Foodie Penpals August 2012

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The Lean Green Bean

This week I received my very first Foodie Penpals parcel from Julia from Something Missing. The first thing I noticed when I opened the parcel was a strong fishy smell. Auch! I’m not a big fan of fishy smells, so I tried to figure out what could be the culprit. Most of the things Julia send me where sweet snacks, but as it turned out, she also included something called “smoked dulse”. She wrote:

I thought I would include a couple of Irish things. (…) some smoke dulse which is edible seaweed. I live by the sea and this is quite popular locally! You can just eat it as it is althoug it does have quite an overpowering taste, so I like to add just a little bit to a big salad to add a little kick!

I’m all for trying something new, but this one I couldn’t get in an air tight container fast enough. Later on of course I tried it out and as for the overpowering taste, she was definitely right. But I will probably add it to a salad sometime soon!

Foodie Penpals Parcel August 2012

The rest of the package contained of all sorts of snacks. As I indicated when Julia asked me if I had any allergies or (dis)likes, I’m always on the lookout for healthy stuff to munch on while I’m in the office. Long days require good fuel. And she sure send me some good fuel!

Dried Fruit and Seed Bars No Sugar Added

I particularly liked the home made fruit and seed bars with no added sugar. I just found out that Julia added the recipe in her latest blog post. I’ll definitely will be making these in the near future!

Usually I don’t buy fruity snacks that often, so it was good that she added some dried fruit snack bars for me to try too. And I really liked the fruit, nut & yogurt mix from Nature “with a hint of naughty”. In my book, if you find something with the word “naughty” in the name, you can’t go wrong. I especially loved the yogurt coated dried pineapple bits. Definitely something I will try buy here in Holland (anyone know where I can find those?).

Nature with a hint of naughty

As this was my first Foodie Penpals swap, I was pretty curious at how it would turn out. But I definitely got some nice goodies! My desk drawer is all filled up for the week thanks to Julia!

If you wanna join, please head over to The Lean Green Bean (for US and Canadian residents) or Rock Salt (if you live in the UK or in Europe), where you can sign up as a Foodie Penpal (you don’t need to be a blogger, but it certainly makes things more fun!).

Monday Eats

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Today’s meal plan is great for those of us who are trying to lose weight: low on calories, high on protein.

I just love starting my day off with a healthy oatmeal breakfast. I don’t always have the time to make it, but when I do… oohlahlah… it’s heaven in a bowl!

Since I have to work on Mondays (who doesn’t?) I planned and packed my snacks and lunch yesterday evening (please note that this is an exception, I usually wake up on Monday mornings, feel stressed out, ‘forget’ to pack lunch and end up spending too much money on lunch and not-so-healthy snacks at the office). I have a fridge full of carrots and hummus, measured, packed and ready to throw in my bag for the next few days. I just added fruit and nuts for a morning snack. I forgot who nice it feels not to have to think about food early morning and just throw a bunch of stuff in my bag before work.  I really should pack my food on Sundays more often.

Dinner was just quick and easy. Not very culinary I’m afraid. I cooked for one today and didn’t have much time, so I didn’t really make an effort. I planned to go carb-less for dinner, but ended up eating my half-a-sandwich with peanut butter — which I had planned to eat at the office — after work. Which was a good thing since I don’t normally do well on just protein and veggies for dinner…

Side note: the only thing not in the picture is the glass of milk I’m about to have as my pre-bedtime snack.   😉

Nutrition Facts: 1541 calories | 196g carbs | 60g fat | 64g protein

Pics Of The Day

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Time for some photos:

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This afternoon, when I went out to take a short walk, which I needed so bad — I almost fell asleep at my desk — I realized how beautiful my surroundings actually are. It’s a shame I’m on the back side of the building. The view from our office window is a brick wall. Not so inspiring.

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But when I went out for my walk, to get some air, I saw the beauty on the other side of the building. Of course I knew it was there before… I’m not a complete idiot. But I kind of seem to forget about it.

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I definitely need to get out more during the work day! Why waste all that beauty by staying inside all day?

Office Lunch

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I keep ‘forgetting’ to bring lunch to the office. Which means today I ended up with a large lunch from the office restaurant. A bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, topped with a slice of cucumber and a slice of hard boiled egg. Combined with a banana and a glass of milk.

It’s a good thing that not only did I not have time to prepare lunch this morning, I also didn’t have time to cook myself a proper filling breakfast (read: a big bowl of oatmeal) before heading off to work. I did have a small peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, but I felt kind of hungry when it was time for my lunch break. And apart from the bagel (235 calories, and a lot of simple carbohydrates… auch!) this lunch was not that bad – health wise. Bananas are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese, and the milk and the salmon provided the necessary protein.

As you can see I’m finally using Instagram (I don’t own an iPhone, so I wasn’t able to before). Still working on my photography skills I’m afraid. Pictures look great on my phone, but after uploading: not so much. Will do better next time!

Nutrition Facts: 537 calories | 84g carbs | 12g fat | 25g protein

Beat The Procrastination Monster

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Okay, I’m kind of not sure whether to write about work-related stuff on this blog. But since it causes some major changes in my happiness and food routine, I think I should just mention the things that bother me lately.

I just realized these last few weeks that I’m not that good of an employee. You read a lot about being assertive, active, spontaneous, positive, taking initiative, solving problems immediately when they arise. But let’s be honest. Who can manage that 24/7? Certainly not me. I’m a typical procrastinator. I’ve been that way in college, and now that I’m actually working for my money, I still procrastinate. A lot.

I’ve tried out all sorts of methods to keep me focused and motivated. First of all, I started with trying to find my passion. Whatever that means. Everyone nowadays is talking about passion as their life force. If you haven’t found your passion yet, it will be practically impossible to live a life full of joy, let alone to be happy in your work life. Well, I still haven’t found my passion yet. I’m pretty passionate about the quest for my passion, and since I’ve been blogging, I’m more happy about what I leave to this world. But to say I can make money out of this… No, I can’t. So my actual job is not my passion. At the moment that is.

To Do List Making CartoonSo, finding passion in my work, that hasn’t happened yet. This means I will have to find a different way to keep my focus in day-to-day work life. I once read the book from David Allen – Getting Things Done. I’m sure you have heard of it, if you have the same procrastinating problem as I do. It’s a real good book. And I’ve slowly integrated this method into my life. I’m still working things out. For instance I really have to kick myself in the butt when it’s time for my Weekly Review. But when I do, on a random Friday afternoon in the office, I kick ass by ending the week on a very positive note and starting the weekend all relaxed because I know I will be reminded of all the important tasks when I get back in the office on Monday. Which means I don’t have to think about them over the weekend, when I’m at home. BUT… the whole airplane model… not happening for me yet. Maybe in time it will though.

Another way of keeping myself focused is tracking streaks using Joe’s Goals. For example, a few of my goals are to exercise for at least 10 minutes a day, not to have caffeine and sugar (not ready for that I guess, according to the latte and muffin I had for a morning snack) and to publish at least three blog post every week. Doing pretty well in that department, if I may say so.

So, today the first post about happiness. Still figuring it out, but I’m sure I’ll get there someday!