Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicago Diner, you've got some competition!

Thank you to Jen Strait for her generous donation to Ceasefire!!! Jen and I trained for and ran the Chicago Marathon in 2007, and she was truly the best running buddy a girl could ask for. I miss running with you Jen!!
Look at this loveliness - really whets your tastebuds am I right?!?!?

Haha, I know it doesn't look very appetizing but once lightly baked in the oven, these turn out to be THE most amazing veggie burgers ever. The recipe:
- 4 c. diced red pepper
- 2 c. diced celery
- 2/3 c. diced onion
- 4 c. sunflower seeds, ground (I used my spice/nut grinder but a FP would work too)
- 3 c. flax meal
- salt, pepper, oregano to taste
- 2 c. water This made WAY more than I planned.... so I ended up forming them into patties, layering them between foil and froze the majority of them for later. It took awhile to chop all these veggies and to form the patty shapes but it will be worth it later - these are awesome topped with some fresh tomato and avocado, but you could also throw them on a bun and doctor them up with your favorite burger toppings!
I needed a sweet snack, soooo I grabbed this guy. It didn't really strike my fancy - pretty much like the Cocoa Mole flavor but minus the chili powder, it was pretty dry and not chocolatey enough. I'll give it a B-

Still feeling snacky, this one came next......... at first I didn't care for this either - it wasn't what I expected, it was very very hard and crunchy. I typically go for more of the chewy, moist Larabar texture. However, after awhile I started to like it more! It's not something I would buy for myself, but it did keep me full for quite a while and has great, simple nutritional stats. Rating: B
I bought these "cheeses" today after hearing about how great this brand is from Hungry Hungry Hippie, who raves about one of the flavors but I forgot which one....
A couple weeks ago Mike and I finally went to the Chicago Diner, which sounds like nothing special but the name is very misleading - this is no mom and pop joint!!! Everything we ordered was FABULOUS. One of the menu items I tried was a vegan sweet potato quesadilla, which I attempted to recreate here.
It was actually really good - I need to experiment with the flavors, it was definitely lacking something (I didn't have any ripe avocados or I would have made some guac to top it with) - but the vegan cheese was actually a bit heavy for me. I think I just prefer salads most of the time! Which is why I had a light tomato salad on the side, which hit the spot.
Then, Mike and I went to watch the biweekly fireworks at Navy Pier. It was a lot of fun! It's hard to tell from the picture, but this is taken from right in front of the planetarium and it is one of the most beautiful places to look at the Chicago skyline. Maybe once I get my act together and figure out how my camera works for once, I can take a video of it and post it on here ;)

Me bloggin away.....
Did you all here the "big news story" today about how tanning beds were recently moved into the "top risk category" in terms of being definite causes of cancer? This is nothing new, we ALL know tanning is bad for us, but it still was disconcerting to think about. My first thought was that I wanted to immediately go eat a ton of veggies and antioxidants to ward off the the scary cancer...
Although I knew better at the time, I was a frequent, frequent tanning addict during high school and into college. I'm actually really ashamed to think about my stupidity and ignorance, and I know that I did a ton of damage to my skin and I can only hope that I stopped in enough time.
What really irks me is not this news story, but the fact that SO many people still do not understand the importance of sun protection. When I'm out in the sun for longer than 5 minutes I will almost always try to apply my Neutrogena spray 70SPF - this stuff is awesome because it is sweatproof and while they spray bottle is super easy and non-goopy, it really WORKS!!
However, regardless of who I am with, I am usually the only person that cares enough to wear sunscreen. Guys, I totally understand that most people think they look better with a bit of color (I know I do!), but all it takes is a bit of fake tanner to take care of that safely.
Even more disturbingly, I just read a study today from a Canadian-based tanning bed company who actually said that "If you're to take skin type 1 and 2 out of the equation, those being [people] with red hair and blue eyes and then reddish brown and brown eyes — if you take those out of the data — the number pretty much goes to zero in terms of the risk of a tanning bed as a carcinogen" - WHAT?!?!?!
I'm sorry, but I think of myself as bright and educated and if I knew the dangers of tanning and did it anyway, teens who hear this type of misinformation will certainly have no qualms about subjecting themself to carcinegenic tanning beds.
Sorry to rant and rave about this, but it makes me sad that people, mostly younger girls I assume, haven't learned the lessons of people my age and I wish I could get the message out to them so they could learn from my mistakes. I have done irreversible damage to myself and I have premature wrinkles that I should NOT have as I am only in my mid-2os!!
Did you go tanning as a teen - or do you still today? How do you think we can get the message out that this is serious business???
Gratitude Journal:
1. Great spinning class today!
2. I spent all day cooking, which is my favorite thing to do all day.. I would do this more often if food was free, if only I could be someone's personal chef...
3. Fun time watching the fireworks and admiring the wonders of our city with my wonderful husband


  1. I've never been to a tanning salon. Jeff makes fun of me when I put sunblock on to go outside for ten minutes or when it's cloudy. I just ignore it! My friend Dara and I went to the beach a few weeks back and she decided to do an experiment and not put sunblock on because she wanted to get tan. I told her it was stupid idea and she realized that after every inch of her body was badly burned.

    When people ignore the warnings about faking tanning it reminds me of how many people still smoke even though they know it kills you!

  2. Wow that stroy is scary. I never went to tanning beds in high school, but being a runner I know I'm also at high risk so I put a lot of sunscreen on before running everyday! My mom had skin cancer recently so I know it's possible because she's a runner too!