watermelon (9/7-8)

Chocolate Mint Chunk Quest bar (9/7)

512 Pecan Porter (9/9)

VooDoo doughnuts (9/10) – Buttermilk bar, Mexican Hot Chocolate cake doughnut and Vegan Maple yeast doughnut were the flavors I choice.


Capital City Bakery cupcakes (9/11) – I can not go to Austin without stopping here. Chocolate pistachio, Peanut Butter, Carrot Pumpkin and Mexican Hot Chocolate were the flavors I picked up this trip.


S’mores bar (9/12) – The only thing I have ever had from Sugar Mama’s that I think is worth buying, there cupcakes are just not good enough from the price in my opinion, too sweet.


Mexican Vanilla and Dark Chocolate from Amy’s ice cream (9/13)

Conference desserts that I either ate a bit of or all of (9/10-12) – Only the one pictured below was worthy of eating.



Trail walk with my friend and her kiddos (9/7)

Yoga + Riverwalk (9/8) – I have been trying to focus on a few poses at a time lately. I felt like I was not as aware of my body anymore when practicing yoga, but I trying to remind myself to do so.

Walking (9/9-13) – I walked a lot while in Austin. I went to the Bullock History Museum and the Botanical Gardens. I also just love walking around neighborhoods.

Yoga class at Practice Yoga Austin (9/11) – Best yoga class experience I have ever had and I did my first headstand!!!!

So next week will be healthier, I promise. Plus, I got sick at the end of this trip so I need all the micro-nutrients I can get.


Professional break

In regards to my museum career, I am taking a bit of a professional break. Its needed. I feel over worked. I started questioning my passions. I also was not sure where I wanted this to take me because so many people focus on moving up, but how do you move up in this field. What are my plans? How long will this break be? What will I do during this break?

Currently, I has been focusing on listening to my body. It is healing time. Though are this very moment I am still experiencing the after burn from consuming 2.5 Fire in the Hole wings 9 hours ago, not a healing food, but its a process and I am working on it. In this process of healing my body I also want to heal my mind. I struggled with mediation the past few months because I really put it off. I want to be more meditative.

In the past meditation helped me deal with so much: anger, stress, grief, doubt, etc.. I am currently taking 1-2 minutes a day to just break away from tech and people to just focus on my breathe and how every part of my body feels. The thoughts of, “What can I do for money, can I get all my tasks completed today, how are we going to stay in budget, when will life feel normal again” is removed for just a moment. Once I feel I have that down and I am not letting it slide until the very end of the day, I will move on to sorting through my thoughts that are troubling me and spending more time gradually on meditation.

Additionally, I am working on professional development. I just ordered a book to hone my leadership skills. I am also looking for webinars and workshops that help me become a better educator in the museum space. I also need to get my first aid and CPR training renewed, which could help me currently to become a volunteer or even babysit to make some money. What is taking up a lot of my time right now though, I volunteered to review grant proposals for my old city.

What does that mean? The government and some large organizations or companies can have money set up in their budgets to award to groups who are doing work that follows their mission. These funders will put out a call for non-profits or small companies to propose or tell you more about a project they need money for. Those who get funded are selected with the help of a panel of reviewers, a selection of their peers.

I am reading a lot of materials, investigating their budgets, watching sample videos or combing through brochures to score and provide comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the work they are suggesting to do. Being a reviewer helps me understand what makes a great proposal and feel inspired by the work I had no clue was going on in my community! I am so humbled and proud of the work they are doing. It is reminding me why I wanted to be part of this informal teaching and learning community.

With my partner not yet having a scheduled defense nor a job yet, I am not sure how long this break could be. I know that I want to make good use of this time to refresh, heal and improve myself. It is a journey, but I am taking you with me through this blog. Everyone has points like this in life and I feel like too often its kept private how you deal with it. I want to share this so others realize they are not alone, gain some understanding of how to make it work for them and maybe get inspired.

As always, please share any comments or personal stories in the comments below 🙂 I appreciate them.

What I Ate This Week (08/31 – 9/6/2017)

Forgive me, but this first week does not have many pictures… I will try to do better in the future. Also, any feedback on how to better present this information is much appreciated.


Cantaloupe and Celery with hummus (9/1) – Sometimes I like to just go to town on hummus and some veggies until I am satisfied. Also, I like having fruit first thing in the morning.

Cantaloupe and Savoury Bread pudding (9/2-3) – I made this for my farewell potluck at work, if you did not know 8/31 was my last day of work. Of course I also ate plenty of other items at the potluck (blueberry oatmeal bake, smoothie, cheese, variety of hummus with pita chips and veggies, pickles, a cookie, chocolate covered peanut butter stuffed pretzels, I had a few slices leftover so I brought them home and ate them from breakfast over the holiday weekend. I like it best reheated in the oven/toaster oven.


Toasted coconut baked oatmeal and 1/2 Mango ginger kale smoothie (9/4-6) – Minimalist Baker is definitely one of my favorite bloggers. BTW, I added coconut rum to my baked oatmeal. I regret nothing.


Tomato Havarti flatbread with pesto bean spread (9/3-4) – I believe flatbread is one of those marvelous ways to use up produce, cheese and sauces. I made a flatbread a long time ago from Clean Eating magazine and its just too easy not to just use it all the time. The spread is just basil, lemon juice, one can cannellini beans, salt and pepper combined in a food processor until smooth. I know a few things like this do not have exact amounts, but it is because I create things on the spot to use the items I have on hand. Let me tell you, it is a MUST if you are recipe testing for someone.

Gazpacho with garlic bread (9/5) – I volunteer as a recipe tester at the moment to get practice and experience to hopefully become a PAID recipe tester one day 😉 but that means the exact recipe and source for this can not be shared.

Cucumber and hummus with garlic bread (9/6)


Dal with rice (8/31)

Vegetarian Mexican pizzas (9/1-2) – similar to what you get at Taco Bell, but no meat. I made re-fried beans in the instant pot the day before. Then to prepare dinner I baked corn tortillas instead of the fried flour tortillas you get at Taco Bell. Once they were just crisping up, I spread re-fried beans between two tortillas. On top I spread some homemade enchilada sauce (I doubled up on the spice because we feel this recipe is pretty mild), diced tomatoes and chihuahua cheese. I put them back in the oven until the cheese melted, then cut them in half and topped them with avocado, green onions, black olives and Crystal’s hot sauce to serve. #YUM Killed that Taco Bell craving the healthy way.


Napa cabbage + green onion + egg stir fry with kimchi (9/3, 9/5) – Stir fry is another brilliant way to use up things you have on hand.

Chips + Salsa + Guacamole and watermelon (9/4, 9/6) – using the last of the corn tortillas from the Mexican pizzas, I baked corn tortilla chips. Then made simple guacamole (avocado + cilantro + garlic + lime juice + Serrano pepper + tomato) and finished off a salsa leftover from a friend’s potluck.


Wasabi peas and rice crackers (9/2)

6 peanut butter M&M’s (9/5)

1/2 pint of Dirty Mint Chip Coolhaus ice cream (8/31) – My last day of work was a rough day or more like I was very emotional at the end of the day. So we shared a pint. It was much needed food for my soul.

Protein cookie dough (9/4) – Sometimes a gal just wants cookies and is too lazy to bake. I also feel less guilty if it has a higher protein that sugar content.

Tofu pudding (9/2) – Super easy, has the same taste and texture to the traditional stuff and pretty healthy in comparison to the traditional pudding. All you need is a block of silken tofu, drained + 1/4 c cacao powder and/or peanut butter + sweetener of choice + pinch of salt combined in a blender until super smooth. It makes 3 to 4 servings.

Fruit (Everyday) – I had Plums, Peaches, Cantaloupe and Watermelon on hand. I always have fruit.

Why I have stopped working out. Period.

I have amenorrhea, meaning I have not been getting my menstrual cycles. This start almost 2 years ago. I was on the seasonal birth control pill and I thought I was pretty happy with it until I developed vitamin deficiencies, low libido, PMS and my period slowly with each cycle completely disappeared. After 2 cycles of the pill without a period, I was freaked out enough to think about how important the pill was to me.

I know not having a menstrual cycle can be a negative sign of a lot of things. Not only that, but I am 31 and want children within the next few years. So my doctors have run numerous tests, confirmed that I have not been ovulating and we have tried to force a period with progesterone, but with my insurance coverage ending, now it is the time I try something I felt hesitant about doing.

I stopped all weight training and running as of August 18th. I am not just laying around. I can walk, do yoga (not Bikram intensity though because cardio is off limits) and I got the thumbs up to ride a bike to the market about once a week. The thing is my stress levels have been high for a while and the energy I am getting through food consumption has likely focused on healing my muscles after my workouts to make me stronger instead of healing what has gone wrong with my hormones.

My hesitation came from not having bounced back yet from that bulk I did (though I figured out that bulking/cutting are just not for me), worrying about losing the strength I have gained #gains and feeling like my workout routine is part of my healthy lifestyle. I was told to refrain from medium to high intensity workouts until my cycle has returned consistently for 3 months… O_O Then I can slowly get back into working out.

Although I will miss my workouts, resting and de-stressing is important for my health at this time. During this healing period I need to stick to eating micronutrient dense foods = loads of vegetables. Easier access to the farmer’s market and being reunited with all my kitchen tools will be my resources, then this blog will be my accountability. Yes, I will be checking in regularly.

I am thinking this will be something I post in addition to my regular Sunday posts. Like a what I ate this week kind of post with some notes about my activities. My doctor said healthy desserts are fine (my bestie has no idea how much I am about to use that raw desserts cookbook she gave me), but keeping highly processed foods and eating out to a minimum (1 – 2 times per week at most). This works for me and our current budget, of course this will also keep me healthy.

If you have any words of wisdom when it comes to healing PLEASE share them in the comments below! Stay healthy my friends.