Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunday Prep Work + a Book Review

As I mentioned before, planning and being organized are two huge things that help me eat healthy throughout the week.  When I have classes and am busy with reading and assignments, my time is very limited when it comes to preparing meals.  It can be tempting to eat a lot of junk food or buy lunch somewhere because it's convenient, so to avoid that I try to do some prep work ahead of time, and always have healthy snacks with me.

Sundays seem to be a good day for me to spend some time in the kitchen prepping food for the week.  Yesterday I made a few things to have on hand.

I cooked a pot of couscous which I'll put on salads.  I love adding grains to salads to make them more filling, and I think the texture adds a great dynamic.

Sidenote - I'm so in love with this trivet from Le Creuset that I got as a Christmas present!  My dream is to have a kitchen filled with Le Creuset cookware one day, but until then, I'll get my fix where I can :)

I also hard-boiled a few eggs.  They're a great source of protein and also very filling.  I'll add one to a salad or a sandwich, or just eat one plain for a snack.

The couscous and hard-boiled eggs will be perfect for some salad beasts like this:

I already had a salad beast for lunch today!

I made some seed and raisin balls to have for snacks on-the-go; they are really so addicting, I can't get enough of them!

While I had my food processor out, I figured I'd make some amazeballz, too.  This time I made the blueberry-lemon flavor, but I just used bottled lemon juice instead of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.

I've been wanting to drink more green tea lately, but I tend to only drink hot tea right before I go to bed, and most of the green tea that I have contains caffeine.  So as the weather is (slightly) warming up, I figured it was a good time to make iced tea, which I'm more likely to drink earlier in the day.  I added 9 tea bags (6 lemon green tea, 3 mint green tea) to 6 cups of cold water, and put it in the fridge overnight.

And it turned into iced tea!  Magical.  Couldn't be much easier than that.  I read that you can let the tea bags steep in the fridge for 24 - 36 hours, so I'll remove them tonight.

All of that prep work will make it much easier for me to make healthy meals and snacks throughout the week - definitely worth the effort (and dirty dishes), in my opinion.

I've been absolutely craving mushrooms and spinach lately (I guess my body needs antioxidants?!) so I decided to incorporate them into my brunch yesterday.

I sauteed some mushrooms and spinach and then added two scrambled eggs to the skillet.  On the side:  sliced strawberries and banana, and a cup of coffee (with a splash of almond milk and cinnamon added - so good!).

My dad has one of those single-serve coffee makers which automatically makes some froth on top (without any milk or anything!).  Love it.
As if I'm not already obsessed with cinnamon enough, I've found that it's delicious added to coffee.  Awhile ago, my aunt told me to add cinnamon right to the grounds when you're brewing coffee, and then recently one of my friends added cinnamon to his cup of coffee at Starbucks (so that's why they have those little shakers of cinnamon by the milk pitchers...).  I finally decided to give it a shot - and it's amazing!!  I've never liked to add sweetener to my coffee (unless it's iced), but cinnamon is a wonderful and healthy way to switch it up a bit.

Book review:

This month I participated in Peanut Butter Fingers' book club and read The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain.  I wasn't sure if I would actually have time to read the book, but it was definitely a page-turner and ended up not taking very long to read (plus was WAY more enjoyable than reading casebooks for school).

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
Description from the back of the book:  "In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared.  Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder.  But there is no sign of the unborn child.

CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there.  And she knows what happened to her missing infant, because two decade ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own.  Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make.  Tell the truth and destroy her family.  Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies."

I was a little taken aback by the first line of the book: "She couldn't concentrate on making love."  Now I've read a few romance novels in my time, but I had the idea that this was more of a mystery book than a lurid romance novel.  However, I think the opening line is misleading - it really is more of a suspense book than anything else.

The story spans a period of many years - from 1977 to 2004.  The first few pages are set in 2004, then the story really starts in 1977.  Personally, having an ending ruined is one of my biggest pet peeves ever.  (I cried a little when someone ruined part of the 7th Harry Potter book for me.)  So I actually wish the first few pages weren't in the book - they don't give away the entire ending, but they foreshadow a lot and allow you to "crack" part of the mystery pretty early on.

One of the characters, Corinne, really got under my skin near the end of the book.  I was getting a little frustrated because I just could not relate to or empathize with her.  But in the end, the character began to evolve and I found her to be a lot less annoying and much more sympathetic.

What I loved about the book: it really drew me in and held my attention.  It's been a long time since I've read a book that I could not put down - I even took an entire Saturday morning (and a little of the afternoon) to finish reading it.  Luxury!  There's nothing quite like losing yourself in a good book.  I also really liked the many different family dynamics in the book.  There are tons of different types of families, relationships, and bonds formed throughout the novel, and many tear-jerker moments for me.  (But I'm also a sap.)

Overall, I thought it was a great story and really enjoyed reading it.  I would definitely recommend this book if you're looking for an intriguing story that 'll suck you in.  It's a fairly easy and quick read, but as a heads up, I would say that it's not a light-hearted, feel-good kind of story.

Okay, I think that's long enough for today :)  I hope everyone had an awesome weekend!

Oh yeah, one last thing - grow, plants, grow!!

Song of the day:

"Skyscrapers" by OK Go.  I've already featured an OK Go song on here before, but since they're one of my favorite bands, I figured I would go ahead and share another one.  I think that "Skyscrapers" is one of the best songs from this album (Of the Blue Colour of the Sky) and OK Go just released a music video for it.  Although I wish it featured Damian (the lead singer), the music video is still pretty sweet, even without him.  The woman in the video is Trish Sie, Damian's sister, who has helped to choreograph a lot of their other music videos.  Hope you like it!


  1. I am such a huge fan of hardboiled eggs...I have at least one organic egg daily...and I LOVE it!

    1. I agree - they're such a quick, healthy option!

  2. I love cooking with grains in salads - it makes them so much more filling, and yummy!

    1. I agree - adding grains is what convinced me that I could eat a salad for a meal and really be satisfied!

  3. Hi - i just found your blog, can't wait to read more! I read the book for PB Fingers book club too. I couldn't put it down!

    1. Hi! Yes, that book really had me hooked - it was my first time participating in the PBF book club and was definitely worth it. Can't wait for the next book club pick! Thanks for reading :)