Tag Archives: Farmers Market

The Return of Reading!

Okay, so reading itself isn’t returning (cause y’all know I’m addicted). Instead, this is the return of book reviews! I’ve been reading up a storm this month — you can keep tabs on what pages I’m turning on the right hand side of the page. I should also really clean up/update my “books” page. (I need to get my laptop working again so I can use my delightful publishing software…) Onto the books!

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

This was my wonderful friend Blair’s pick for our book club. I’d been secretly eyeing in on Amazon and I was thrilled when she picked it (thus forcing me to buy it). The author, Erik Larson, also wrote Devil in the White City which is about the Chicago World’s Fair and a serial killer operating in Chicago around that time. (I know, it sounds like a weird combo but it was great!)

Larson’s newest book tells the story of the Dodd family living in Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power. The father, William Dodd, served as the United State’s ambassador to Germany at the time. Most of the story is told through the point of view of William and his daughter Martha. Martha, quite the floozy, loves the intrigue of the Nazi party and its members. Her exploits through the book, including a serious relationship with a member of the KGB’s predecessor, were quite astonishing especially given the time period.

I never really got attached to any of the characters, but I did find their lives very interesting. I also kept having to remind myself that this was non-fiction. Larson tells his stories so well that you would swear you’re reading a fictional thriller. The ending is a bit of a downer but I suppose I shouldn’t have expected rainbows and sunshine at the end of a book about the rise of Hitler. I’d definitely recommend In the Garden of Beasts to anyone who is interested in the time period, enjoys political intrigue, or enjoys very well written non-fiction.

 

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

After reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, I was curious to read more from Michael Pollan. In Defense of Food flew by for me and I felt like this book was much more relatable than Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan discusses the current obsession with “nutrients” and some interesting paradoxes in the Western world. For example, Western doctors often find obese patients with vitamin deficiencies that are normally only found in malnourished populations. Their hypothesis, and one of the largest components of Pollan’s book, is that we’ve stopped eating food.

That sounds weird, but it doesn’t seem to be too far from the truth. We’ve made eating so easy and refined food products so much, that a lot of what we put in our bodies doesn’t resemble real food — the kinds of things our grandparents ate growing up. Because of this, we put a lot of “food products” into our body but not as much nutrition. Scientists try to fill this gap by isolating nutrients (like Omega-3s or saturated fats) and painting them as good or bad. The “good” nutrients become fads and food scientists find ways to inject them into foods that they would never occur in naturally. Because it’s not a natural occurrence, we don’t reap as much of the benefits. It’s starting to become obvious that it’s not just one nutrient, but the interaction of a group of nutrients from various foods, that cause good health benefits.

With that in mind, Pollan encourages readers to Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. He breaks down this (seemingly logical) advice into real world applications in the final section. Unlike Omnivore’s Dilemma, most of the information and advice given was very relatable. I finished the book and wanted to go immediately to a Farmer’s Market. I’d highly recommend this book — it’s a fast read and very informative. I think we should all know more about what and how we eat!

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Freedom Friday

The apartment is silent this morning. The apartment is currently Buddy-less. (Buddy Free?) The Hound is having a one day staycation with our vet at Ballston Animal Hospital so he can get a little more wound care.

It looks like we’re going to avoid stitches and staples to close his wound so that’s good news! We just have to be patient and wait for his body to do its thing.

After being in the apartment around the clock a lot and constantly with the dog for the past week and a half, it feels kind of like freedom to be by myself. But, I’m working so I can’t go anywhere and, really, I’d rather have my little dog around. He’s such a sweetie and I’m already looking forward to getting him back from the vet this afternoon for some pets and TLC. He has been a lot of work and a lot of worry over the past 10 or so days, but I would do it all again and will continue to do it.

So, since I’m getting a little taste of “reduced” hound care, here’s a few things I’d like to do when Buddy is healthy and healed enough to be left on his own again:

Clearly, a lot of this revolves around eating. Maybe because I’m hungry? 🙂 I think it’s time for some lunch. Today features a recreation of yesterday’s lunch: SlowCooker Red Beans and Rice mixed with Mmm sauce to chill out the spice a little. The result is creamy and DELICIOUS!

Happy Friday Everyone!

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Want!

After my trip to Eastern Market yesterday, I seriously want one of these:

They come in all sorts of colors and patterns and they roll up into a tiny little ball — so easy to stick in any bag! DC charges 5 cents for every shopping bag you take away from a store or restaurant now so that’s even more incentive (on top of the environmental hazards) to nix plastic bags in favor of something this cute!

I think if I had a bag available to me at all times, I would take advantage of street farmers markets more and bring home tasty, fresh veggies and fruits. If you want your own, check out Envirosax and feel free to send one to me too!

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The Grind

Whoops! Looks like I have a week to catch up on here.

Tuesday and Wednesday did not have formal work outs but my eats were on track. On Wednesday, hubs and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood for half an hour or so after dinner. It was nice to get out and get moving together. Thursday was, sadly, another day without the gym. Instead, I met a friend I haven’t seen in six months or so for dinner. I was super early and she got stuck in traffic, so I took advantage of the large mall I was at and walked laps around all four levels and the outside pavillion area. I would estimate that I walked for 35-40 minutes. So happy I took the advantage to move my body as opposed to sitting on a bench somewhere.

Friday I worked from home and decided to try and get in an outside run before it got too hot. (Side note: DC has been WAY TOO HOT for me this year. We’re breaking all kinds of temperature records and while I enjoy the summer, I don’t like triple digit heat.) I set off around 8:30 and it turns out that was probably still too late. When I left the apartment, it was about 83 degrees outside. I used my Garmin 305 for the first time and LOVED IT! I wish my run had been as awesome as the Garmin.

Instead, I struggled. Thanks to the Garmin, I knew I paced really well my first mile; I averaged under a ten minute mile which is RIDICULOUS for me. Heh, that came back to haunt me. While I intended to run three miles, my body quickly let me know that was not going to happen. I started to slow and I was drenched in sweat. No matter how much I guzzled from my water bottle, I was no match for the heat. I’m sure this gets easier, but this is probably ten degrees warmer than my “hottest” outside run. I was woefully unprepared. During my last half mile, I’m sure there were times where I didn’t even look like I was running. Regardless, I refused to stop until I hit two miles. My pace was glacial and I was so disappointed at having to stop. Never have I felt so wretched after a run. During my walk back to the apartment I’m sure I was weaving all over the sidewalk. At first, I was afraid I was either going to puke or pass out. I made it back alive and have never been so happy to feel a/c. My total distance was 3.65 miles in 56 minutes. Slightly shameful, but I seriously couldn’t move fast at all after I stopped running.

Lessons learned? HYDRATE before, during, and after. Also, when running in the crazy heat, make sure to pace yourself no matter how proud you are of  your current speed. In my mind, longer and slower is better than burning out fast like that I did on Friday.

Saturday I intended to go for a run with hubs around 8pm once things calmed down. My body, again, had other ideas and was super sore. Hubs was also feeling under the weather. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t get out and move around. So instead of a run, we took a jaunt out to Whole Foods to pick up dinner. We added in some extra loops and got our distance to 1.88 miles in 20 minutes (including the minute or two we spent waiting for walk signs and turning cars). After our walk in the heat, all I wanted was fruit and veg (hello dehydrated!) so I assembled a delicious salad and grabbed a berry smoothie. So tasty!

Today, Sunday, we got up super early (if it’s before 7:30 on a weekend day, that’s early for me) and headed to an awesome DC spot: Eastern Market. We met up with a few friends and walked around trying produce samples and smelling berries. The boys tired out quickly so my friend Kel and I have decided to return again without the boys. We’re not afraid to sweat it out for some delicious produce, fresh meat & cheese, and adorable flea market delights. We then went to one of my favorite restaurants, Matchbox, for brunch. While everyone else around the table ordered Bloody Mary Burgers (which feature a fried egg), I opted for their delish veggie frittatta (goat cheese, cremini mushrooms, baby spinach, peppers, and more) with a side of fruit (they toss it in a light yogurt and sprinkle cinnamon on top – yum)!

Sadly, I think some part of the frittatta did not agree with my body. I came home, laid on the couch and bemoaned my unsettled tummy for about four hours. I rallied enough to grocery shop – that’s horrible with an upset tummy. Had a little turkey sandwich and some goldfish for dinner (yay comfort food!) but my tummy said no, no, no when I thought about lacing up my sneakers for a run. 😦

So disappointed on the running front this weekend. Tomorrow is another day though. I’ll be fitting in a workout before I pick up hubs from class tomorrow evening. Hopefully my tummy has settled itself.

Aside from the Farmer’s Market this morning, there were two other highlights to the weekend. Hubs and I finally used up the rest of our Bed, Bath and Beyond giftcards from the wedding. We came home with two new non-stick frying pans (our old one was starting to chip, bad news), a springform pan, more hangers, some rubber spatulas, and a new dish scrubber among other things. The other highlight was finishing an AMAZING book: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson. I wish this man were still alive to continue the series. I loved all three books and would recommend them to anyone. There’s some graphic violence in all of them, but the writing is absolutely astounding. I’ve started My Name is Memory by Ann Brasheres. It seems similar to Time Traveler’s Wife (but crossing multiple time periods). I normally enjoy her writing, so hopefully this book follows suit.

Time to fix my food for work tomorrow. I must bid you goodnight. Sweet dreams bloggies!

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