Jess Finds Balance

My journey to finding a healthy balance with eating, exercise, and life in general

Cooking Dinner in Pajamas October 17, 2010

Filed under: Food — jessfindsbalance @ 8:56 pm
Tags: ,

Confession: When I’m hanging out at home, there is a 93.78% chance that I’m in comfy PJs. Cooking dinner tonight was no exception:



On the menu for tonight was an Eating Well recipe for Indian-Spiced Eggplant and Cauliflower stew. You know me; I love my ethnic vegetarian stews!



To make it, I first sauteed a chopped onion and several crushed cloves of garlic in canola oil. Once it was getting soft, I added LOTS of curry powder, garam masala, ground mustard seed and ginger. Then, I added 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1 chopped eggplant, 1 can of diced tomatoes and a large can (30 oz.) of chickpeas. I was supposed to add a head of cauliflower, but the pot was so brimming that I only had room for half of it:



So I roasted the rest with some olive oil and salt. (400 degrees for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through) I lurve roasted vegetables 🙂



My serving, over brown rice:



Getting ready for school tomorrow. It’s been a relaxing and social, yet productive, weekend and my batteries are as recharged as they can get! Wish me luck for my 11 mile run tomorrow 😀


Pumpkin Overnight Oats To Go October 13, 2010

Filed under: Food — jessfindsbalance @ 7:00 am

Good morning! I agreed to give a co-worker a ride to work today, so I had to be out of my house at 6, when I’m usually getting up. Eek. I wanted to make my morning prep as quick as possible so that I can get as much sleep as I can.


Enter overnight oats.



(Again, I apologize for the poor photo quality. Where’s my darn camera?!)


The mix:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond breeze
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin butter
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. flax seeds
  • vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • walnuts, sprinkled on top

I’ll be enjoying these at my desk when I get to school. Happy Wednesday 🙂


Not to Worry, I’m Still Alive and Well October 12, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 9:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

Hi everyone. I’ve just been taking a break from the blogging. Last time I blogged, I was having a hard time getting back on track. While I don’t feel 100% back in the swing of things, I definitely feel confident that I am well on my way to getting back there. I’ve been doing a good job listening to my hunger and satiety signals and eating lots of yummy foods.

As an update for my half-marathon training (T-4 weeks and 5 days!), I finally broke double digits yesterday, running 10 miles in 1:33! That’s an average pace of about 9:20 minutes/mile, including walking breaks. I was hesitant to set a time goal for myself, but I’m starting to really belief that I can run a sub 2 hour half. It is a really tough course – I ran about 1/2 of it yesterday – with lots of hills in the middle. I think that from now on, I will do my long runs on the course so I can feel comfortable and get accustomed to the hills.

Tragedy did strike at 3.5 miles yesterday, though, when I tripped over a sprinkler camaflouged by the dust and rocks around it. I think that I might have strained/sprained something on the top of my foot, but running and walking don’t bother it. Only when I twist it in weird ways does it bother me. I did manage to continue the run without any pain, so I’m pretty optimistic that it won’t get in the way of my training!

I made an awesome Indian stirfry tonight. First, I wrapped a block of extra firm in lots and lots of paper towels, then put a plate (topped with four bowls) on top of it to squeeze all the water out. Then, I sauteed the tofu, cubed, in some hot sesame oil until it was browned on all sides.

Next, I added snow peas, chopped onion and sliced shitake mushrooms. Once that was soft, I added some chopped roasted kabocha squash (sliced and then roasted with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for 20 minutes on each side – my fave!) until it was heated through. Then, I added lots of curry powder, ground ginger and some salt. I mixed well to coat the veggies in tofu in the spices and then added ~1/2 cup light coconut milk.


(Sorry for the poor picture quality. Dave put the camera somewhere and he isn’t home right now to tell me where it is!)

It tastes so delicious! I can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow 🙂

I haven’t seen my kids since Friday, with Columbus Day yesterday and a professional development day today. I might even say that I miss my kiddos and am excited to see them tomorrow. Yay for three day weeks!


No Better Way To Wake Up… October 4, 2010

Filed under: Food — jessfindsbalance @ 6:28 am
Tags: ,

…than with breakfast waiting for me and the smell of oatmeal in the air! I never eat hot oatmeal for breakfast on school days (or ever, really) because of the time it takes to make it. I had come across some crockpot recipes for steel cut oats and knew that this was for me. Last night, I whipped out my crockpot

and put the following in my handy dandy crockpot:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 1/2 overripe bananas
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla



This morning, I added a scoop of canned pumpkin, a scoop of cottage cheese, chia seeds, and walnuts. I then topped it with a peanut butter sauce and some pumpkin butter. Mmmm…

This was so rich and I didn’t have much of an appetite, so I barely finished half of this and put it away for breakfast another day.

Off to school. I can’t believe that this weekend is Columbus Day weekend already!


Wiped Out October 3, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 4:43 pm

Hi everyone! How is your Sunday going? I’ve had a lovely day. It started off with spinning, lots of stretching and body pump at the gym. My legs are definitely sore from yesterday’s run, so I took it a bit easy during my workout. Even still, I find that to feel my best after a hard workout, I need to move my body. Otherwise, I get stiff and sore.

I picked my sister up from the subway after the gym and we ate lunch at my place. I dug into two different kinds of vegetarian stews that I had leftover: Indian spiced lentils with eggplant and spinach and squash, lentil and chickpea stew.

Then we were off to apple picking! We went to the same place Dave and I went last month. We got tons of Empire, Mutsu and Jonagold apples. I’m excited for applesauce, apple crisp and just plain ole apples!

I’m so beat from my day full of activities and yesterday’s run, so I’m hanging out on the couch watching South Pacific. I had seen it when I was in elementary school and when my Mom went to see it on Broadway, I knew that I wanted to see it again. I hope that you’re enjoying your Sunday afternoon!


Stressed, Tired and Struggling October 2, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 1:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

Hi everyone! Sorry for no post yesterday. After Thursday night’s epic day (I left home at 6:30 AM and didn’t come back until 9:15) I was pretty beat last night and just needed to decompress. It was a very long week and I was tired! I never did recover from the poor night’s sleep I had on Tuesday, when I was sick in the middle of the night. Not to worry, though: I slept for 11 1/2 hours last night! I swear, I have reverted back to my adolescent years.

The last two days have not been exemplary ones for me. I had a good day of eats on Thursday (the day of open house at school) until I got home, when I ate a whole bunch for no reason. Well, I guess there was a reason, since every action we take seeks to benefit us in some way. The same thing happened yesterday, during which I was doing great until I came home after the gym and ate way too much again. I have started to notice a trend that the week before Auntie Flow arrives, I am more prone to stress and therefore more prone to overeating. I will definitely be vigilant for the next few days and next month at the same time, reminding myself that when I want to binge, it’s an attempt to escape whatever feelings are overwhelming to me and that there are better ways for me to deal with it.

In an attempt to get back on track, I decided to go for a long run this morning. The weather is absolutely beautiful today: a high of 63 and not a cloud in the sky. I also realized that only 6 weeks + 1 day stand between me and my half-marathon on Sunday, November 14 and it has been about 2 1/2 weeks since I did a long run. I figured out that if I want to run 13 miles before the race, with a taper week beforehand, I have to run 9 miles this week, 10 miles next week, etc. so that I get to 13 miles with no more than 1 1/2 weeks before the race.

After waking up at 9:45 this morning, I ate my typical pre-run breakfast of two pieces of toast, nut butter, sliced banana and cinnamon. I also took a couple excedrine (it has caffeine in it) to get rid of my sleepy-head headache and for a little bit of a boost.

My legs felt great for the first 6 miles or so of my run and I was doing great for time. I’ve decided that I am going to let the timer run during my walking breaks so that I have a realistic idea of how long it will really take me to finish the race. Here are my splits (including walking breaks):

  • 1st mile: 9:29 minute/mile
  • 2nd mile: 9:21 minute/mile
  • 3rd mile: 10:20 minute/mile
  • 4th mile: 9:57 minute/mile
  • 5th mile: 9:30 minute/mile (a few really big hills)
  • 6th mile: 9:50 minute/mile
  • 7th mile: 10:24 minute/mile (starting to feel really tired here)
  • 8th mile: 9:57 minute/mile (I found a second wind!)
  • 9th mile: 9:55 minute/mile

Total: 9.05 miles  1:29:17

So I think that my goal for the race is to keep at or below a 10:00 minute/mile pace and finish in less than 2 hours and 15 minutes.

With a long run behind me for today, I’m confident that today is going to be the first of several back on track. I have been doing a pretty good job with intuitive eating, although the last few days have definitely been anomalies. I’m committed to getting back on the wagon, though!

My plans for the rest of the day include grocery shopping and then going out to dinner with Dave and lots of his friends at a Chinese restaurant. Hopefully I have an appetite again by then! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Saturday 🙂


Recycled Leftovers September 30, 2010

Filed under: Food — jessfindsbalance @ 6:30 am
Tags: ,

I made my first baked autumn fruit of the season on Tuesday night and had visions of using it as a pancake topper. Considering that today is hell day (open house – I won’t get home until 9:15!), I wanted to treat myself to a special breakfast.

I made the pancake batter last night:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • honey
  • ~1 tsp. baking powder
  • ~1 tsp. baking soda
  • vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • ~1 tbsp. applesauce
  • ~1 tbsp. ground flax seed (gotta have those Omega-3s!)

Whisked well, and then cooked on a well-greased pan over medium-high heat.

Topped with some plain greek yogurt, mixed with honey, baked autumn fruit, and walnuts.

Oh yeah. This tasted just as good as it looks!

Wish me luck for my epic day…