I’m back! Have a health survey.

Insert fancy and outrageously witty intro here!  We have just returned from our weeklong Wyoming stay, and my brain is the happiest sort of mush.  It has been a whirlwind of a week, not to mention the drive home (have I told you yet that it’s 17 hours??) but I was left with lots of wonderful memories and mementos.  Time to resort to the oldest blogging trick in the book–it’s SURVEY TIME!  😀  No, they never end up being as easy-breezy as they seem, but at least my frazzled neurons don’t have to bother with the creative strain of coming up with a post topic.  I saw this healthy-living survey on Run2YourOwnBeat.  But first, since we have just returned from Wyoming, the obligatory horse picture:

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Whew.  Okay.  Onto survey!  This is such a brilliant transition.

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

Grape-nuts and chia seeds.  As I’ve said before, my body is shunning oatmeal lately and I woke up too late to really fix something “fancy”, so cereal it was.

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Yay for recycled pictures! 😀

2.  How much water do you drink a day?

Too much.  A gallon or more, plus milk, fruit and veggies, etc.  I’m not sure why I’m so thirsty (we’ve done the diabetes testing, yes) but it hasn’t had any adverse side effects so far.  Other than constantly-full-bladder syndrome.

3.  What is your current favorite workout?

Running medium-distance, around 3 miles—I just wish I was better at it and that my knees favored it more.  I’m also looking into CrossFit…although at the moment, I am epically non-fit, cross- or otherwise.

4.  How many calories do you eat per day?

Heck, I don’t know.  A lot, probably.

5.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Carrots + peanut butter, pita + hummus, fruit, air-popped popcorn, cheese sticks, nuts, nut butter, etc.  The standard.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Carrot & peanut butter sandwich?  This seems to be my go-to lately.  #thebomb

7.  What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My wonderful legs, because cardio kind of counts as strength training them and also it hurts very much less than upper body.

8.  What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Arms.  Back.  I’m weak.

9.  What are your “bad” food cravings?

Chocolatewhyisthisevenaquestion.

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First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

as is an Oh She Glows' Iced Mocha Green Monster

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Anti-inflammatory!  Anti-inflammatory!  Woot!

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MY handiwork!  MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

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I am woman, hear me roar.

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Often a multivitamin, a B-12 occasionally, and an acidophilus/probiotic supplement ever since my trip to Costa Rica and the ensuing gut bug. 😦  Bleh!

11.  How often do you eat out?

Rarely.  I think this is more based on lack of planning on our family’s part than disdain for outside eateries, however.

12.  Do you eat fast food?

Nope.  Actually, wait, hold on, I can’t really say this, can I, when I stopped at Burger King on our road trip just yesterday??  I ordered a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a large water.  So I guess I do—but once a year, or even more rarely than that.  I was hungry, you guys–beyond that, I was hangry.  You must really process this, understand how pressing the situation was.

🙂  (Source)

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

Mah bad self.

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

Nope.  But I have a makeshift home gym in the garage!  It suddenly occurs to me that I’ve never showed you a picture of this, so here you are.

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It’s a bit roughhewn… 🙂  There’s a yoga mat in front of the TV for yoga DVDs, a few dumbbells/reistance bands, a dreadmill, a rowing machine, punching bag, weight cage, and pull-up bar.  Plus…a couch…for the Y-chromosome-havers of the house to play video games on (sigh).

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Oh, 9, at minimum.  Coffee the next morning is a given if I’m up past 10 studying or something. Smile with tongue out I sure wish I could be one of those people who just lights-outs for like four hours and then pops up ready for a new day (pretty much every other teenager I know), but I likes my sleep.  I’m a zombie without it.

16.  Do you have a “cheat” day?

Not consciously.  I eat a lot of chocolate.  I’m not cheating on anybody with it, though, so my conscience is clear…

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Hahahaha.  I’m younger than you think I am.  I have been known to get a little heavyhanded with the vanilla extract, though.

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35%!!!  What can I say, I’m just a rebel grrrl like that.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

Mah bad self.

Also, as aforementioned, Daddio and I are running a 5k this month and participating in next year’s Seattle-to-Portland bike ride.  We shall see how training intensively together goes.

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

To be honest–I’m still working on that commitment thing.  I was really good for about two years, then with my knees, I fell off the bandwagon for 8 months and even though I’m not loving all the…changes…this forced exercise break put my body through, I’m finding it extremely hard to get back on said bandwagon.  You feel me? :/  I’ve tried multiple times to get back to my pre-fooey-knees exercise and health regimen, but no luck so far.  Lately I have discovered some new highly inspirational healthy living blogs, though, and they’ve helped a bit–also, my impending upcoming 5k is a huge motivator.  (I’m a competetive chickie.  What can I say.)  All I know is that I definitely want to get back to my old level of fitness, but it’s going to require a lot of mental stamina to do so.

20.  What was the last healthy thing you did?

Oh, I inhaled!  Inhalation is actually a really beneficial practice, providing oxygen to your entire body and providing a low-grade ab workout, while also serving to calm the body by reassuring it that it is not in a state of suffocation.  Winking smile  I jest, I jest.  No, once I really get up and at ‘em this morning, I plan to incorporate some form of strength training into my workout.  Been missing out on it lately in favor of running/exploring! Smile

Your turn!  Pick a question and answer it in the comments, or do the survey yourself! 🙂  Maybe you’ll be my healthy magic motivator.  Also, does your brain tend to turn to mush after travel?  I must confess I haven’t been exactly productive in the time we’ve been back…

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Snapshots From a Week of Glorious Orange

Man, I feel good.

It’s quite a pleasant change from my usual angsty-teenager-why-do-I-have-so-much-homework-and-a-confusing-life half-existence…I’m trying to come up with the cause for this sudden bout of serotonin wave ridin’, but ultimately…I’m just happy right now. 🙂

Of course, there are things that are probably fostering this pleasant mood-swingy week…

Could it be the orangeness of my socks right now?

Cuz they most certainly are.  And don't start with the lamenting the utter childishness of my (fuzzy, polka-dotted) bedspread...I like it.  It suits me.

‘Cuz they most certainly are. And don’t start with the lamenting the utter childishness of my (fuzzy, polka-dotted) bedspread…I like it. It suits me.

 

Could it be the fullness of my suitcase for NY right now?

Ah it's such a loverly blend of fancy clothes and food. :)

Ah it’s such a loverly blend of fancy clothes and food. 🙂

The toilet paper roll is keeping my necklaces from getting tangled...don't worry, I'm not weird enough that I would just pack something like that... :)

The toilet paper roll is keeping my necklaces from getting tangled…don’t worry, I’m not weird enough that I would just pack something like that… 🙂

 

AND LOOK AT THE NECKLACE LOOKLOOKLOOK AT THE NECKLACE IT'S ORANGE AND IT MEANS "CREATE" AND IT BOLSTERS MY COURAGE!!  IT IS A PRESENT FROM MOTHER DEAREST I MUST THANK HER MOST HIGHLY!!

AND LOOK AT THE NECKLACE LOOKLOOKLOOK AT THE NECKLACE IT’S ORANGE AND IT MEANS “CREATE” AND IT BOLSTERS MY COURAGE!! IT IS A PRESENT FROM MOTHER DEAREST I MUST THANK HER MOST HIGHLY!!

Could it be the amazingness that is my fellow chocoholic friend?

 

Awwww yeah.  I’ve got some support in the friend department here.  This gal is my enabler.

Could it be last Friday of downtown-wandering, pizza-consuming, and social mingling?

No pictures were taken (both phone and camera were dead) but it was really refreshing and…emotional.  Since we are all dispersing  to our various schools next year, this time of year is just so bittersweet…I’m going to miss the lovely little private-school familial thing we’ve got going on, even though we have our spats.  Thank goodness most of my really good friends will be going to the same school as me…

OR COULD IT BE THE RUNNINGNESS THAT IS MY LEGS???!!

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Let’s hear it for sweaty awkward selfies!!

Yeah that’s right folks YOU HEARD ME correctly. (!)  A couple of weeks ago, my physical therapist gave me a tentative sort of go-ahead for running–

(Please ignore my random thumb)

–with some instructions pertaining to cadence, posture, form, etc.  (Apparently I am not a very intuitive runner–the form that I naturally use was uber-hard on my knees!)

So during this week I’ve been breaking in the electric melons, and doing some “microruns”–really, each under 1 mile.  I’m still experiencing some pain, and of course I’ve lost speed, but as per the wisdom of Kiss My Broccoli, I shall focus on the now of my running, not comparing myself to the past or the future.  Really, all things considered (things being the fact that I have not ran in–what, 6 months?), 3/4 mile in 7 minutes really isn’t…too awfully bad…

 

Whatever it was that made this week so awesome, I’m incredibly grateful.  I remain excited about the future of my runningness and my impending New York trip!!  (Vlogs to come…) 😉

–The Girl in the Orange

 

5 AM Cake

Hoo boy.  It’s been a…week, folks.

I’m currently suspended in a mental fog fueled by some sort of wicked GI tract bug and sleep deprivation, and THINGS are piling up!

THINGS is nothing in particular and everything at once; THINGS is all the end-of-the-year homework we are being assigned (aahhh remember my “culminating project of sorts”?  Well, now we have to give a presentation about that..!).  THINGS is also the fact that I’m leaving behind my safe little lovely private school next year for THE REAL WORLD, which equates to a school 12 times the size I’m used to—accompanied by loads of paperwork for getting into classes, a bunch of new graduation requirements to take into account, YEARS worth of classes to plan out in a single night when you still need to study for your Geometry test as well…

THINGS is the video and audio greetings I need to script up and create in order to accept my Scholastic Art and Writing Award.  (Awesome award; too bad it comes with extra fries stress.)  (Pardon the grammar of that first sentence in this paragraph, and my parenthetical overkill.)

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So, um, yeah, there’s been some emotional eating.  The above has been my breakfast for two days this week—a slice of chocolate cake, extra shame on top, gobbled down in the bathroom  at 5 AM while I fix up my face.  More recently it has been accompanied by frozen yogurt, straight out of  the carton (galdangit whydowe keep that stuff in the freezer)…any sugar that’s quick and accessible, basically.

I’m not particularly fond of the abrupt transition between vacation life and real life.  This past week has been spent desperately trying to figure out how my life works again, while still trying to maintain grades and a social life and steady work on my writing and my waistline.  In short, it’s just been stressful.  I know I really shouldn’t be complaining.  Adults are always telling me how much harder everything gets when you get to that age.  Adults are liars Adults seem to have simply forgotten how hard it is to juggle raging floods of estrogen on top of attending an, ahem, “academically rigorous” private school and trying to keep up your side projects that you pour your heart into, like your food blog.  (Every teenager has/had one of those, right?)

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So, let’s see, for me it seems that stress=mass amounts of sugar and comfort food.  (Would you believe that in ADDITION to 5 AM cake and froyo on Friday, I had LOTS of lasagna for lunch?  I…just couldn’t eat a salad or a wrap…)  This is surely the diagnosis for chocoholism.

At the local Choc-Anon chapter: “Hello…well, my name is The Girl in the Orange, and, well, I have a problem…I mean, it’s just gotten out of hand…I have dreams where I have to take another exam and then someone takes away my chocolate and then I push them into a huge vat of it…I never meant any harm!”

Cheesecake 091 painted guy

 

(You know you’re jealous of my Paint skills. Especially since the above took me ~half an hour to figure out…)

Don’t worry about me, please; I’m no stranger to stress and nothing terribly emotionally taxing is going on in my life; just a bunch of stuff that unhappily coincided during the week after a glorious stress-free playa vacation.  I am also no stranger to emotional eating and am optimistic that in time it will work its way gone and I’ll be back to crunchin’ on crudites once more.  I’m just making an effort to make sure my blog covers not only the happy-happy joy-joy orange side of life (though I try to focus on that) but also provides a little window into the things that we all struggle with.  Bloggers admitting to vulnerability is a powerful thing, and one not always easy to accomplish.

Living a “healthy” life, I’ve learned, isn’t about eating “healthy” all the time—it’s about balance.  Sometimes the odds get skewed a little to the dark side of things…by dark side, we’re talking, like, 72%, at least. Winking smile

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Last week was definitely skewed.  But it’s done (too bad the workload hasn’t just poofed out of existence) and all I can do now is work on getting back on track.

I hope someone else can relate to this, and that 5 AM cake (or the non-food equivalent) happens to all of us sometimes.  And that’s okay.

Snapshots from a South-of-the-Border Spring Break

Know what’s awesome?  Spending your spring break in total relaxation, not concerning yourself with homework or social life or appearance or friends or problems in general or cooking or grades or upcoming tests…instead lounging by the Atlantic Ocean with three good books.  And chocolate.

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Just for the record, I have no idea what book is being advertised on the screen of my Kindle there and I possess no affiliation nor affinity towards it.

Know what’s NOT awesome?  Arriving back home again at midnight on a Saturday, leaving only the portion of the Sunday that you don’t sleep in through to do all the homework that you decided you weren’t going to do over vacation because it’s vacation.  GAAAAH.

But that’s what blog is for, right?  Reliving the glory days, thirty-six hours after they ended…and procrastinating that homework load even further…

Accch.  Cannot think about work just now.  Onto pictures.

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DSCN1208DSCN1253Hooray for waterproof orange camera!

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DSCN1329We went snorkeling in two of these cenotes, as well!  They were frigid, but in the most beautifully peaceful way.  No fish, just the smell of stolidity and your own thoughts swirling around the water with you.

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Okay, so there actually were some catfish!

DSCN1339I have no idea what happened here, but I kinda like it.

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At Playa del Carmen, there were several of these “fish spas”, which were exactly that–they were large tanks in which you payed to stick your bare feet.  Small brown and black fish proceeded to nibble on your toes, which, um, I suppose exfoliates the skin of your feet very nicely.

It tickles immensely.

DSCN1447We zip-lined on Thursday, complete with stylin’ orange gloves and helmets.  I did enjoy it, but I can’t say it was as thrilling as I’d hoped.  I love my roller coasters, and I thought it would be more like that…the lack of speed probably had something to do with my lack of size (I didn’t have as much momentum as the bigger peeps), and it was more like a scenic glide through the treetops than it was a thrilling zip-line.  And there were a heckuva lot of stairs to get to the top of each platform!  Nonetheless, it was pretty fun.

The first  of the platforms...

The first of the platforms…

All suited up and ready for action! ;P

All suited up and ready for action! ;P

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DSCN1470New skin hue is all the fault of the zip line gloves! ;P  New blog=”The Girl with the Orange Hand”…

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We also snorkeled with some sea toitles! 🙂  So graceful; I am convinced you canNOT mess up a photograph of a turtle.

And finally…

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Do not lie to me and try to tell me this is NOT the most awesome henna tattoo in existence.

In conclusion:

Did I enjoy myself over the week spent in Xcaret, Mexico?  Immensely; it presented a plethora of new experiences, both culinary and non-, I got some beautiful pictures and a lot of rays of sun (boy, is the sun intense down there!  I walked around like a stiff, pink lobster for days…).  If I could have changed something, though, I would have had us stay somewhere that wasn’t such a resort–don’t get me wrong, our resort was relaxing and luxurious and I appreciated it, but it did feel really artificial.  I am excited for my trip to Costa Rica in June (thank you so much for the funds, all you generous familial contributors!!) because we will be staying in tucked-away, hidden spots, rather than huge tourist metropolises, so we get to see what life is actually like there instead of being so coddled all the time.

But I’m glad there was free dessert.  Stay tuned for an upcoming What I Ate Wednesday post, detailing my culinary journey over spring break! 🙂

Monthly Recap: February 2013

Recap in a sec, but first:

HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY, GUYS!!

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

I was so, so thrilled that I remembered to check the Hallmark every-holiday-ever calendar yesterday, especially since I missed the actual national peanut butter day.  (Good thing there’s a day just for the fans.)  I mean, seriously, why didn’t someone tell me?

Maybe you can celebrate by making something, special for tomorrow’s breakfast, like, say, Apple PB Baked Oatmeal. 😉  Or maybe, since tomorrow is National Banana Creme Pie Day, you will choose to whip up some 2-Ingredient Banana Creme and top it off with some peanut butter/sauce…!  The possibilities are endless.  Let your imagination run wild!

Onto February stuff. 🙂

So, during the month of February, I…

acted in a school play, didn’t run at ALL (still) and remained bitter about it, figured out a (somewhat) way to keep my fitness schedule on track even so (hello, strength training and yoga!), became even more enamored with oatmeal now that I can no longer eat it, practiced yoga in a real yoga studio for the first time evah, did a lot of…pondering, took a barefoot walk in the rain, wrote some things, and…acted in a school play.  Rather underwhelming, huh?; but what’re you gonna do.  It was a short month, somehow made even shorter by the lack of a breezy 30-minute run every day.  I told you.  Bitter.

(dramatic sigh) Anyway, now, the feature you’ve all been waiting for:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

I did have some culinary breakthroughs this month, though I wasn’t as creative with coming up with my own flavor combinations as I would have liked.  Most recently, I went on a Trader Joe’s run a few weeks ago and ate the first tamale of my life.  I’m not quite sure why this seemed like as big of a deal as it did, but there you have it.  Sadly, it rather disappointed.  I was expecting it to be something like a Mexican dumpling, and instead all I get is this dry corn dough lumped together with a bunch of gooey cheese, corn kernels, and an attempt at jalapeno.  *Sniffs disdainfully*

Speaking of dumplings, I also made my first dumpling stew last month; a recipe from Allyson Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats.  Except that now that we’re fairly certain my knee problems are not being caused by a gluten sensitivity and that makes me very happy, I promptly re-glutinified it.  It was highly delicious and highly brown (highly NOT photogenic); the dumplings taste like big gobs of homemade pasta dough and I <3, <3.  Comfort food at its finest.

…photography:

*Hangs head in shame* What do I really have to say for myself here, guys?  That running has left me too scatterbrained to participate in any of my usual creative activities…?  (I’ve already used that excuse multiple, multiple times, for multiple, multiple things.)  That my food/life has not been very aesthetically pleasing as of late..?  I’m sorry.  I know I make a lot of promises here, but this time when I say I’ll work on it (it being the frequency/quality of my photography), I truly mean it.  As halfway-compensation, in lieu of a proper photography section, here are some snapshots from the month:

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I love this picture; but sorry for the smudged face.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

A flub, obviously--I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

A flub, obviously–I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

…things that made me smile:

My poetry winning a contest that you can’t know about because it would tell you my name! 🙂  Ranting about my undying love for chocolate to my friends, on Valentine’s Day and beyond…I have made the resolution never to date a boy until I find one that makes me feel like chocolate makes me feel.  Chocolate makes me feel beautiful and respectable and appreciated and loved and YUMMMM.

I have to close with this since it's no longer my header. :)  Happy March.

I have to close with this since it’s no longer my header. 🙂 Happy March.

Strange But Good: 2-Ingredient Banana Creme

Of all the possible ways to capture people’s attention, excluding, of course, suddenly dropping dead or screaming “I’M BEING KIDNAPPED!!”, I have found there to be two most effective options:

1.  Megaphone.

2.  Dangle a picture of chocolate in front of them.

DSCN0496Oh, wait, maybe there’s three effective options:

3.  Shout “I HAVE CHOCOLATE!!” through a megaphone.  Oh, and if you happen to be in the food blogging community, it will help your case if you also add “IT’S HEALTHY!!  THREE INGREDIENTS AT MOST, THAT’S ALL!  AND, YES, IT’S #STRANGEBUTGOOD!!”

Ah, #strangebutgood.  How I love thee.

Strange But Good is the brainchild of Laura, of Sprint2TheTable fame; a blogger linkup designated to showcasing the strange…but good!!…foods that we bloggers have integrated into our lives.  You know, the usual: things like chocolate-covered sweet potatoes, extravagant oatmeal creations, etc.  In other words, Strange But Good is singularly THE BEST IDEA EVER.  Except, you know, maybe the internet.  And ice cream scoops with antifreeze in the handles…but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

This particular Strange But Good recipe was born out of a happy accident one day, when I was blending up a Green Monster and forgot to add milk.

“What kind of person does that?” you ask me?  “It’s a smoothie!  It necessitates milk in order for it to be smooth!!”  I don’t know; apparently, I’m just wonderfully scatterbrained enough to make these kinds of mistakes, because, on this particular day, when I was heading to the refrigerator to remedy my dairy-deprivation calamity, I happened to taste the “smoothie” anyway.  To my very pleasant surprise, it tasted like a healthier (read: not as cloyingly sweet) version of the filling of the ever-famous Banana Creme Pie!!

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 As Scott Conant said the other night on Chopped“It was a little bowl of goodness, and it made me happy.”  #foodnerdalert

So, without further fanfare, let me present to you the strange, delicious basic recipe for

2-Ingredient Banana Creme

-1 banana, the riper the better

-4 oz tofu (silken if you want it to look creamy like pudding, as above, but any kind, even extra-firm, will work!)

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Top with chocolate chips, nuts, flavored syrups…whatever floats your (banana) boat.  😉

Be happy 🙂

DSCN0471See what I did there? 🙂

If you want to get cuhrayzee, you can blend in 1-2T of cocoa powder (and some optional sweetener, depending on your sugar tolerance/preferences) and make 3-Ingredient Chocolate Banana Creme, as in the first picture.

OR, if you haven’t had enough STRANGE, go on and try Green Banana Creme by blending in a couple handfuls of spinach!!

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I iced mine with some chocolate PB2, and slurped to my heart’s content. 🙂  And believe me, I TRIED to take a decent photo, but I was working with green and brown food, as well as objectionable 6:30 AM lighting.  Come, fellow food bloggers–be sympathetic to my plight, and revel in the strangeness of a good tofu smoothie!

–The Girl in the Orange

Bad Apron Pictures, Fluffy Frosting, and REALLY GOOD Cup(pan)cakes

In stark contrast to the epic wasteland of negativity that was my previous post, today I’ma be talkin’ a little bit about everyone’s favorite, palm-sized sweet treat: cupcakes!  (Yes, I do still have a life, outside of my wallowing in misery over my aching joints.)  Specifically, I’ma be talkin’ ’bout how I gets up at 3:00 AM to make them, and surprise even myself by doing a decent job.

Something really awesome about attending a private school is that you get to participate in a multitude of cool extracurricular programs–my latest excursion was a school-organized foray into the world of business owning and managing (and, incidentally food.  Yay!  I like that world!).  I was required to spend six hours in a small-scale business of my (somewhat) choosing, and I was assigned the lovely Bonjour Cupcakes, all the way over in Olympia.

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I learned quite a lot.  I somehow have a sneaking suspicion that that was the point of the assignment.

For example, did you know that bakers work hours that usually start around 10:00 PM and conclude around 7:00 AM?

I didn’t.  Until now.

Thankfully, that wasn’t quite me, but I did have to rise at 3:00 AM in order to get myself lookin’ presentable and mosey down to the business, where I would be shadowing the manager and bakers there, taking in all they do and say and just feeding off their awesome cupcake-making vibe.  It was an amazing experience; no, I don’t necessarily want to become a baker when I grow up (unless all else fails…I don’t think I’m organized enough, anyway!  You have to keep track of all those trays and orders and ingredients and lists and proportions…), BUT, it was quite awesomesauce to see how things actually play out “behind the scenes” of a cupcake shop!

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Man, they have tubs of buttercream.  Tubs!!  Ecstasy.

I wore an apron and took a really bad photo of it

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and proceeded to conquer my jobs of Squirter of Magic Potion (aka caramel sauce and lemon curd) Into the Center of the Cupcakes, and Decorator of Already-Frosted Cupcakes.

Caramel!

Caramel!

MY handiwork!  MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

MY handiwork! MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

Oh, yeah, and my other job.  The most important one: Taste-Tester.

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Because of my possibly food sensitivity issues, I was confined to sampling the gluten-free flavors, and I ended up picking an unfrosted vanilla gluten-free, made with almond and coconut flour.

LOOOOOOVE.  This was quite possibly the best cupcake I’ve had in my life, gluten-free or otherwise.  I loved how the “denser” nut flours blended together to create a cupcake that was, yes, dense, but so sweet, and almost pancake-like in texture.  (Cup-pancakes?  That idea brings me tears of happiness, and also a recipe idea…)  It was the kind of cupcake that, upon finishing, you just wanted to stuff the wrapper in your mouth and chew off all the remaining bits of cake.  (Please tell me you’ve done this before!–I mean, it’s not like I ever have, or anything…)  I refrained, because I was in the company of civilized human beings, but they really are THAT good.  Stop by Bonjour Cupcakes if you ever get the chance!

DSCN0337They are worthy. 🙂

ESST #4: Growth Spurt

You know what’s good?

Food.

You know how much I eat of it?

Lots.

Oh, what wonderful fortune it was for me to flourish into a foodie while still munching my way through the adolescent years!

The constant ravenousness that is part of the package of (hopefully…) shooting up six inches within five years is something of a double-edged sword.  It is both a blessing, in that it allows endless opportunities for culinary exploration and craving satisfaction, and something of a curse in that if you ever travel anywhere, say, for the afternoon, you have to find some way to inconspicuously transport an entire instant mini-meal there with you in order to keep yourself a pleasant and engaged member of society.  Not that I’ve ever done this, or anything…

Hopefully this post will enlighten non-teenage folks to (or perhaps remind them of) the mass amounts of food that we are capable of consuming.  Please have sympathy!  The constant thrumming pain in our legs and joints that serve as a constant reminder of their speedy lengthening ain’t no joyride.  Add in the coursing hormones and mass, mass chocolate cravings…well, it ain’t no joyride.

(If you have no idea what an ESST is, check out my very first–it’s like a What I Ate Wednesday post, only I don’t confine myself to Wednesdays, and the name allows me to pay homage to my Western roots.  Every single stankin’ thang  [I ate].)

A Totally Chocolate Breakfast

It was Saturday morning–the one time per week I actually have time to make something semi-extravagant (read: not quick-oatmeal) for breakfast.  Do you think I’m going to pass up this opportunity?

DSCN0184I started off my day with a mug of The Republic of Tea’s Double Dark Chocolate Mate tea.  I bought it for Mother Dearest for Christmas and have been shamelessly mooching ever since.  Gal’s gotta have chocolate.

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Then, I whipped up a single-serve batch of Joelle’s Paleo Pancakes.  I’ve had this pinned on Pinterest for a while–the 3-ingredient recipe made me extremely happy (and induced salivating) when I first saw it, and the paleo-ness adds to its appeal.  No, I’m not Paleo–not in the slightest–but I do appreciate that paleo breakfasts are always whole-foods-based, gluten-free, and have more protein than my average breakfast.  🙂  (However, I DID besmudge the name of Paleo by using peanut butter instead of almond butter–sorry.  I was all out.)  I threw in some cocoa powder to these pancakes because I figured, well, I had banana, and peanut butter–there was only one thing missing to form the ultimate flavor triumvirate!

DSCN0192That would be chocolate, if you weren’t aware.

These pancakes turned out MUCH lighter and fluffier than I expected them too–usually nut butter pancakes turn out pretty dense!  Judging from the texture results, I’m betting these could easily be adapted to crepes–but I know nothing about crepes, so don’t quote me on that.

Then I ate an orange, but I inexplicably forgot I was taking pictures of my food as I was eating it.

DSCN0199And so it was that you guys ended up with this picture.

This held me over for about four hours, which was quite a feat, and then quinoa had to happen.

10:00 Lunch

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This was a pretty large bowl, and I thought it would have no trouble satiating–but I actually ended up eating it about x3.  Don’t know how that happened…

And, as if to further rub my diet in Paleo’s face (I’m so sorry), I drank two glasses of milk.

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Recycled pic–another ‘I’m sorry’. But why would I waste precious storage space on pictures of milk, of all things?

I was hangry.  Let’s call this meal “10:00 lunch”.  (It wasn’t my actual lunch.  Believe.)

Actual Lunch

Lunch was as random as it was veggie-ful–I sauteed a Field Roast Grain Meat Co. sausage with some broccoli slaw, then served the whole thing over a bed of romaine and spinach.

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Devoured.

I never enjoyed sausage when I was little, but now the uniquely spicey flavor is growing on me.  (Like most faux meats, these “sausages” DO taste STUNNINGLY like the real thing–it’s just that the texture is not quite the same.)

About two hours later, I had a handful quite a lot of Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams–because what’s a day without chocolate??  Oh, that’s right, I’d already had a lot this morning…

DSCN0207x about, um, 100.  No, really–I guess I probably ended up eating four times this much.  I had to finish the box, you guys–I couldn’t just leave a couple of handfuls in there like a crazy person.

(I guess I’d better inform you guys now that this post is one of those posts, the ones where the content, not the pictures is the focus…they occur more often than I would like, but I was too busy inhaling food to really focus on taking good pictures.)

I was still hungry after the bunnehs, so I had a big stinkin’ bowl of plain yogurt.  I also had leftover bunny crumbs on my hands, so I dusted them on the yogurt.

DSCN0209Then even MORE quinoa happened.  It’s boring and not pretty–you wouldn’t want to see it.

THEN it was time for more peanut butter.  Big giant creamy rich slurpy spoon of peanut butter.  Heaven.

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That meant I had eaten chocolate, peanut butter…

DSCN0213Half a banana had to happen.  (In the dark.)  Just to even things out.

Then, we were off! to Best Buy.  We waited at Customer Service for quite a multitude of hours to sort out some password problems, and I walked away with a new toy. 😉

DSCN0219Now I just need to figure out what the heck Instagram is/how to use it.  It sounds exciting.

Presently I became (can you guess?) hungry, so I ate Cheerios.  Cheerios are always a good idea.

Hey, this picture's actually kind of cute!

Hey, this picture’s actually kind of cute!

x~2.

One hour passed, and it was dinnertime.  Somehow I had managed not to cook anything, so I ended up openin’ a can o’ Amy’s Minestrone soup, serving myself a generous bowl, and accompanying it with a simple romaine+evoo+balsamic vinegar salad.  And a muffin, that I had made earlier for breakfasts throughout the week.  (The muffin ended up being x2.)

Blech.  Bad picture.  But the soup was good.  i particularly enjoyed the little twisty pastas, even though they seemed slightly overcooked.

Blech. Bad picture. But the soup was good. I particularly enjoyed the little twisty pastas, even though they seemed slightly overcooked.

DSCN0218Actually, it’s hard to believe that this was all I ate that day!  Normally I feel like I’m downing much, MUCH more…guess today I just got lucky and saved some gigabytes on the blog account. 🙂  (I’m becoming increasingly aware of that number counting up and up and up…no more free storage for me soon.  Gulp.)

On a slightly more serious note, parents, if you have a teenage girl, PLEASE be sensitive about what you say about her eating habits.  As someone who considers myself relatively “fit”, sometimes it gives me pause to think that I’m hungry…again…even after I’ve just finished a huge dinner, thinking that extra weight will hamper my running time or make me have to lift more during pull-ups or something, but getting the calories for GROWING is so much more important than either of those things.  (And hey, more weight to lift just means bigger muscles later. ;))  Even something as seemingly benign as “Wow, you’re eating again?” can be enough to trigger that vile monster, Self-Doubt, and start him gnawing on the corners of someone’s confidence.  We’re growing.  Our metabolisms are through the roof, higher than they’ll ever be in our lifetimes, and we’re as sure as heck going to enjoy it while it lasts. WE NEED THIS FOOD.  Lots of it.  More please, and thank you very much.

Joint Bargain

To my dear, lovely, clever, beautiful, essential, fabulous pair of knees–

Knees–I love you.  So much.  Always have, always will.  You knew that, right?

You have been sooo good to me over the duration of my life so far.  Taking me everywhere I needed to go, helping me do everything I needed to get done.  Perhaps I haven’t always been as appreciative of that as I should be, but that’s going to change.  I promise.

If you do this one thing for me…

Remember that thing we used to do together?

That thing when I moved you up and down and back and forth and out and in…

that thing where we went really fast…

Fall Things to Be Grateful For 019

and we called it running?

Yes, that thing!  What did you think I was talking about??

Anyway, I kinda miss that.

Actually, I miss it a lot.  It makes my heart ache that we don’t do it anymore.

So, I have a bargain to propose.

January is starting soon–

if you want, January will be your month, you hear me?

Your month.

I will be your servant for a full 31-day period.

We could get some bubble baths and some massages.  Mmmm, right?

I’ve been reading up on arthritis-minimizing foods–

good news!  Olive oil is one!  So is celery, and so are lentils, and so are most vegetables…how’s about I fix up a mungo salad for us for lunch every day?  And then finish it with extra-extra-dark chocolate?  I’ll take in so many anti-inflammatory compounds you won’t know what to do with me, knees.

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Anti-inflammatory!  Anti-inflammatory!  Woot!

Anti-inflammatory! Anti-inflammatory! Woot!

We could do more yoga.  You’d like that, right?  A little downward-dog action, hmm?

Even if we do have to do it in the spindle-spider infested garage.

Even if we do have to do it in the spindle-spider infested garage.

Oh yeah, and I can wear knee sleeves when we’re doing all this.  Gentle compression; it’d feel so good!

Sounds nice, right?

Sounds ahmazing?

Well, great!

It’s all yours!..if

you promise me I don’t have arthritis…

–The Girl in the Orange

December Wishes

Oh, you guys.

It’s been a day.

Quite a day.

Like, a breakfast-cookie-for-dinner type of day.

Brown food doesn’t photograph well, especially when you don’t want to take the time to even put it on a pretty plate or clear your placemat of crumbs. But it’s dang delicious.

I am a Hobbler today. It’s different from a Hobbit, but I still have the hairy feet.

Somehow I don’t think whatever I developed over the weekend, the pain that manifested itself in earnest on Monday, is runner’s knee.  Or if it is, runner’s knee must be more awful than most websites made it out to be.

It is not simply uncomfortable.  I am crippled this week, not able to participate in physical education games or make it to any of my classes on time–I’ve perfected the art of steadily shuffling.  It’s so frustrating.  My mind is going full speed, and I want to walk at the same pace as everybody else, and, you know, be all normal-like, but my knees can’t take it.  I have to stand with my knees all soft on the rare occasions that I do actually bring myself to stand.

A couple of thoughts on this condition:

1. What the fudge??!  Okay, I hear you, running is hard on your body and runners are prone to injury, but I’m not ultramarathoning here!  At most, I’m running 12 miles a week.  Seriously.  12 miles tops, and my knees are trying to abandon ship.  Am I running wrong, somehow?  I stretch; I’ve got the proper shoes; I have good posture in other areas of my life!  Maybe I’m just not built for running…  😦

2.  Aw dang, I’ve got my second 5k next Saturday!  It was going to have jingle bells, too! 😦

My knees are feeling somewhat better, after a lot of RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), ibuprofen, and some yoga in our garage-turned-home-gym.  Now could we please get rid of the arachnids in there..?

I doez yoga wid da speyederz.

November is coming to a close, and since I am in this wistful mood, AND since it’s the holiday season, all about miracles and wishes coming true and all that, I decided to publicize my Wishes for this December.  These are things that would mean the world to me right now.  They are lofty expectations, I realize, but if they were to happen I would melt.  (No pun intended!)  Chop chop, Santa Claus.

1.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let there be snow.

Let there be snow for dog.

I miss Midwest Winter.
The most ridiculous part of this whole thing is that this picture was taken in late March.

2.  Let me be able to run in my 5k..?  Scratch that, let me be recovered fully within two days.  It’s a tall order, I know, but I would rather simply not race than race at less than 100%.

3.  I’m trying to email a literary agent I’ve been introduced to about my novel and whenever I go to do it my brain gets stopped up.  So, let me be able to write an eloquent, charming, winning query email?

4.  Please let me experience good holiday vibes, good food, happy family.  Really, what the holiday season’s all about.

(See?  Just writing this post has put me in a better mood!) 😉  Happy holidays from The Girl in the Orange–and please take a moment to be thankful for your two working knees!