Monday, March 24, 2014

A Very Lazy Weekend

How was your weekend? Ours was pretty lazy.

I worked late on Friday night, so my whole circadian rhythm was off through Sunday. My body is not happy with me when I don't get to bed at a decent hour!

Plus, my legs were aching on Saturday because I biked 8 miles at the gym on Thursday and did tons of squats, then I walked 6 miles on Friday. I have to remember that leg workouts probably aren't the smartest thing before a big program at work where I am on my feet more than usual.

I spent all day Saturday in my pajamas. After about two naps, I managed to get up and wash dishes, complete two loads of laundry and sweep and mop the kitchen. Craig finished our taxes while I cleaned.

The most I accomplished on Sunday was making this delicious rice pudding recipe.

I also got back into reading Cooked, which I am ashamed to say I started reading last summer. Since it stays on our nightstand, I often neglected reading it and chose books on my kindle instead. I really enjoyed the chapters about bread and fermented foods. I am determined to finish it this week so I can get it off my Goodreads list!

Since I was lazy all weekend, the kitties spent a lot of time on my lap or sleeping on my legs.

For some reason, Shiva liked sitting on Tanzi like this. 

We finally left the house on Sunday night for pizza at a restaurant and a quick trip to Target for groceries.

I am hoping this week flies by! We are supposed to get some snow and it will be cold, yet again. Where is Spring?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Europe Trip Recap: Freiburg Day 1 continued

More photographs of Freiburg from Sunday, May 27, 2013!

I loved the Smurfs when I was a kid, so seeing the Haribo smurf candies excited me enough to buy a bag! They were pretty good. I also purchased one to bring home to Craig.

This vegetarian loved the display in the middle of this square! People were promoting the vegetarian lifestyle with pamphlets.

The pig says that vegetarian food is good for health, the earth and something about the world.

I loved this door!

Mom was happy to find another Aldi to check out.

I grew up playing ping pong, so I thought it was pretty cool to see an outdoor ping pong table.

Loved the poster with the baby about being tired and needing good coffee.

In the evening, we walked across this bridge to get a view of the Black Forest and check out another church.

Still more to come on Freiburg!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Heart Healthy Habits and Recipes

While neither of our families has a strong history of heart disease, I still feel that incorporating heart healthy habits into our daily lives is very important.

The ways in which we do this include:

-Exercising consistently. As you know, exercise has so many health benefits, but is particularly good for heart health. I try to get at least 10,000 steps in every day too and just track that with a traditional pedometer. 

-Eating a heart healthy diet. Craig likes fish and I don’t eat it at all, so when he eats tilapia or a non-fried piece of fish, I feel like he’s eating something that is healthy for his heart. As you know if you’ve been a regular reader, I eat a vegetarian diet and since I have been 100% vegetarian, I have seen my blood pressure decrease significantly and I expect my cholesterol numbers to be down when I get my Health Risk Assessment test in about a month.

-Incorporating cholesterol lowering foods in our diets: I love adding things like chia seeds and ground flax in my yogurt and oatmeal. My cholesterol numbers are a little borderline (usually around 160 overall, which is still low in my opinion), so during my Health Risk Assessment last year, the health coach encouraged me to add more flax seeds into my diet. She also recommended fish, but I don’t eat seafood. My mom has high cholesterol and her parents did as well, so it could be genetic, but I am determined to not be on cholesterol pills when I am older. When I took a LDL test on Mayo Clinic’s website, it said my level was near optimal and that I could do the following to lower it:
  • Limit unhealthy fats. Control saturated fat by choosing lean meats such as skinless chicken breasts, or fish. Avoid trans fats, which are found in many commercial baked goods, such as crackers, cookies and cakes. When you do use fat, choose monounsaturated types, such as olive oil or canola oil, or polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fresh and frozen produce are low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber.
  • Get regular physical activity. With your doctor's OK, work up to getting 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day. It doesn't have to be fancy. Take a brisk walk. Ride a bike. Just get moving.
-I try to avoid processed/packaged foods as much as possible (like it suggests above). That is not always easy to do though when I have a husband who likes to buy chips and ice cream! This ensures that I am not eating a lot of saturated and trans fats.

-Maintaining our weight: Craig and I do maintaining our respective weight. I feel like I have gained a little this winter, but I am sure I’ll lose some in the summer, like I always seem to do as a result of moving more in the warmer temperatures.

Thanks to Campbell’s Soup, here are some American Heart Association Certified Recipes to get you inspired to eat a more heart healthy diet:

Broccoli Cheddar Rice

Pizza Primavera with Cauliflower Crust

Tilapia & Vegetable Casserole

Stuffed Winter Squash

Creamy Chicken & Vegetables over Spaghetti Squash

Want to save some money next time you're at the grocery store? Click here for Campbell's coupons. 
About Campbell's Address Your Heart: Health is foremost on people’s minds, keeping your family in tip top shape can be a challenge in these busy times. Campbell’s Soup wants you to “Address Your Heart” with Heart Healthy Tips, recipes and more!
Visit to get heart-healthy tips, including 21 Campbell’s recipes that are certified by the AHA and product coupons, as well as for the latest Campbell’s recipes and offers.
This post is sponsored by Campbell Soup Company and partnershub. I will receive a gift card in exchange for my blog post.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mitchell Park Domes, Winter Farmers' Market and El Rey

How was your weekend? Ours ended up being pretty busy!

Craig and I headed to the Domes on Saturday morning and arrived to find a very packed parking lot. We had trouble finding parking in the lot, so I would recommend skipping it and just parking on the street nearby like we did.

Visiting all three Domes was completely free, thanks to the Winter Farmers' market. I didn't really expect free admission, so it was a nice added bonus. 

Since it's been a long winter, we started in the Tropical dome, which felt amazing and I was instantly happy. Maybe we do need to move to a warmer climate sooner rather than later.
I'd love to have a banana tree in my backyard!

Aren't orchids just amazing?

The "show" dome had the railroad show going on. Craig joked that the scene below (upper right) was very steampunk. Turns out, he was right--I later found a sign explaining steampunk. I can't escape steampunk lately--a Portlandia episode about it, local steampunkers visiting my work, a NY Times article over the weekend, and then this. UGH! I am just going to be blunt and vent and say, "I DON'T GET IT!" I think it's because I don't like being the center of attention, so people who dress up this way and walk around places for fun just boggle my mind. So not my thing. End rant.

I had been to the Winter Farmers' Market a couple of times before, so I knew what vendors to expect. While there was a really nice selection of products like mushrooms, apples, potatoes, coffee, jams, meats, etc., we didn't really need any food so it was just fun to look around. 

On our way home, we stopped by El Rey Market on Oklahoma Avenue for lunch. I love the grocery store because it has a unique selection of produce and products, but Taco Loco's slow service didn't impress us. We felt like the whole place needed a reorganization of their bill paying process in particular. The food was pretty good. I enjoyed a Horchata, Chile Relleno and we shared a Churro.

The rest of the weekend consisted of lots of naps (I was still tired from my head cold), cleaning, shopping and then looking at five new houses on Sunday. We saw a gorgeous house that was perfect in every way (and had the most amazing pantry) and then four other houses that were just ok. I realized that I am definitely more into modern/clean lines than a traditional look. I am really glad that Craig felt the same way. This was our first time truly looking at some new construction together as inspiration for conversation about our likes and dislikes. I made lots of notes on what we do and do not like in a house and hopefully that will help us narrow down what we need when we do buy one. 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Margaritas cure the blues

Yesterday was just one of those days. Something unexpected happened at work, I felt like I was getting a cold and then I had meetings all afternoon. I was ready for some much needed margaritas with Craig after work. We never seem to go out to eat during the week, but it was something nice to look forward to and do together.

I decided to try something new and go with a melon flavored margarita, which Craig and I both loved. I would definitely order that again!

El Beso's drinks always make us feel happy and silly. I tend to start speaking Spanish. Craig smiles quite a lot. I also felt like the drink numbed my whole body, which is what I needed after feeling very achy on my drive home from work.

We came home to watch Bates Motel, a show that continues to be unexpectedly good and intriguing. You can watch it via the A&E app like we do!

I picked up a new book at the library yesterday, which made my day a little more pleasant! It was recommended by another blogger, Sarah at dailynibbles. Technically, it's a teen novel, which I rarely read, but it should be a nice break from the more serious non-fiction books I gravitate towards.

Thanks to the aforementioned cold that is making me feel miserable, I am at home sick today. I am hoping to rest up and read a little, if I have the energy to do so. Oh and I have a lot of photos and stories to add to the cat blog, so there's that too.

Hope you're having a great day!

Monday, March 10, 2014

At last, sunshine and warmer temps

How perfect that the 55 degree weather we had today in Southeastern Wisconsin just so happened to coincide with my day off! I spent all day yesterday resting and doing things like dishes and laundry, so it felt good to get out of the house today. I was exhausted after two straight days of coordinating a big program at work. I walked 15 miles in two days.

I started out my day by investing some money for 2013's IRA before we do our taxes. Glad that's done!

Then I had to do some not so fun stuff like e-mail the veterinarian more photographs of Shiva's paw. I won't get into the details of what happened, but let's just say that we already spent quite a bit of money at the vet last week and then over the weekend, Shiva's paw developed a bad abscess. The vet called me and confirmed it was likely an infection, like we thought, and that we needed to pick up some antibiotics later in the day.

I got myself organized and then out the door to Wauwatosa. I started out by returning some things at the Tosa Library, which I don't think I have been to since I was a kid. I enjoyed looking around at the books and then reading Health magazine in the sunshine. I already have tried three of the apps mentioned in this Health article, but I am excited to possibly download the Yoga Studio one for $2.99.

My maternal grandparents' grave is near the library, so I went there after to clear off their stone and pay my respects. Turns out the 26th anniversary of my grandpa's death was yesterday, so it was timely to go.

Afterwards, I ended up at Mayfair Mall for lunch at Panera and to use a few coupons up. Since it was not packed at Sephora like it is on the weekends, I decided to get my "Color IQ" matched! I'm a 5Y04. I think that translates to pretty fair in nature with a yellow tone. The color recommendation also comes with types of foundations and mine are listed below.

The foundation I purchased did not end up on my list, but the guy who helped me said that this is the foundation he uses on all brides and people who are getting photographed. I hope it's great because I have been struggling in the foundation department lately.

Oh and I saved $10 on this foundation by using a Sephora gift card I was rewarded through Shopkick (my new favorite app).

Since I worked so hard over the weekend, I treated myself to some frozen yogurt at Yo Mama. I'm boring and got my favorite--cake batter with rainbow mochi and raspberries on top.

I loved driving with my windows open and watching the ugly snow melt!

After a trip to Outpost for some greens, pears and soy hazelnut coffee creamer, I had to pick up Shiva's antibiotics. Shiva is a rockstar and he's expensive like one too. Why must we always have sick cats?!

Other than that, I just went to the gym and prepped my food for the week. Time to go boil some eggs and paint my nails!

Hooray for a four day workweek! I hope it flies by!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wellness Wednesday: Links

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

I end up tweeting a lot of links throughout the week and I thought I would start sharing some of them on the blog.

The topic of sitting all day (or for the majority of your day) fascinates me

On transitioning from indoor workouts to outdoor. I think it's been a long winter for all of us and this is a great article to read before you start exercising outside once the temps get comfortable again.

(side note, I cannot wait to put those Nike shoes on and walk outdoors with them again)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cafe Bavaria in Wauwatosa

I recently visited Cafe Bavaria in Wauwatosa for dinner. It just opened on February 13, 2014, so it's a brand new restaurant and part of the Lowlands group in the Milwaukee area.

The interior was cozy and full of German decor. See that big word "gemutlichkeit" below? It basically translates to the following, according to Wikipedia: "means a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, with connotation of belonging and social acceptance, coziness and unhurry." I definitely felt like Cafe Bavaria had a feeling of gemutlichkeit. 

I am sure they get their fair share of football/soccer fans there to watch the games while drinking German beer.

I loved seeing this on their menu--it showed the origins of many of their food and drink products. I was glad they supported many local businesses.

I am not that much of a beer drinker and prefer fruity concoctions instead. As a result, I went with this grapefruit beer and it was perfect for me. I could see drinking this out on the patio in warmer months. I wish I could purchase it in the store.

Before going to most restaurants, I check out the menu online. Being a vegetarian forces one to do this sort of thing. I was so pleased to see that a German restaurant offered a few vegetarian options, most of which sounded attractive. I ended up with the Edelweiss veggie wrap, which included a delicious arugula salad on the side. It was very good overall and next time, I'd like to try the Bavarian Vegetarian Pho.

If you go with a big group, make a reservation. They take reservations for 6 or more people and you will have to sit at a shared table ("stammtisch") with strangers, as you would at many restaurants in Germany. We were able to get a table for two by getting there early in the evening.

I would definitely return and am already looking forward to going back with family and friends.

Cafe Bavaria
7700 Harwood Ave
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
(414) 271-7700