Tag Archive | vacation

The Recovery

After a week of less-than-healthy eating on vacation, it was time to get back on track this past week. We were all feeling the effects of being off plan — bloated, fatigued, and fat! We all gained a few pounds while on vacation (truth be told, I think I’m still carrying 5 pounds from LAST year’s vacation). Off plan included “meat” (lots of lobster), butter, fried, eggs, alcohol, caffeine, sugar…  I know… you are all thinking “sounds great”!  🙂

But when you eat only plant based 99% of the time, these things definitely take their toll and we needed a week of recovery.

In order to go hard core on the recovery, I went immediately to the Forks Over Knives website.  It so happened that they were featuring an article with a week of recipes and I actually used that for my menu plan for the week.  So here are the recipes along with my adjustments/commentary (note, all recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes or less):

Easy Thai Noodles – I doubled this recipe because, let’s face it, 8 ounces of noodles is not enough with 2 big eaters in the house.  What I liked about this recipes was the ease — it says “ready in 30 minutes” but it took much less than that. I couldn’t find “mung bean sprouts” so I just used a mix of sprouts that I found at the grocery store. Everyone enjoyed this, but I think if I made it again, I would use more veggies and I would triple the sauce. Leftovers were a bit dry, so I think a little more sauce would be good.

Mediterranean Vegetable Spaghetti – We also enjoyed this dish (who doesn’t love pasta).  I used whole wheat pasta instead of the brown rice spaghetti, but any pasta will do. I didn’t have “herbes de Provence” so I just used thyme, a favorite seasoning, and a bit of oregano. You could really use any herbs you prefer. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of tomato puree but the smallest can I could find was 28 ounces! I did add more than the 2T to the recipe, partly because the recipe calls for 10 ounces of pasta (can we just make all recipes = 1 pound of pasta???) and I used 16 ounces.  So it definitely needed more of the puree; I froze the rest.

Orange Black Bean Taquitos – This was another tasty recipe. My only gripe was needing the food processor to do two separate tasks (making the filling and making the spiked sour cream). It required making one, cleaning the food processor and then making the other. While the sour cream recipe says to use the blender, my blender didn’t work for this and I ended up with lots of extra dishes to wash. But we loved the citrus combination with the kick from the adobo chiles. I served this with brown rice flavored with fresh lime juice.

Burrito Bowl — I didn’t use bowls, but plates. I served everything separately and let everyone make their own combinations. This dish definitely needed salsa to give it more flavor and interest, and I used the leftover spiked sour cream from the taquitos. I made bulgur, for something different than just rice, but any grain will do.  I used a mix of pinto and cannellini beans, but would flavor them next time (tamari, perhaps?). I did use steamed kale (from the garden), but didn’t love it. I would definitely use fresh lettuce next time, or fresh/chopped kale. And yes, I made my own tortillas — much preferred over store-bought.  This was the only picture I apparently remembered to take this week… IMG_1690

No Tuna Salad Sandwich – I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favorite recipe of the week.  I have other similar recipes that I liked much better. This one was a little bland and I’m not a big fan of tahini. Plus, the bread I bought (a whole grain) was a little too doughy.

We did have one night where we ate out because our lovely Mikayla was in town from NYC, and another night we had grilled portobellos and my favorite kale salad. I did make this “oil free” by eliminating all oil, and increasing the lime juice.

As a result of this week’s eating, I am back to my pre-vacation weight. Yay! And I think everyone has otherwise recovered!

Hope you enjoy the recipes!

IMDb: The Recovery (2011)

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Time Flies

I can’t believe it’s been 43 days since I last blogged. I hate when life gets too busy to allow time for writing, as it is such a great outlet for me — and I love connecting with all of you. You all bring me such great energy! But even when I’m not physically writing, I’m still writing in my head.

The good news is that most of my busyness has been related to vacation time with family. It’s been a non-stop summer, to be sure, and I’m grateful for the opportunities we have had. The day after school ended we were offto New York City to see Billy Joel in concert at Madison Square Garden. He gave an amazing performance! While in NYC we got to see my stepdaughter for a bit, which was wonderful as well.

The following day we drove over to the NYC pier to get on the Norwegian Gem and we took a cruise to northeast: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine were our ports of call. It was fun, relaxing, and even educational!

This was followed by a short work week, and the 4th of July celebrations, with a trip to western Pennsylvania to see family and friends. Then another short work week and five days in Minnesota–again to visit family.

All of the travel was great and fun…and a bit exhausting! And of course, it means I’m still digging out at work! I can’t really complain as we were blessed with great experiences and memories and time with loved ones, but now I need to get motivated again. This week had me spending two days in Connecticut for work… and I have to actually work five days in a row!  Whew! It’s been a whirlwind few months!

Speaking of busy… I now enter my busy period of medical stuff… Blood work. Chest X-ray. CT scan. Annual checkup with the dermatologist. Annual checkup with my urologist and my gynecologist. Quarterly appointment with my naturalist. And six month checkup with my oncologist. All within a few weeks. I wish they were a bit more spread out but it’s hard enough to coordinate things as it is, without trying to align things throughout the year. I will be sure to report back as I go.

The summer is flying by and before we know it, it will be time for school to start again. I’m still struggling with the fact that Ethan will be a freshman in high school and really wish time would slow down at least a little. They say time goes by faster as you get older… I must be ancient!  🙂

*****

After talking to someone the other day about not really liking kale, I actually found a new recipe that I thought I would try. My neighbor gave me a big bag of home grown kale from their garden and I made The Best Shredded Kale Salad from Oh She Glows. And….It was awesome!! It made about 8 cups and I think I ate 6 cups of it. Ethan and David enjoyed it as well. I will definitely be making this again! The only modification I made was to not include the cranberries. I didn’t miss them, but I think it would be good with them included also. The trick with kale, it seems to me, is to finely chop it, and to let it sit in the dressing a bit to soften up (as I learned with this recipe). Enjoy!

*****

IMDb: Time Flies (1912)

Desperately Seeking Susan

I’m not sure why I picked this title tonight.  I think it’s because I’m still desperately seeking something.  A crystal ball.  A sign from God.  An answer.  What do I do about the Femara?  As of yesterday, I had not taken the Femara in 3 whole weeks.  I didn’t miss it for one second.  I slept better, and I had more energy.  The pain subsided (although it did not completely go away) and I felt really good about my decision to stop.  After all, I have done so many other things, right?

But then others began to question the wisdom of my decision and encouraged me to start taking it again.  I know they care about keeping me around as long as possible.  I get that.  I support that.  I love that.  But a really big part of me also wants to be healthy.  To feel good and energized and normal again.  Who knew this cancer thing would have such long lasting effects?  I’ve done my time — surgery, chemo, radiation.  I paid my dues.  Shouldn’t it be time for me to enjoy my life now?

I know we have discussed this debate ad nauseum on my blog, but it’s never just a cut-and-dried answer, and it is something I really struggle with on a daily basis.  I read, research, question, and search for answers.  Just when I think I’m convinced of my decision, something new makes me re-evaluate.

And so I decided to resume taking the Femara yesterday.  And all it took was one dose to ruin my sleep and increase the pain.  I should have checked my blood pressure before and after.  This does coincide with the receipt of my wild yam supplement (a natural hormone) so I am hoping the two offset.  I also need to order “flash ease”, another natural hormone, to help with the exacerbated menopausal symptoms.  I think I will ease back into the Femara…. every 3 days?  then maybe every 2 days?  All I know is I almost cried just putting the pill in my mouth.  I truly feel like I’m taking poison–as if chemo wasn’t enough poison for one year.

I chatted with a coworker today dealing with the same issue.  She’s Arimidex.  I’m Femara.  Same concerns.  Same debate.  At least she can relate to my struggles, mentally and physically.

On a happier note… I did make the Seasoned Mushroom Soup from “The China Study Cookbook” (one change: I added some brown rice).  Ethan loved it, and my mom said it tasted just like her grandmother used to make.  I took that as high praise!

 

Vacation

I knew it had to end but I’m still sad that vacation is over and it’s back to work tomorrow.  I’ve had 11 days off in a row and it’s been wonderful.

The last six days were spent in western New York ~ 3 days in Darien Lake, and 3 in Niagara Falls.  The weather was my ideal — 75-80 degrees most days, with beautiful sunshine and a cool breeze (admittedly the breeze was a bit cooler than desired at times…like our first day at the water park…).

Darien Lake was a lot of fun, especially considering we are “amusement park people”.  The girls and I went on all but one of the coasters; Ethan went on those that don’t go upside down, and David, well… somebody had to take pictures!  My favorite rides were Moto-Coaster and Moose on the Loose, fun and adorable, respectively.

Me on Moto-Coaster

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David on “Moose on the Loose”

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We enjoyed the water park, as well, watched a laser / fireworks show, and played plenty of skee ball.  It was all fun and relaxing!  The water park was interesting for me since I no longer own a bathing suit that fits my body post-mastectomy.  I thought about buying something with prostheses but, seriously, what’s the point?  For as often as I go swimming, it hardly seemed worth it.  In the end, I opted for shorts and tee shirt but I hadn’t really thought through the “wet tee shirt” part.  Not that there was anything to see, but it was a bit too clingy and made me just a wee bit self-conscious…

At any rate, we spent Thursday checking out the American side of Niagara Falls, including Maid of the Mist, Goat Island, and Luna Island. The Falls are just gorgeous, and I was glad to see the kids appreciate it as much as David and me.  We had dinner with friends at the Seneca Niagara Casino, where we were staying.  It was great to see them again (some of you may remember my trip back in April when the temps were about 40 degrees colder!).  Marina and I did some gambling after dinner and we ended the night up $1.37!

Maid of the Mist & Lower Gorge

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Friday we walked to Canada.  Don’t be too impressed as it was only about 1/2 mile from the hotel.  In general, this was quite a walking vacation (on average 5-7 miles a day).  While I had some pain from all the walking, it actually felt good to be so active.

Canada was also a lot of fun… we hit the Skylon Tower for a bird’s eye view of the Falls, perused the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, and played some mini-golf.  We lunched at the Hard Rock Cafe, did some shopping, and enjoyed the view from the other side.  Friday night was dinner at the hotel’s Asian restaurant, followed by a bit more of the slots for Marina and me.  We ended the weekend down $45.  Not too bad, I guess!

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge into Canada

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We finished up the weekend with the Niagara Aquarium (which we walked to!) before heading home.

Eating healthy on vacation was quite a challenge, but I did pretty well, I would say.  Thankfully, most places have some kind of vegetarian option, even if it is just a veggie burger.  I did partake in a few (two) buffalo wings from the Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo wings… the family was enjoying them and I didn’t want to feel left out!  In all, I only gained 1/2 pound while on vacation… thank God for all that walking!

The vacation was actually quite relaxing… not too rushed, time to read and just hang out, good times with friends and family…  I guess I won’t complain too much about going back to work tomorrow, since it’s work that allows us to go on these nice vacations!