Library Date Night

Free & Fun Library Date NightOne of the most important parts of my marriage is having regular date nights. We learned very early on that if we weren’t intentional about spending quality time with one another, and continuing to ‘date’ each other (anyone who knows our story knows how funny that is), we would quickly find ourselves spinning into miscommunication and not loving one another well.

Though out hectic schedules don’t allow for us to have one regular, sacred date night per week (if yours does, luck you!), we do try to have a special date night every week, or at least every other. Usually this involves some type of coupon or gift card for dinner and then watching a movie at home. This week, however, I stumbled across some ‘date night idea’ blogs on Pinterest, and they inspired a super fun night out for us!

I will fully admit that this date was very much created to the tune of this blog post from Singing Through The Rain, which was inspired by this post from The Dating Divas. All this to say, it’s clearly an awesome idea, but the general concept of it definitely isn’t mine, so go explore those blogs and get some fun date night ideas of your own!

Matt and I had dinner (with a gift card haha) and then ran some errands before ending up at our local library, just down the street from our apartment. I had prepared several cards that each had a few ‘tasks’ on them, like these:

-Find a recipe you want to make for your spouse
-Find your favorite childhood book
-Find a book that details your dream vacation
-Find a joke book that your spouse will think is funny
-Find a movie that your spouse will want to watch tonight
-Find a CD that your spouse will be excited about
-Find a magazine that you think your spouse would like a subscription to
-Find a poem that describes the current state of your relationship
-Find a book on a subject that your spouse would like to learn more about
-Wildcard: give your spouse an assignment, and they give you one back

I made two of each card, so we were always searching for the same things. When we found what we needed on each card, we would meet back in a corner with some armchairs and share what we had chosen for one another- in detail! We read our childhood favorite books to each other, shared our poems (which were tear-inducing, darn hormones), critiqued one another’s vacations, and told jokes to each other. I learned things about Matt that I didn’t know before, and I think the same went for him!

On the whole, this provided us with several hours of fun, good conversation, and didn’t cost us a penny. I highly recommend it! This would also be fun to do in a bookstore, where you could chat over a latte and probably have more of a book selection. This just worked well for us 🙂

Do you have a creative date night idea you’d like to share? Email me at karli.feedmemama@gmail.com!

Foods You Never Knew You Liked: Nutritional Yeast

This week’s feature food is not exactly a food, but might be more accurately described as a seasoning.  Nutritional- or, sometimes referred to as ‘brewer’s’- yeast is a staple for most vegetarian and vegan kitchens, and is about to become one of yours, too.

I was first introduced to this gem by a veg friend who used it on popcorn and in stir-fry.  She told me that she used it to boost her protein and B-vitamin levels.  She was right, too- not only is nutritional yeast very high in protein, but it contains amazing amounts of B-vitamins, particularly the sought-after B12.  It also contains a healthy dose of fiber- and, let’s be honest, we can all use a little more fiber in our diet!  Boasting all of these wonderful benefits, I had to give it a shot.

I bought a small bag of the off-yellow flakes from the bulk section at Whole Foods to give it a whirl, and soon found myself putting it on everything.  Seriously, this stuff is delicious.  I don’t know what it is about the taste, but I think that a sprinkle of nutritional yeast makes everything taste like heaven.  My favorite use for the seasoning is on my eggs in the morning, with a little sprinkle of grey rock salt and fresh pepper.  I have even been known to take a tiny Tupperware container of it with me when I travel or visit friends for a day or so.  I have a serious love affair!  Here are some other ideas for your new best friend:

Sprinkle on popcorn or pizza

Mix into green juice, smoothies, or a tomato juice drink

Fold into flour and breadcrumbs for a tasty breading

Toss whole grain noodles with olive oil and yeast

Stir into gravies and sauces

Puree with nuts and a little water to make a raw, vegan ‘cheese’

Sprinkle some on brown rice

Season eggs in the morning

The possibilities are endless, really.  Send me your creations!  You can buy nutritional yeast at your local health food store- if you’re lucky, maybe you can get the shaker container that Red Star and Bragg’s make!  Yum!

Staying Healthy on the Road: Tips for Traveling and Eating Well

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part of our travel route home tonight

Two weeks ago, I embarked on a two week journey with my husband and our close friends a the band, Willet, toured around the Midwestern US. At first, this was a difficult transition for me- I love to cook, and really value being in control of my diet and activity level. Being limited with food options, prearranged lodging, and long days got to me, but I quickly realized that I needed to let go of my control and embrace the opportunity. I could still be in control of my body, I just needed to be intentional and careful! So, with that in mind, I want to share some of my lessons learned from my first two weeks on tour:

-It is easy to eat mindlessly, and calories add up faster than you think. While, on the whole, I think that counting calories is a bad idea, I do think that having an idea of what your body needs and being mindful of what you are putting into your body is necessary for everyone. A few days into the trip a few of us downloaded a calorie counting app to aid in that process, which was eye-opening for everyone. We have to think about what our body needs, and what it doesn’t need, and eat accordingly. Which brings me to my next point…

-It is really important to stay true to a whole foods diet as much as possible. Traveling make us especially susceptible to fatigue, illness, adrenal exhaustion, among other things. Processed foods and increased caffeine intake can completely wipe out our immune system, while whole foods can make it stronger and better able to face the challenges of travel.

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we we thankful for a green room with a fruit platter

-Hydration is key, even if it means that you stop to pee more often. Drinking water helps the body naturally detoxify, and the more often you are doing that, the better. Hydrating also makes sure that basic body processes are functioning at optimum level, and maintains an even energy level. Not drinking water just isn’t a good idea.

-Fast food will always be terrible, but anywhere you go, there are at least a few good options, like salads or yogurt parfaits. My personal favorite is Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad-the half portion makes a great meal by itself. Gas stations almost always have a healthy food selection of granola, trail mix, protein bars, fruit, or yogurt. It’s all about willpower.

-You have to be prepared. I hardly ever take conventional medicine, but I use medicinal teas and essential oils frequently. Before leaving, I packed a small bag with a few of my most common remedies, and I was able to continue to avoid conventional meds because I was prepared when I needed something. Sleepless nights were taken care of with lavender oil and chamomile tea, sinuses with eucalyptus, anxiety with kava root tea, and cramps with raspberry leaf tea. There’s something for everything, if you are willing to try!

-Exercise can make or break a trip. I started focusing on doing daily cardio about halfway through my trip and I noticed a by difference in my mood and energy level because of it. I aimed for 30-45min of cardio, and 10-15min of concentrated strength sequences per day. It’s fun to mix it up, too- running in new places, swimming laps at a pool, trying a new class at a gym.

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a pretty stop: st louis, mo

Next week we begin the first leg of a two month tour- and I am sure there will be more lessons to learn! What are your favorite ways to stay healthy when traveling? <