Obviously I love food. But one thing that makes food even better is enjoying it in the sunshine. And while spring is technically here I haven't been able to do much of that until this week.

Today I ate my lunch on my backyard patio. My work schedule has me home every day for lunch (I work 2-10 pm) which I love. It means I can make big, veggieful (it's a word) meals everyday that I never tire of. I had a salad I made which was kind of a spin on the Classic Cobb. Chock full of veggies, it also included the obligatory egg and avocado, although this was topped with my new fave: coconut bacon.
I'm maybe more than slightly addicted to the coconut bacon (which I feel tastes nothing like bacon) and I may just eat it straight out of the Tupperware container I put it in after making it last week. Maybe.

Regardless of what meal it is, I feel like its better when eaten in the sun. So I just may be spending every single lunch on that patio until the snow returns (which hopefully isn't until the actual winter).
Here's a handy little recipe I whipped up trying to find a more natural approach to a protein bar. These are a great snack after a hard workout to help refuel and replenish.

Blueberry Cocolate Protein Bars

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats uncooked
1 cup bulgar cooked
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup almond butter
3 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 mashed bananas
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tablespoon honey
A few dashes of cinnamon

Spread in a lightly greased pan and cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool, cut, eat!

Quinoa instead of the bulgar would work. I'd probably add more chopped nuts next time as well.

I've kept these stored in the fridge in a plastic container for 3 weeks and they're still tasty.
My IPad and I are great friends in the morning, especially when you add Netflix into the mix. I do all my cooking by the light of Mad Men and Weeds, along with quite a few movies that the husband would pass on. Food, Inc., King Corn, Craigslist Joe - and this morning - No Impact Man.

The movie is about a man along with his family who aims to have no impact on the planet. Over the course of the year they give up all that is not local. They buy nothing new and turn off their electricity living by candlelight. Travel only by bike/scooter/foot and minimize waste as much as possible. (No toilet paper? Yikes)

Over the past year or so I've tried my own take at lowering my impact. We started off by composting.
It's amazing how little goes in the garbage (or down the drain) when this bucket goes in the composter week after week.

I recycle too but that alone is debatable as the process of recycling is not always earth friendly - and a lot of what you put in your recycle bins may not be recyclable at all. But overall recycling some is better than recycling none. It still boggles my mind that there are people who choose not to recycle, even when they're already paying for the service that would pick it righ up a their curb.

My biggest change by far came January 14th of this year when I decided to take the plunge and give up meat. And amazingly it hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought. I had slowly lessened my meat intake for some time and I generally would choose leafy greens over a bloody burger. Learning about the global impact of meat has really put into perspective to me how if I don't need it, and especially I'd I don't miss it, then why consume it.

I still eat dairy and eggs (obviously based on my post on egg toppers) but I limit the amount of cheese and milk that I take in. Greek yogurt and eggs are my two animal products that I don't think I could give up on, at least not now. Trying to always keep those vices organic and cage free is a plus and a must but I do understand that the dairy an egg industry is nearly as much of a burden as the big meat suppliers.

So I try to have the most colorful plate with every meal.

Farmers market season is upon us here in the mitten so the next step is to try and ensure that as much of the color on my plate comes from as close as possible to my home. (The only tough part of that for me is getting my butt out the door on a Saturday morning)

I'm not anti meat. I said when I made the switch that if there was an opportunity for me to have meat I wouldn't be opposed if I knew where the meat came from and knew the process it went through. For example my dad is a hunter - if he served something he hunted I'd feel more comfortable eating it because I know it's local, and I know how it was processed (or not processed).

I may not live without electricity. I may not live without my car. But I feel that making small changes is better than no changes. And choosing changes that lessen my impact make me feel like I'm making some sort of difference.
I'm not much for sleep. I hate taking naps. I always feel like I'm missing something. I've been known to sleep in but only after staying up late (as in 4 am late). Once I'm up I'm up and it takes a Mack truck to knock me out enough for an afternoon nap.

In the past I couldn't drink coffee, or really any caffeine for fear that I would get jittery and shakey. Friends would give me espresso for 'fun', basically I would act like a meth addict minus the bad teeth and facial sores. But when I hit 30 something changed.

I still fight sleep like the plague. And I continue to have a hard time sitting still. But caffeine and I have slowly become friends. It all started with this:

I discovered this gem at Trader Joe's and got myself hooked. It doesn't help that this is seasonal so I have to hoard it like a weirdo in order to make it last through the year.

In an effort to stretch that goodness I decided to ration it and allow other teas into my life.
This is actually an old picture of my crack drawer. Add 5 or so more boxes and you're getting close.

Then I thought, "well if tea is so wonderful just maybe coffee and I could be friends". And since I don't do anything half assed I just had to make sure I had the best type of coffee there is.
My goodness, the French Press is good.

And so, here I am-hopped up on caffeine. I don't get as high as I did back in the day, but it certainly has an effect. Working until 10 pm through the week has me hooked on an afternoon cup of that drug every afternoon. And my breakfast is always accompanied by a mug of one of my favorite teas. I keep telling myself I need to wean off natures upper. But somehow that steamy goodness finds its way into my hand every single day.
Put an egg on it (its the most fun to say when you think of the Portlandia skit "put a bird on it")

One of my favorite toppings isn't really a topping. It's an egg. Or two. Usually a bright orange yolky egg. It's only rival is Greek yogurt in my opinion, but I usually get past that battle by combining their forces into something amazing.

Black bean burgers (or a meaty burger back when I was eating those) are made magical with the incredible, edible egg.

Salads, any salad is made even better with a super runny egg. Who needs dressing?

Tex-mex food - whatever that may be. Egg.

Mushrooms. It's like they were made for each other.

I love my veggies, and I no longer eat meat. But the egg and I are wonderful friends. Until I eat it, then it's gone so we're not exactly friends anymore. Free range organic of course - because yolk should be traffic cone orange. Freal.

Case in point:
Black bean patties topped with my little friends. This is where combining the greek yogurt equals amazaballs. Best breakfast ever.
Black bean bulgar burger (say that 5 times fast) with a portabella and sunny runny. On spinach because I have Popeye pipes. (Or want, one or the other)
My lunch today: dandelion greens topped with black rice (another major obsession), tex mex-y goodness and guess what else?
Some may say I have a problem. Maybe go as far to say an addiction. I on the other hand see my 'obsession' not as something that needs its own reality show but is just my way of life. I love good healthy food. I drool over vegetables. I'd rather get my sweat on in the gym or by running a few miles than sleep in. But no worries, because I also love gin. And beer. And did I say gin?
So here I will chronicle all those things that I love. And probably a few of the things that I hate.