Category Archives: food

An Okay Day, A Cheat Day, A Rocky Day

I’ve been under some stress lately, and it’s not even related to my job (where my stress normally creeps from). I’ve decided that I am officially moving at the end of next month. That will be about two weeks into my sixth year teaching, and I’m stressed over the stress that will arise from this decision. I envision, however, October being a beautifully calm month. Moved into my new place, going to Columbia for Mizzou’s 100th homecoming celebration, and, um… I don’t know. Something calmer than my current situation.

As I posted, I “cheated” yesterday and it caused me to feel really ill. Today I had Taco Bell for lunch- another terrible decision, I know, but I also exercised this morning whereas I didn’t yesterday. I have to remind myself that this is a process, and change doesn’t happen instantly. I’m just in the process of trying to make better, smarter decisions.

With the move next month, I’m trying to think of some really cheap lunch and dinner options because money will be tiiiiiight. What are your favorite cheap, healthy, and quick lunch and dinner options?


An (almost) Photoless Chain Restaurant Review

One of the things I envisioned on this blog was reviewing restaurant dishes for their flavor and healthfulness, and I had an excellent opportunity to do that last night. Unfortunately, I completely forgot I wanted to do that here while eating my meal last night and only thought of it after the fact this morning. So because of that, I have no photos. A secret goal of this blog is to include some sort of media in each post- photo, video, audio, whatever. I still plan on making that happen here, somehow. So I’m using internet photos- none of the photos in this entry are mine, and if they belong to you and you’re super pissed I used your photos of the food at Cheddar’s, sorry. I’ll take them down upon request.


While listening to The Happiness Project, I got an idea (stole an idea from Gretchen Rubin) to take my parents out to dinner for their 30th wedding anniversary. She had organized a big fancy party for her mother in law, and considering my time restraints (their anniversary, Sunday, is the day they leave for a week long vacation), I couldn’t quite do that. So I told them to pick a restaurant in town and I’d buy them dinner. They landed on Cheddar’s.

I had eaten at Cheddar’s before, and I usually like it quite a bit. I’ve never tried to eat healthy there, though, which can dramatically altar one’s experience with a restaurant. I had oscillated between ordering the Monte Cristo sandwich:

A deep fried sandwich seved with a side of jam. Delicious and deadly- much like me.

and the buffalo chicken tenders:

Deep fried buttery spiciness. Also just like me.

I knew I couldn’t have those two items- I’m trying to be good.

So, what are Cheddar’s options for those of us who would like to survive the meal? Well, some, but not a lot. They offer several fish and chicken options, but you have to make sure you order them not fried or doused in buttery sauce. The sides offered are also dangerous- I made the mistake of ordering the corn picture in the above photo. It came absolutely drowning in butter! So, of course, I ate each and every one of them. They were freaking delicious. I figured I was being good otherwise.

Here’s the complete menu available online!

I ended up getting the grilled salmon with broccoli and the aforementioned delicious corn. It was fairly inexpensive as far as salmon goes, and that’s a real advantage to Cheddar’s. They are really reasonably priced with large portions! As a fat dude, I still really like eating, I’m just trying to eat better things! The broccoli was steamed, I believe, and it was great. I happen to love broccoli, so I don’t take much convincing, but it was bright green and still crunchy without being undercooked. Perfect.

The salmon itself had some butter on it, I could tell, but nothing excessive. And it was grilled nicely, but… I don’t know… it was a little flat. I don’t know what could have been done to it that wouldn’t have added calories, and maybe this is the life I will lead now as someone who eats well, but, I was a tad disappointed.

And my parents got this incredible delicious fried food. And I didn’t eat any because I’m doing so damn good. If you’re interested in seeing what the salmon looked like, it’s pictured on their “our nutrition information is coming soon” page.

So, overall, I’d pretty highly recommend Cheddar’s. Order smart and pay attention to what kind of protein you’re ordering and how it’s prepared. The best thing is its price- excellent for a “chain” restaurant. And, actually, the best part was hanging out with my parents for their anniversary. They’re the best. 🙂

Even at 25(7) You Gotta Start Sometiiiiiiime!

I may have mentioned this, but while de-clutting my life this week I found an old iPod and through the magic of technology was able to extract a ton of music I thought was gone onto my computer. Included in this was a lot of music I listened to in high school and college, and specifically, the entire catalog from the band Jimmy Eat World. I’m really reconnecting with this song:

Lyrically, I love how this song approaches life- the mere idea that one could approach a night with the desire of falling in love gives a certain openness I often lack.

I’m on my feet, I’m on the floor, I’m good to go

So come on baby, sing me something that I know

I want to always feel like part of this was mine

I want to fall in love tonight

I feel connected with the song for the same reasons I started this blog:

Are you going to live your life wondering
Standing in the back, looking around?
Are you going to waste your time thinking
How you’ve grown up, how you missed out?
Things are never going be the way you want
Where’s it going to get you acting serious?
Things are never going to be quite what you want
Even at twenty five you got to start sometime

I can’t just continue thinking “I’ll take the time to get healthier when I’m older.” The time is now- I am older. I’m apparently two years older than Jim Adkins when he wrote the song. By the way, that’s horrifying- I know I was 17 or 18 when I was listening to this album, but still. Anyway, just thought I’d share some inspiration today. 🙂

I did exercise again today! That’s four straight days, so… yay! I stayed on the treadmill the whole time today because someone was on the “good” elliptical machine (there are three, but the other two are crappy). I did some serious power walking to get my heart rate up, and I was sweating pretty good (bad?) by the time I cooled down.

Coming soon- another Poor Girl Eats Well recipe review- garlic parmesan rice noodles. Quick review- good, but a little too complicated to make for what you get.


What I’m Absorbing While I Exercise

I’m on day three of exercise “fun,” and, indeed, it still blows. I’m wondering if there’s a study somewhere that has examined the frontal lobe of those people who are exhilarated while exercising. I bet those people are better than I am at sports. Well, that’s not hard to do anyway.

I was forced to do 15 minutes on the elliptical machine today because about five minutes into my elliptical time some dude got on my treadmill. Okay, so it’s not my treadmill, but whatever. And he stretched first which is smart, and I should probably start doing. My friend Amanda once told me you lose some ridiculous percentage, like 40%, of the effectiveness of your workout if you don’t stretch before and after. I remembered that about 25 minutes into my 30 minutes today. I decided I’ll try that tomorrow.

As previously reported, I’ve been listening to a book on tape (er… on iPhone) while exercising. I decided to start with a non-fiction text that I felt would inspire my changes: The Happiness Project.

The Happiness Project

While taking a group of students on a trip to a thankfully cool northern Minnesota earlier this month, I came across this book and it inspired a lot of what this blog is simply in its concept. I’ve listened to the beginning portion of it and really enjoy it. She has done research about what happiness is, and I appreciate her viewpoint on how approaching a happiness project is not something that solves sadness or depression. Her desire isn’t to be gleeful all the time, but rather to be less short with her loved ones, enjoy life more, and live a richer experience. I’m down with that.

So far, she has specifically addressed exercise, de-cluttering, and love. The exercise bit was helpful while actually exercising! Shocking! I especially was connected to her bit about de-cluttering. I have a file cabinet, but it was simply full of crap. I also have two boxes in my closet brimming with papers- one says “shred” and the other says “file.” As it turns out, they were both full of a lot of nothing. Credit cards I lost in the bankruptcy and documents about them, student loans I consolidated earlier this year, all kinds of random things with my personal information on them. After cleaning them all out, I took two trash bags full of documents to our local recycling center where they were shredded before my eyes. Aside from feeling accomplished and happy, I had a cathartic release. Those documents represented a lot of bad decisions in my past- financially mostly- and now they’re released into the wild of recycled goodness. Yeah, that’s good.

I end today with two random thoughts:

1. Okay, has anyone else seen this TRANSVAGINAL MESH commercial?! It’s on all the time and I know I shouldn’t giggle at it because it’s very serious, but… come on. Transvaginal Mesh sounds like the name of a metal band. I digress.

2. I pay $600 for a studio apartment. I don’t pay any utilities (awesome). But the phone service that was free when I moved in is gone, the convenience store in the building doesn’t accept debit cards (the opposite of convenience), the internet hasn’t worked in nearly a month (I’ve been spending ridiculous amounts of time at my parents’ house to make these posts), and, oh yeah, a giant cabinet nearly fell on me last week. I’m going to move in two months when my lease ends.