the long road to healthy

June 27, 2009

our new bathtub

Filed under: family, general — karena @ 6:40 pm

Ready for it?

As excited as I am?

Here you go!!!


OK, so technically we do have a bath upstairs now, we are not allowed to use it. I KNOW! Trust me, I KNOW. It’s only the shell of a tub. We have to wait four to six weeks for the casing and the shower door to come in. We have to wait a few days to use even the shell of the tub, because the cement is still setting. Apparently, tub installation is done much differently here than in the states. Who knew? Not us, apparently. If I’d known, I sure as hell wouldn’t have planned to have a new tub/shower installed during the summer.

Yes, I know. Short, chubby women should not wear capris. You don’t have to lecture me. But it’s in the 80s, and muggy 80s at that. And I haven’t shaved my legs in over a week. And THAT, above, is the closest I’ve gotten to a bath since last Friday. AND I’ve given up wine for this week.

….only twenty-four hours to go…


June 24, 2009

weekly weigh in

Filed under: keeping it real, nutrition, weigh in — karena @ 12:08 pm

Hey, look over there. <—– See that button? It's about freakin' time!

Last week: 164.0
This week: 163.5

Small changes, I know. Apparently I am the tortoise in this race. But isn't he the one that wins in the end? I need to keep reminding myself that weight lost fast usually comes back. And that slower is surer, and probably healthier. Yadda, yadda, yadda. No, really, I am pleased. Just we've all heard all those things, so many times before, haven't we?

What? You think if I gave up my nightly glass(es) of wine I might be moving a little faster? Well, you want to know what I think??

Sigh. I think you're right. Tell you what, I'll give up my wine for a week if you pledge to give up something as well. Your evening screwdriver, or that little bowl of ice cream you've been indulging in nightly, or those chips you've been sneaking. Yeah, that's right, I'm talking to YOU. Takers?

Tofu Tuesday

Filed under: good eats — karena @ 9:05 am

Brought to you by…
Kaci@Ellyphant & Kelli@Gohn Crazy

A day late, but I promise you not a dollar short! We sampled a new recipe from my oldest vegetarian cookbook — the first one I ever bought. It’s fromThe Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. I highly recommend it! The cookbook, that is, but also the following recipe! A couple other recipes that have been kid-tested, mom-approved from this book to whet your appetites: Veggie Pot Pie, Southwestern Baked Rice Casserole. Pasta with Sneaky Marinara Sauce… I could go on and on. Check out Nava’s website above. She’s got a recipe section so you can “try before you buy.”

Here’s one to get you going: Gingery Japanese Noodles with Mushrooms and Snow Peas

5 cups of veg broth
1 8oz package of soba noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups (about 4 oz) snow peas
6-8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring the broth to a simmer and cook the noodles at a boil until done. Meanwhile, heat the oils and 1/4 cup of water in your stir-fry pan (I use simply a deep-sided skillet). Stir in the ginger and soy sauce, then add the snow peas and mushrooms to the mix. Cook over med-high heat, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes. You know, until the snow peas are lightly cooked but still vibrant green, and the mushrooms are starting to look yummy.

Add the cooked noodles and broth and scallions to the pan (I didn’t have any scallions) and simmer for another couple minutes. Serve in shallow bowls.

This was incredibly good! I used the lesser amount of ginger, and next time I’ll use a tad more. But absolutely delicious! If you like mushrooms at all, you HAVE to try this. My kids are on a no-mushroom kick, so lucky us, my husband and I got to enjoy it all ourselves!

June 19, 2009

Home Improvement

Filed under: family, general, oops — karena @ 6:44 pm

I’ve been wanting, pleading, begging for a new bath and shower since we moved into our house a little more than a year ago. Can you imagine living in a house without a shower? Me neither. Oh, one more thing. The bathroom is pink. PINK. Not little pink accents, not pink curtains. P.I.N.K. Pink. The sink, the toilet, the tub, the tile. When we first moved in, the mirror, the shelf under the sink, the toilet paper holder, the soap dishes — PINK. And plastic to boot. Oh, the floor tiles are a shade of pink as well.

I’m not a pink girl. My husband and two boys are not pink men. We quickly replaced the accessories. But the rest we’ve had to live with. A couple months ago, we finally decided to invest the money into replacing the bath with a bath/shower combo, in refreshing WHITE. Something to lighten the overwhelming pinkness of it all. We’ll slowly and methodically replace the other major fixtures as time goes by.

So, my bathtub two days ago, when I was giving my littlest a bath. Because, really, how exciting is a picture of a tub?

My bathtub today:


My husband’s eye is completely twitching right now. Apparently, the tub is the wrong dimensions for the area. We’re not sure how that happened, as we measured meticulously, and we took the measurements to the store with us when ordering the tub, AND the contractor was out and did a survey of the site, knowing what we were putting in. We have an appointment with the contractor and the store TUESDAY to ORDER a new tub that will fit.

Oh, one more thing. It’s almost July. The height of summer is still to come. And we’re going to be washing up in the sink for at least a few weeks would be my guess.



June 17, 2009

for you, team BLUE

Filed under: general — karena @ 7:34 pm

Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Do you see? Do you see what I’ve done for you? Yes, you – Heather, Anita, Ann, Thea, and Mel! I’ve overhauled my blog to show my support of our team. I, Karena, who am actually much more of an earth-tone-leaning-toward-red kind of girl. I went blue for you! And I quoted from a sappy old movie that my son just happens to be watching for the first time. For you.

I could break out into a cheer or two if it’s necessary. I was a cheerleader in high school. But I think it would be rather sad to see a nearing-40 year old woman, 30ish pounds overweight, try to relive her high school un-glory days. So please don’t make me do it.

Let’s give it our all this week. Be active. Stick to your workout schedule. Don’t be tempted by the cookies you make for your kids. Don’t stop at Burger King on your way home because you’re too tired to cook. I’m going to be rock solid this week. And if I can do it in Belgium — the land of superb chocolate, and the original french fries (frites), and super-good and super-cheap wine and beer — then you can too!

You’ve got a dream. I do too. Let’s do what we can to achieve them together.

I want that button!

Filed under: fitness, keeping it real, weigh in — karena @ 8:22 am

I’ve been at the Sisterhood for five weeks now. I’ve met some great women, been inspired, been encouraged, and been more focused on my health than I’ve been in a long time.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t been as focused as I ought to be. My big issue in recent weeks has been exercise. Making time for it, making it fun, making it not hurt, making it a habit. I haven’t done well here. Shredding and jogging have proven too much for my over-abused knees. Step aerobics bore me, exercise DVDs as well. And if you’re hurt by or bored with what you’re doing, you won’t keep at it.

Luckily, Thea came to my rescue. She posted here about how her pedometer helps her to stay on track. And also about an online tracking tool for logging your steps and following virtual trails. Hey! I’ve got a pedometer….somewhere. I’ve also got a state of the art jogging stroller — or at least it was top of the line back when we bought it almost six years ago. And I’ve got a five year old with boundless energy.

So now we’re walking, every day. I’m just getting started with counting the steps, as it took me four days to finally track down my pedometer. But we’ve been doing more walking and fewer car trips. We walk to the local market every other day for fresh fruit and veg. We’re beginning to explore the neighborhood and side streets and the towpaths along the canal. And it’s been nice. And I haven’t been feeling exasperated that because I’m in Mom-mode 24/7, I can’t fit in exercise.

Will I lose weight as quickly as I would if I was shredding, or running, or going to the gym? Most likely not. But this is something I can stick with, I can do with kids in tow, and I will enjoy. Progress may be slow, but progress it will be.

My starting weight at the sisterhood: 168.5
last week: 164.5
this week: 164.0

Only half a pound down this week. I’m not surprised. DH was gone, now we’re all sick with a head cold and don’t have much energy to move. But, aside from that, do you see the problem? I’ve lost 4.5 pounds. That’s great! But I so desperately wanted to hit 163.5 this week, so I could proudly display that #5 button! Next week it’s mine!

June 16, 2009


Filed under: family, fitness, general — karena @ 11:40 am

Remember when Bilbo said “I feel…thin. Sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread?” I can SO relate to that right now. Well, not the thin part. But the feeling of being unable to cover everything you’re supposed to be covering.

I’m having trouble balancing and prioritizing my ever-growing to-do list. There are so many things I really want to accomplish. But, because there are so many, I don’t even know where to begin. And so nothing gets accomplished.

In between the cooking, cleaning, being a mom, being a wife, cuddling, reading to little boys, blogging, and all the other necessities of life, here’s a list of the major things I’d like to do:

    1. Perfect my French so I can carry on real conversations. Like chewing out the plumber that keeps putting off coming and installing our new shower.
    2. Learn Latin before I need to start teaching it to my son in three years.
    3. Get organized with the homeschooling thing. Figure out a way to give my Lego-loving, problem-solving boy the classical education we want without breaking his spirit.
    4. Lose about thirty pounds and be fit.
    5. Actually read our collection of Great Books. Or at least start them.
    6. Learn how to sew. Not make simple curtains, which I did just last week. But really sew.

When I write it down, it doesn’t look like all that much. But I’ve been planning to do these things for years now. So why are they all still on my to-do list?

I used to think maybe I was just lazy. Or a procrastinator. And there are times that those terms apply. But really I think that it is more a matter of organization. And perhaps biting off more than I can chew. I’ve seen some blogs that have a 101 in 1001 section. Perhaps I should try breaking these goals out into manageable, measurable steps and making my own list.

June 11, 2009


Filed under: general — karena @ 5:51 am

My first You Capture post. I’m so excited. And intimidated. There are some very artistic people that participate in this, and I’m more of a point-and-click kinda girl.

This week’s theme is nature.


I’m pretty sure that’s a European Peacock Butterfly. It’s kind of difficult to tell, as it’s upside down. But I love how it looks as though it’s perched on one of the tree branch shadows. And how aged the bricks in the garden wall look, and how lichen-covered they are. Like nature is taking back lost ground.

June 10, 2009

weekly weigh in

Filed under: family, keeping it real, weigh in — karena @ 7:58 am

It has not been an easy week in the Long Road household. DH is still gone, the kids are missing Daddy and whiny and grumpy as a result. Actually, today is the worst day yet, come to think of it. The only thing that earns me a few minutes respite is Thomas the Tank Engine. I’m not a fan of television-as-babysitter, but there are days when it is necessary for my sanity. Today is one of those days.

But I digress.

Last week: 165.5
This week: 164.5

Created by MyFitnessPal – Online Calorie Counter

One pound loss. My goal for this challenge at the sisterhood is ten pounds in seven weeks. Only nine more to go!

The moral of this story: stress burns more calories than you think!

June 9, 2009

Tofu Tuesday – tofu tips

Filed under: good eats — karena @ 12:52 pm

Brought to you by…
Kaci@Ellyphant & Kelli@Gohn Crazy

When I was a veg*n newbie, I remember being quite intimidated by tofu. It was supposed to be some miracle food that could sub for meat, milk, eggs, cheese…. But how? When it was so flubbery and tasteless? Chances are, this is not the first veg blog you’ve come across. But just in case it is, here are a few basic tips:

*if you freeze the tofu first, the texture becomes spongier and “meatier”. I freeze it right with the water.
*drain as much water out as possible before you cook, or you will have tofu soup. I wrap a block in a kitchen towel, place it on a plate, then weigh it down with my heaviest cast iron pot for an hour or so.
*marinate, marinate, marinate. Your choices are endless. Tofu is like a sponge and will soak up the flavor. Then you can fry, bake, grill, etc.
*it’s not cheese. So don’t expect it to taste like cheese.
*it’s not an egg. So don’t scramble it and expect it to taste like eggs. It will taste like whatever you season it with.

Really, the first few of those are easy to come by. The last two, well, I really wish someone had explained that to me. When someone says a recipe “tastes just like the real thing,” 99% of the time they’ve been vegan way too long to remember what the “real thing” tastes like. But it doesn’t have to taste like cheese, or eggs, or chicken, or tuna, or whatever. If you drop those assumptions, you’ll enjoy your meals a lot more, trust me.

Five of the million and one uses of tofu:

1. puree one box of silken tofu and one jar of pesto sauce (Galroy Farms is vegan) together to make a creamy pesto sauce. A box of pasta and you’re ready to eat!
2. use silken tofu to replace milk or cream in cream-based soups. Some day I’ll post my “cream” of broccoli soup recipe.
3. 1/4 silken tofu = 1 egg. works well in muffin and bread recipes, usually. (you’ve got to play around with vegan baking, let me tell you)
4. one block of firm tofu, a little nutritional yeast, a little soy sauce, and you’ve got a good base for scrambled tofu for two or more. My fav is with onion, garlic, and bell peppers.
5. cube a block of firm tofu (drain it first, obviously) and roll cubes in your favorite bbq sauce. Bake in the oven at about 350 for about, I don’t know, twenty minutes? My kids love this. It was my five year old’s choice for supper last night!

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