Month: February 2014

Friday Favorites

Today is the start of my spring break! Come six p.m., I’ll be free for a week. I can’t wait! I have a lot of great plans for break including meeting this girl, hanging with this girl, spending a day with my mom, and celebrating my birthday early at Hofbrähaus. Hopefully I can fit some quality time in with Adam and my dad, too. It should be a fab week, even if I’m not spending it on a tropical island.

So this past week. So much good in the blog world, especially with the bevy of posts like mine yesterday. Some of my favorite posts to read are those that are honest and raw. They’re also my favorite to write. So thanks for reading here; now go give these other great read a look.

Posts

Thinking Out Loud: NEDA: Sam from Better with Sprinkles gives an honest look at just how unexpectedly eating disorders can creep in and change lives. I am so thankful that she shared this with everyone, and boy, am I glad she is still here to even do that in general.

. thinking out loud #67 .: Of course, I have to thank Amanda from Running with Spoons again for hosting yesterday’s link-up and encouraging readers to share their own take on eating disorders. Without that, I wouldn’t have stepped out of my shell. Her own post was a really beautiful take on all the things she couldn’t do that she loved while overcoming her own disorder.

{Thinking Out Loud} The Gift of Time: You know the saying “hindsight is 20/20?” Davida from The Healthy Maven wrote a great post about learning, over time, that we have to love our bodies the way they are. All of the crazy things we do to get that perfect body (my favorite example of her’s: eating a salad before a night of drinking… gross) won’t bring us real happiness and content in the end.

Let’s talk about body image: Jan from Sprouts ‘n’ Squats wrote an eye-opening, personal mini-timeline of her own journey through body image. She talked about a lot of things that I didn’t even know were a factor in her life, and I applaud her.

Life Lessons: On Counting Ingredients, Not Calories: Alexis from The Hummusapien gave the real low-down on how important it is to pay attention to ingredient lists in stores. Would you believe that some store brands are actually less processed than big brands? If you need help navigating the aisles, check out her post.

Justification: In one of my favorite more controversial posts she’s written, Sarah from Pickyrunner talked about the need to justify all of our actions, specifically around food and exercise, these days. She believes that the need for justification is at an all-time high, but it really shouldn’t be. What do you think?

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And just for a little fun, you have to check out this Buzzfeed article about why Dimitri from Anastasia is the best guy/boyfriend/hottie ever and no one else can compare. I have to say I could have written this. It’s been my belief since forever.

ALSO, did you hear that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are engaged (if you watched That 70’s Show this is the best news)? #KelsoandJackie4ever

Question of the Day:
>>What are you up to this weekend?
>>Do you think Dimitri from Anastasia is the hottiest hottie ever?

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Body Image: The Way My Stomach Looks [Thinking Out Loud #7]

I’m going to explain something to you that I don’t like to admit often.

I don’t like the way my stomach looks.

There, I said it.

Today, I’m linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday with a different spin. This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week, and Amanda asked those participating in the link-up to share a personal story or angle on eating disorders. I’m doing this because I think that people need to be more aware that these disorders are silent killers. Not enough people get the help and support they need to recover from eating disorders; far too many lives are changed forever by the battles we wage with our bodies every day – I’ve seen lives changed by them first-hand, to people I love. We need to understand that there should not be a stigma about getting the help we need to live.

I believe that body image is a big player in eating disorders, but it is also an entity of its own. Body image is still something I struggle with. I don’t need to be told that I’m “not fat,” or “look so good!” I know that. I do. I’m not fat. I do look good. But I have never liked my stomach. I don’t know if I ever will.

What got me thinking about my stomach specifically this week? I mentioned Monday that I participated in a nearly naked run over the weekend. Everyone involved wore their sports bras and shorts. No real shirts. The race was something I always wanted to do, but it was a big risk for me.

It was difficult for me to feel confident being around other girls with flat abs, no fear about baring their stomachs. I don’t even really like to wear bathing suits, so this was tough. Maybe you think I’m being dramatic here, but I’m just being honest. It’s something I’ve never been comfortable with. It partially stems from the weight I did lose when I was in high school as well as being surrounded by friends for my entire life who had great abs. And what I’m about to do, post a picture of the stomach I don’t love? That’s just as much a risk for me.

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Thankfully, I’m at a place in my life where I know that when I feel the worst about my stomach, I won’t drastically drop my calories or beat myself up for having that extra spoonful or two of peanut butter earlier. I’m going to continue to eat extra peanut butter, cake, and other things that will keep me from getting “perfect abs.” I’d rather be happy than restrictive these days. That’s fine. I know that I won’t have perfect abs. They’re probably not in my genes, anyway. It doesn’t really help that I have a scar next to my bellybutton now, either. Still, I also know that I look fine the way I am. But honestly? I don’t think it’s a crime for me to be self-conscious about my stomach. We all have our insecurities. I am not made of steel – no one is, as far as I know. This is my insecurity.

I have a lot of other awesome assets. I love my hair; I love my eyes; I love my legs. I think I’m funny. I have amazing friends. My family is the best I could ask for. I am a good person, and I do love myself. I just don’t love my stomach.

So here’s my final thought: It’s okay if you don’t like something about your body. Just know that there are so many other parts of you and that one part will not define you unless you let it. Don’t let your insecurity define you and control your actions. Recognize that you are great, because you – and I… we’re great.

No question today. Just your thoughts. 

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage

In my family, it isn’t a holiday without stuffed cabbage. It’s a Polish staple – we call them pigs in a blanket. Both of my grandfathers have their own recipes. They cook the stuffed cabbage in huge batches, which they labor over in the kitchen with love.

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Typically the little bundles are filled with meat and rice – not so fit for a vegetarian. Now, I’m not a vegetarian, that’s no secret. I’ll gladly eat my grandpas’ traditional cooking, but I realized that if I ever wanted to make stuffed cabbage for my friends, there may be some vegetarians in the mix.

The only component I had to omit in the recipe was the meat. My conundrum was how to make a mixture to stuff the cabbages that wouldn’t leave rice loose in the center. My solution? Use tomato paste and eggs to make a thick  filling. I crossed my fingers and hoped it would work.

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Waiting to see if the stuffed cabbages would turn out was stressful. When you cook them, you layer cabbage over the top so that all the flavors get locked in. I couldn’t see if they were cooking properly, but I had faith. When I finally tasted them, I knew I had made a successful meatless version of stuffed cabbage.

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Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage

Servings depend on the number of cabbage leaves used. A medium head should yield ~12-15 single bundles.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. green lentils, uncooked
  • 2/3 c. brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 – 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 – 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cover head of cabbage with water and bring to a boil. Cook just until the cabbage leaves look soft and pliable.
  2. Remove head of cabbage, allowing it to cool completely.
  3. When cool, remove the top few layers of the head of cabbage and dispose of those leaves.
  4. In a bowl, add onion, garlic, lentils, brown rice, tomato paste, eggs, thyme, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix until combined.
  5. In a large pot, combine tomatoes, broth, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
  6. Carefully tear off cabbage leaves.
  7. Place a spoonful of filling into the center of a cabbage leaf. Fold up the bottom and sides and roll up, similarly to how you would fold up a burrito.
  8. Layer cabbages in the pot on top of tomato mixture.
  9. Fill remaining space in pot with water.
  10. Layer leftover cabbage on top to cover the stuffed cabbages.
  11. Bring cabbages to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to medium.
  12. Cook cabbages for 1.5 hours.

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I just have to say, changing classic meat recipes into vegetarian dishes is quite the challenge for me! I have major respect for all of you crafty people.

Question of the Day:
>>Have you had stuffed cabbage before?
>>Does your family have a special name for stuffed cabbage?