Caffeine-Free Katie

So, I took a little blog break and it was glorious. No blog reading for one week and no blogging for two (!) weeks. It was somewhat unintentional– I got really busy and couldn’t get to it for a few days and then I realized the lovely opportunity that had unfolded before me. I can waste time with the best of ’em, reading blogs and watching time fly by. It was a good lesson and reminder that everyday is meant to be lived fully, not lost in a sea of tv, movies and computers.

Anyway, on to my big news… I did it! My twelve year affair with caffeine has finally ended. One Two full weeks without it; I made it through the headaches, the brain fuzz, the lack of motivation and the sleepiness. I wasn’t even drinking that much a day– only a cup of tea in the morning. Damn you, green tea! Then one morning it was all over and I woke up feeling happy to be headache-free and refreshed. AND, I still get to appreciate the rich and soulful smell of coffee in the morning, thanks to the husband.

flickr: Professor Bob

Going to enjoy the rest of my rich and spicy Bengal Spice (meow) tea and think about my goals for the upcoming year.

Photo cred



Thyroid blues

Well, I got some bad news yesterday. It seems that my thyroid levels are off again after nearly a year of being right on target– humph. I knew when the doc’s office called something was up, so I squeezed in an appointment yesterday. Now, I realize managing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is pretty small beans compared to other illnesses, but they’re my beans.
It is so tempting to just start popping synthroid once a day, but I really don’t want to do that. I’m so bad at taking pills and this would be every single day. On the other hand, even being slightly hypothyroid makes conceiving difficult and increases the chance of miscarriage.
Maybe I should just look at these past 4 months as an experiment– when I got lazy and stopped doing all of the things I was doing my numbers went out of whack. At least I know that one of those things was working, but which thing did it? I made lifestyle changes like cutting out drinking and exercising regularly, attended yoga, sat in saunas, meditated my butt off, ate more raw foods, juiced romaine and kale for green drinks, took a homeopathic remedy– not armour [for those of you with normal thyroids, armour is a natural thyroid replacement made from piggy glands] and visited an eccentric, yet awesome, acupuncturist who was always trying to get me to switch to Blue Cross Blue Shield. When I stopped all that, it felt nice to be “normal” and just live a happy life, not consumed by healing.
I guess it all happens for a reason. Maybe the first time around I was too strict and it just wasn’t sustainable. This gives me the chance to try it again and find a more balanced approach. And, it takes me back to the original reason I started the blog– to share how I am healing from this disorder. Anyone want to hop on the wellness bandwagon with me?

Time to dust off the juicer…

But would great granny eat it?

Just saw this clip & wanted to share it with you all. It’s the fabulous Michael Pollan discussing In Defense of Food. 


Chili Mac (attack)

So, I’d never heard of this little thing called “chili mac” until I saw an episode of Rachel Ray years ago. Did you all grow up eating this?!? It’s what it sounds like– chili-type sauce over pasta– and I’m here to tell ya, it’s pretty tasty. I couldn’t find a recipe I liked, so I modified a Rachel Ray with ingredients I had on hand.

CHILI MAC (vegetarian)~ serves 4

  • 1 pkg. pasta (I used whole wheat, but I bet any kind would work)
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (remove ribs and seeds first)
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • about 3 TBL chili powder
  • 1 TBL cumin
  • 1 teasp. coriander
  • salt & peppa
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1 15 oz can diced roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can crushed roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • green onion, sour cream, cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook 1 lb of pasta. Heat oil in a large skillet and add onion. After onion cooks for about 3-5 minutes, add red pepper, jalapeno and garlic. Cook until veggies are just soft, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander and season with a little salt and pepper. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, stock and beans. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Drain pasta. Top pasta with “chili” (I like to keep them separate. Otherwise, if you have leftovers, the pasta gets mushy). Top with lots of green onion and a little cheese and sour cream.

Lowfat and fast! Perfect dinner for a little Glee!

I also have some very exciting news– I’m now officially enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! The schooling I’ll receive will enable me to become a health counselor. It took about of year of consideration, research and soul searching to decide how to best support my passion for all things food and nutrition. I seriously considered going back to school (again?!) to become a registered dietitian, however, the cost and time involved was the limiting factor.

Upon completion of this program, I will have the tools necessary to support others in their quest for good health and help them examine the areas of their life that are either supporting or undermining their well-being.  I’m so happy I’ve made a decision and am moving forward on this path 🙂


Gifts from the squash gods

Ahhh– don’t you just *love* the fall? Gorgeous weather, colorful leaves and squash galore. This beauty was given to me by an awesome coworker (who also shared some farm fresh eggs right from her backyard coup)

I made some butternut squash bisque for the first time. Here’s a link to the recipe. I can’t believe I haven’t made this before as it is incredibly easy and you know I am all about that. And, yes, I did use heavy cream… not the healthiest choice by any stretch, but I wanted to experience that taste. It was good, but I think it would be just as good, if not better,  with whole milk.

Peeling the thing is always a bit of a pain, but just grab your trusty peeler (spend a little more for a good one. You’ll love yourself over and over for it) and have at it!

Then, scoop out the seeds

Finally, chop away!

Easy peesy!

What are some of your favorite squash recipes?

Simple Living

I love rainy days, but it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything except read and watch movies. Oh well– it’s a good rest for the body.

Last weekend, we had my brother & sister-in-law over for dinner, cards, tasty fall brews courtesy of the bro, margaritas and fancy soda for the pregnant lady;)

Some ingredients for Dan’s famous margarita’s… maybe one day I’ll get him to post the recipe.

Hmmm… got to be the yellow 1…

We had so much fun hanging out and entertaining from home, it makes me wonder why we don’t do it more often. Part of the reason is that our house is like a shoebox (and a slightly smelly one at that due to the fabulous Kiwi) and the other reason is that…um…well, I don’t know. Having people (especially people you love) into your home makes the house so much more alive. It’s an incredibly affordable way to entertain and show people you care. It’s low impact, healthier than restaurant food and can be super affordable. It also forces us to clean and really take a look at our living space. Maybe I should try this entertaining thing more often!

Anyway, in the spirit of fall, Sunday morning I made these gorgeous pumpkin pancakes

You can find the recipe here. I’m gonna try these again, but with some modifications. The taste was nice, but the texture was off– kinda undercooked even though they weren’t.

Time for work!

Lentil Soup & a Salad Bowl

Hello All!

Happy hump day!Hope your week has been fabulous and remarkably fruitful.

I’m on a soup kick and last Sunday I made some awesome lentil soup.  I usually make soup or dip or sandwich filling for Dan & I to eat during the week. How often do you come home from work and just want to read a book, take a bath, go to the gym, watch a movie or go grab a beer!? It happens to me all the time, but I don’t want to eat veggie burgers and pizza every night of the week. Having some already prepared, or nearly prepared, foods makes my life so much easier (and healthier).

One thing I started doing was making a salad bowl at the beginning of the week.

On the days that I want to take salad to work, I just grab my tongs and put some in a container. It also makes for an amazingly easy side-dish for dinners. Dan & I will eat through this in 2 or 3 days and  if I didn’t do it, we wouldn’t eat nearly as many veggies. We also have 4 or 5 dressings on hand at all times to mix things up a little.

On to the soup! This soup is incredibly rich and tasty and super easy to make (also very cheap!)

Lentil Soup (serves 4-6)

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large (or 2 small) carrots, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 5 cups of water or veggie broth or combination of the two
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Saute onion & carrot in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. As with most soups, it’s even better the next day.

Quick and easy nutrition. Lots of protein. Lots of fiber. Lots of taste.

To a healthy day!