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Tricking yourself into eating healthy..

For those of you who know me, you know that I typically:

  • enjoy exercising 
  • love juicing on a regular basis
  • try to keep the ingredients I can't pronounce out of my food (eat real food)
For those of you who really know me, you know that I used to live off of big macs, ramen noodles, cereal and toast. I started changing my eating habits when I started learning about what's really in our food, and how this affects our bodies.  Then I realized that I buy the groceries--thus I am responsible for what Ben fuels his body with, and one day I'll be responsible for what my children put in their bodies! That is a lot of pressure!! And thus, the juicing/cleaning my diet began.
Welllllllllll, let me just tell you that I was super pleased with my eating habits before I was pregnant--I was able to eat healthy and still eat yummy, flavorful food, and even still have sweets as long as I made them.  I felt amazing, energized, healthy, and clean.  And of course we believe in balance, so 'cheating' every now and then was certainly allowed.  Once I found out I was pregnant, I was confident that I would be nurturing my growing baby with only the best foods.......and. then. came. morning/afternoon/night sickness.
It has been crazy hard to eat healthy during this pregnancy. Grocery stores, the kitchen, my refrigerator, vegetables, healthy food...all of the above makes this pregnant lady run for the bathroom. 
So anyways.  If I want to eat healthy, I have to trick myself.  I probably won't be able to drink a healthy vegetable juice for a while....but I can still eat some veggies if I hide them in a delicious sandwich like the one above.
I was so nervous to try this amazing sandwich that I loved pre-pregnancy. But it turned out that the hummus-veggie sandwich was a success--and any time I need to trick myself into eating veggies, I can put one of these together and guiltlessly fill my tummy.

Hummus-Veggie Sandwich
Adapted from Coastal Living magazine

  • 4 slices bread (we use Ezekiel sprouted bread)
  • 2/3 cup hummus (easy recipe here)
  • 1/2 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup baby arugula
  • 2 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup broccoli or alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Spread hummus on 1 side of all 4 slices of bread.
  2. On 2 slices, layer bell pepper and arugula.
  3. On 2 remaining slices, layer radishes and sprouts.
  4. Stir together lemon juice and olive oil, drizzle over vegetables.
  5. Combine sandwich halves.


What date night looks like at 11 weeks..

Remember this post? Remember how excited I was about date night? 
Well now that ya'll know about the plum sized baby growing in my belly, I would like to share a little insight on what date night looks like when you're 11 weeks pregnant.
Wake up to the alarm going off and Ben talking to my belly (apologizing for my awkwardness--promising that I "will get better"), to which I respond, "why are you talking to my belly?!" 
We both get ready for work, I start my morning routine of "how many times am I going to reapply my makeup this morning" because of unrelenting morning sickness.  My body finally decides that there is nothing left--nope, no nutrients from breakfast were absorbed--not even any more neon colors (TMI?) that look like a bright green gatorade I drank 4 years ago, and I can finally reapply my makeup for the last time.  I type up a quick "date-night" blog post, get excited about finally doing something other than sleeping on a Friday night, and head out the door to work.

Fast forward 8 hours, I head home from another fabulous day of serving those who serve our country, and prepare/await for Ben to come home and a night on the town.
As feelings of nausea and exhaustion start creeping into my body, I finally get the call that Ben is on his way home, a little later than expected, and I convince myself that I have the energy for date night!
By the time Ben walks in the door, I'm already curled up in a ball with a blanket on the couch.  I look at Ben with big, sad eyes and say, "I'm so sorry I don't think I'm going to make it out of the house for date night.  But maybe we can get pizza and just watch a movie?" Of course Ben understands, and he calls the only semi-decent pizza place we know of in the area to ask if they can custom make a bbq chicken pizza, the only thing in my mind that will make me feel better.  They can! And they will! So right before Ben heads out, I get another idea--what if the coffee shop downtown is by chance also selling my favorite veggie sandwich--then I could have a few pieces of pizza and half of the sandwich and everything in the world would be okay again.  He calls, and they do have my sandwich, so off Ben goes to save the day and be my hero, yet again.
About 45 minutes later, Ben returns home with the two things that I know will finally make me feel better.  He walks into the kitchen and immedately says, "Babe--do not come in here" which I reply, "Are there onions?!" Turns out it was worse.  The pizza was covered in bacon bits.  Covered! 
Okay now this is where it gets weird.
The disappointment is too much for me to handle and the tears won't stop coming.  Ben runs in the room to comfort me, and through my blubbering I manage to cry, "I just wanted bbq chicken pizza!!!"  So Ben offers to heat up the veggie sandwich from the coffee shop and I stifle my tears and thank him.  One bite into the sandwich, just as I can start to feel my hunger pains going away, we remember that the Dr. mentioned pregnant women need to stay away from soft cheese.  My favorite part of this sandwich is the goat cheese smeared all over the bread.
Aaannnd the tears come back!! As I'm crying "What am I supposed to eat now?!" Ben is frantically googling whether or not I can eat goat cheese, and since we were unsure of whether or not it was made with pasteurized milk, we decide I should stay away from it.  At this point I really believe I might die of starvation.  I decide that cereal will have to do for my Friday night date-night meal, and Ben gladly makes me a big bowl of cereal.  

And that, folks, is how this pregnant momma-to-be had an emotional breakdown over bacon bits on a bbq chicken pizza.

I should say that since then, which is exactly 1 week ago, Ben has made 3 homemade bbq chicken pizzas for me. With homemade bbq sauce.  And tons of cilantro.  Just the way I like it.
My camera phone does not do this pizza justice!


Caution: If cute cuddly cats concern you, steer clear from clicking..

Happy Monday!
Hope everyone has a pawsitively purrfect day!

I realize that a few subscribers might have just hit 'unsubscribe'---what a catastrophe!!


My first nomination!

It is true! I've been nominated for a blog award by the lovely Jennifer from  She is a super cute, talented, and sweet gal--go check her out!
Here are the rules:
  • List 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
  • Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
  • Go to each blogger's page and let them know about the award.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
So here goes!
11 random facts about me:
  1. My nickname used to be "beanpole Nicole" are not very nice!! 
  2. Ben and I went on a 19 day honeymoon.  It was absolutely amazing.
  3. I'm 25% Polish, 25% German, and 50% Punjabi Indian.
  4. We rescued our two cats from the streets of Okinawa.
  5. Ben and I had never lived in the same city until we were married....and spent more time on separate continents than on the same one (hence the 19 day honeymoon)!
  6. I have never been a girly-girl.  I've always liked blue more than pink.  I was the biggest tomboy growing up.
  7. I loooooooooove hot weather.  Would way rather be hot than cold.
  8. I love the outdoors--which is one of the reasons why I was head-over-heels in love with Okinawa when we lived there.  We would go on an adventure almost every weekend--there was so much to see! To see some of my life while I was there, check out my posts from 2009 and 2010.
  9. I would be so happy to move back to Okinawa one day.
  10. I never looked at ring pictures, or made hints to Ben about rings, or even had any idea that we would be getting engaged.  I love that everything was a huge surprise and that Ben picked out the ring 100% on his own (with the help of a Marine)...thanks Jack Bernardo for that help!
  11. I was given my dream wedding dress for free through Brides Across America--and my mom and I even made the news! If I would have known the news was going to be there I might not have gone in a t-shirt and no make-up!! I then donated my dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer. 
Jennifer's 11 questions for me:
1. If you could meet any actor/actress/person from the past who would it be?
This is a really tough one!! If I could meet absolutely aaannnyone from the past, I would have to meet Jesus--how amazing would that be?!

2. What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? 
outgoing, positive, loyal

3. What did you want to be when you grew up? 
I've always known I wanted to be a teacher! :)

4. Do you like coffee or tea better?
Definitely tea!! LOVE tea.

5. If you had one day all to yourself, how would you spend it?
Spa day. Reading.

6. What is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to you?
All of the things Ben said to me before he proposed, and then the proposal, and his vows (which I carry in my wallet!) pretty much went like this, "mush mush mushhhy mush"

7. If you could hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you go?
Aitutaki, Cook Islands, NZ!!!

8. What is your current favorite song?
Waiting Here for You--Christy Nockels

9. How old were you when you learned to read?
Not exactly sure--but I do remember being SO excited when I could read full pages of Dr. Seuss "Green Eggs and Ham" and asking everyone in my house to listen to me read them!

10. Do you play any instruments?
Sadly no. But I did play the saxophone in jr. high!

11. How would you describe your life right now?
Full of surprises--always in transition while still enjoying the moment! 

Here are my questions for my nominees to answer:
  1. Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
  2. What's your most embarassing moment?
  3. What is one of your proudest moments?
  4. Do you have any obsessions?
  5. Favorite date night idea?
  6. If you won $1,000 and had to spend it in a day, how would you spend it?
  7. What are 3 positive qualities about yourself?
  8. What is 1 thing that you love about your spouse/significant other/or hope to find in a significant other (if you're single)?
  9. Favorite ice cream?
  10. What is your New Year's Resolution?
  11. What is your dream job? Why?
And finally--here are my nominees:
Gratefully Inspired
The Law Student's Wife
Simply B
Faith Love & Babies
Love & Loyally, JMG
Simply Summer
Lulu Mom
Entirely My Own
Coffee and Quinoa
Nicole in the Making
A Colorful Reality

Be sure to check out all these awesome bloggers. I'm excited to start following them--because no, I don't even have 11 'blogger' friends and had to find most of these blogs through other blogs...basically it was just a lot of clicking!! But I'll get there one day! You'll see.  :)


It's here!

The below picture is how I feel when I remember that it's Friday date night.  My favorite night of the week!!  Ready to take on the world!

Happy Friday everyone!!


Are you laughing yet?

I usually don't pass along those forward emails.  Just not my thing. 
But I thought this one was too good not to share. 

The  following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS  Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I don't like getting pushed around for being a  Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for  being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no  idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat...

Or maybe I  can put it another way: Where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God  as we understand Him?  I guess that's a sign that I'm  getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are  wondering where these celebrities came from and where the  America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it's not  funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings,  etc..  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she  was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then  someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said  okay.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our  children when they misbehave, because their little personalities  would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr.  Spock's son committed suicide).  We said an expert should  know what he's talking about.  And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and  themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard  enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal  to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but  question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when  you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think  twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and  obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet? 


Can you beat this start to 2013??

Ben and I had an awesome Christmas/New Year's vacation. And now, as I am sure all of you are feeling this way as well, it is back to the grind. Well at work, at least....
I don't know about you, but I still haven't been to the grocery store since we've been back from the holidays.  I'm trying to see how long I can go without having to show my face there--don't think Ben is too pleased about that, but I'm perfectly fine with eating toast for breakfast, cereal for dinner (Ben made an emergency run for milk/bread/eggs) and pb&j's for lunch!!  :)
Besides being lazy, some other things I've been really good at in 2013 are: cuddling with my cats, eating trinidads/mint meltaways from Fannie May (cool points for you if you know what that is), going 3 days straight without a shower (I'm so sorry coworkers...), and looking at pictures from our honeymoon. 
Pretty fantastic start to the new year, right?!  I think so. 
One of the things that I always look forward to when I go back home is getting together with my friends who are still in the chi-town area, or are home for the holidays.  And what better way to catch up than over some cheesy, saucy, crunchy-crust amazingly yummy pizza?! 
Just see for yourself...

The third best pizza in the world--Giordano's!! First is our homemade bbq chx pizza, and second is Phil's (hometown classic). 

Still figuring out that focus!!
I wasn't kidding about the cuddling with the cats....
Our fabulous New Year's meal!

The chef and sister.