Day 3 – Mini vacation challenge

Day 3, Friday was supposed to be Disney day. But we never went to Disney. Orly had seen a huge pirate ship in a magazine at the hotel and was desperate to go to it. When we inquired we found out that it was Disney Quest in Downtown Disney that had that pirate activity. Being that we weren’t planning to be at Disney for many hours in the first place, we opted for Downtown Disney instead.
Breakfast was the typical continental breakfast offered at most hotels – an array of frozen pancakes, waffles, muffins, doughnuts, bread, and cereals…. oh and some hard boiled eggs and oranges. The boys had some raisin bran cereal, a muffin, and hard boiled eggs.

I had coffee, hard boiled eggs, an orange, and a muffin. Not very satisfying, and on we went.

At Downtown Disney I would like to report that I found 1 healthier alternative restaurant – Fresh A Peel. They served salads and smoothies, and all-natural burgers (doesn’t mean grassfed or organic so beware). But to be honest, I was more intrigued by Fulton’s crab house. The thought of some nice, hot seafood was way more attractive to me than another chicken salad. At Fulton’s we ordered mussels, a lobster bisque, and a seared ahi tuna salad. The food was way overpriced and nothing out of this world, but it seemed like the best alternative for what we wanted.

The Tuna Salad was pretty good. Had avocados and hard boiled eggs, and decent greens.


The Lobster Bisque was tasty but had very little lobster. Orlando found it delicious, but I found it had too strong a tomato flavor.



The sauce of the mussels was delicious but we would not order this app again. There wasn’t enough mussels to warrant ordering it.





Disney Quest took up a large chunk of the day – it is a cool place!!!!! so we decided to stay one more night at the hotel just to avoid driving too tired that evening.

Dinner – Pizzeria Uno. Here’s a cool surprise. Pizzeria Uno has a gluten free menu! We always like to have one pizza night on vacation and it was great to be able to enjoy a gluten free pizza.

We ordered a mushroom cheese pizza, and a broccoli, fig and goat cheese pizza with a balsamic glaze.

It was weird because it was a thin crust, and gluten free and yet the pizza crust felt doughy. I expected it to be a lot crispier. The upside, however, was that the ingredients were good and at the end of the pizza we did not get that full, bloated feeling that one normally gets when they stuff their face with pizza!

Interesting note: My kids loooove vegetables and eat them without the need for hiding them in the food. However, they seem to always reject vegetables in their pizza! They ate it, but it took some coercing. Both of them said no to the veggies initially.  My point is, don’t let one experience fool you. Kids will always surprise you. You may never get them to eat broccoli in their pizza but they’ll love it with some sweet potato. Keep introducing the veggies. Something will stick!

Day 2 – mini vacation challenge

Day 2, Thursday, was particularly difficult for me. We were told we had to be at the Kennedy badging center at 7:15am, so I left Orlando and boys sleeping at the hotel at 6:45am and left with my dad and Aisha. Now I have attended hundreds of conferences with my father.

Breakfast, or at the very least, coffee is always provided. Not today!!!!!! I asked the coordinator if they would be offering coffee and breakfast (I thought maybe I could have some fruit), but the lady told me the only thing they were offering was water. I panicked. Here I am 4 1/2 months pregnant, starving, and no prospect of food until noon. All there was was a vending machine with sodas and another with Chips. If i were not pregnant i think I would’ve fasted, but pregnant, I had to eat something!!!! So I opted for an oats n honey granola bar from the vending machine. Once inside the facility, these people woke up and realized everyone was expecting at least a cup of coffee so they finally made some available.

Noon– I’m starving again! We are taken to a room where lunch is provided. I didn’t know this but the speakers were asked to pick from some menu choices prior to today for themselves and their guests. There were 15 meal boxes. 3 of them were asian chicken salad, the other 12 were turkey or ham sandwiches with chips. My dad ordered me a turkey sandwich. I was so hungry and I sit in front of my meal box and I have turkey and cheese, lettuce and tomato on a croissant, with cheetos, apple slices and 2 cookies -sugar and chocolate chip. I noticed one little lonely box left at the table and I ask the coordinator about it – she said one of the guests didn’t make it and it was left over. I was excited. It was a salad. I open my box and there is iceberg lettuce with chicken, those crispy chicken noodles, stacys pita chips, apple slices, and 2 cookies. The salad was….well… the reason 13 people opted for sandwiches!!!!! The salad had more lettuce than anything else and it tasted like water. there were a few strips of chicken i spotted a couple of shredded carrots, radish and celery and a ton of those crispy noodles. Yet another meal that was unsatisfying. I ended up eating half of the turkey sandwich and the salad just to fill myself up.



 At the kennedy space center there were no better options and when I finally go to the visitor’s complex with my husband and kids, we were soooooo hot and needed something refreshing. I saw one place sold ice cream and “natural fruit smoothies” I was thrilled!!!! I went and saw they had mango and strawberry and some other flavors. But I had to ask….what was in the smoothies. They told me they buy fruit purees that have sugar added already in order to make the smoothie. I really, really don’t understand why they couldn’t just buy the frozen fruit with no sugar added and add it if someone really wants it!!! At this point, I was done. There is no point in getting a mango smoothie that has all the sugar from the mango plus a ton of sugar on top. I really feel like its no better than having a little ice cream cone and the smoothie is twice the size. So I opted for a soft serve ice cream cone. vanilla and chocolate swirl and I enjoyed it! I was sick of trying to opt for healthier alternatives that are not much healthier!

Dinner- for dinner we chose Applebees. This is a safe place for us. Its a great price and we know from experience their vegetables are cooked deliciously. I was hungry and unsatisfied from a day of yucky food! So I wanted to EAT!!  We ordered a grilled chicken and veggies for boys. I ordered a garlic sirloin steak, with a side of creamed spinach, portabello mushroom, onions and garlic mashed potatoes. My meal was on the 550 calories or less menu. The food was delicious. Orlando also ordered a steak but with a side of broccoli instead of the mash. Funny story, when the waiter arrived with the broccoli, Orly, my 4 year old son, screeched “Broccoli, my favorite, yay!!!” The waiter looked at said, “wow thats’s rare!” We got a huge side of broccoli so the four of us were able to have some. I can’t tell you how nice it felt to eat this meal after all the garbage we’d eaten for the last day and a half. Finally, we made a good choice.

I did make one more sugary exception for the day! My father ordered a triple chocolate lava cake with vanilla. I couldn’t pass up 2 spoonfuls! Hey, we’re on vacation!

Friday is Disney World, sans cooler…oh how will it go?????


Day 1 – mini vacation eating challenge

So Wednesday night we hit the road at 6:45pm with no snacks or veggie tray 🙁

We got on the turnpike and at about 8pm decided to stop at a service plaza because the boys were still awake and hungry. There were 3 options: Wendy’s, pizza hit and dunkin donuts. Pizza hut was closed. We chose Wendys and thought, we could get baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese, a side of chill, and a grilled chicken sandwich for the boys and give them the the grilled chicken with the potato. When we ordered at the service plaza, we were told that there was only one baked potato at the store. One baked potato. That’s it. We ordered it and instead opted for salads for ourselves with grilled chicken. But when we asked for the grilled chicken sandwich and the grilled chicken on our salads, we were told that we would have to wait 10 minutes because the grilled chicken had to be prepared.

They had plenty of french fries and the crispy fried chicken readily available but what not the healthier alternatives…. This made me realize that its not entirely Wendy’s fault. They don’t prepare it because there is no demand for it. They couldn’t dream of running low on french fries but the baked potatoes are less popular.

We ended up getting 1 baked potato, broccoli and cheese, a side of chill, 2 salads, and the grilled chicken for the boys.

The truth is we weren’t satisfied with our meal. We’re not used to the greens from the salad we ate…We like the dark greens. The options for salad dressing make the salad super sugary, instead of the olive oil and vinegar we’re used to. The cheese on the broccoli was obviously processed and gross and they put like 4 little stems of broccoli in there. The kids loved it though. The chili was ok.

The experience made me regret not having taken some prepared food in the car to have, or even some sandwiches on ezekiel bread. We tried to opt for the “healthiest” alternatives they had at wendys but really i’m not sure how much better we ate. I think the next time I do Wendy’s I would skip the salads all together and order a grilled chicken sandwich with no fries. And hope they have more baked potatoes because the grilled chicken sandwich would not fill me up!!!!! I eat healthy but I eat a lot!!!!!



Can we be poor planners, but healthy eaters?

For the last year, our commitment to eating healthy has been such that we have planned our meals even when on vacation. (we took a cooler to disney world!)

But most people don’t want to plan so much. Our culture has become fast paced and spontaneous. People don’t want to take their coolers to Disney. We want easy, we want convenient, and we want fast.

Orlando and I are dealing with this precise issue this weekend. Last night we got in the car to drive to Cape Canaveral for my father’s speech at NASA. My dad told us about it a couple of weeks ago and told us to make a mini vacation out of it. But the truth is that we put off the mini vacation until the last minute. Between school starting for the boys, work schedules, working on this blog, and all the other commitments we have… We even forgot we were leaving on wednesday evening.
So yesterday after a full day of work and school, I packed some quick bags at 5 pm and got in the car at 6:45pm. Quite spontaneous!!! As soon as we hit the road the famous question surfaced… What are we going to eat when we get hungry??? For the first time in a long time we had no plan.

I guess this is a good experience for us because it is what most people go through. People pack their tooth brushes, clothes, and phone chargers… But people don’t pack their food. So from now until Monday I will blog about what we are eating and how we are managing to stay as healthy as possible during this spontaneous, poorly planned vacation. This will be an interesting challenge. Wish us luck!!!!!!

Spicy Quinoa Kimchi Fried Rice

healthy alternative to fried rice

healthy alternative to fried rice

What we used:

  • 3 cups Quinoa
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables (stir fry mix) chopped
  • 1 fried egg per serving
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 3/4 of a bottle of kimchi
  • (reserve some of the liquid from the kimchi)
  • 1/2 onion
  • Sauce – 2tbsp liquid aminos, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, dash of red pepper flake – mix well (add to taste, we probably used 1/4 of what we made)

I’m reading a new fascinating book “The Body Ecology Diet” and I’ve discovered the benefits of cultured vegetables. Cultured vegetables are vegetables that are left to “ferment” in an air tight container for several days allowing healthy bacteria to form. During this fermentation period, the friendly bacteria reproduces and converts sugars and starches to lactic acid.

They become rich in lactobacilli (what we know as “probiotics”) and enzyme, vitamins A, B, and C and turn into an alkaline-forming food. In English, this basically means it is a food for health and longevity!!!!!

Among the benefits listed for cultured vegetables are:

  • Help re-establish a healthy inner ecosystem.
  • Great for weight loss
  • Improve digestion
  • Help eliminate sugar cravings!!!!!
  • Help cleanse your system
  • Great for your skin.

The Body Ecology has some basic recipes for making your own cultured vegetables, and if you make them in batches and eat it everyday, it is a much cheaper alternative than taking probiotic supplements. We plan to make them at home, but haven’t gotten around to it yet…so I went to Whole Foods looking for some ready-made cultured vegetables that I could try in the meantime.

What I found was Kimchi. Its a Korean condiment -basically fermented cabbage and other vegetables, with a mix of salt, vinegar and other spices. It was the only cultured vegetable food I found in the store. I bought it, brought it home and a little scared, tried it! I actually liked it and since I bought have used it in my scrambled eggs in the morning, in my salads for lunch, and in the quinoa fried rice Orlando made.

I posted this video of Orlando making the quinoa mainly because it was his first time making it. I thought it would be great for you to see how he creates his meals. He’s always trying new things and changing his mind and sometimes the meal isn’t working out and he figures out how to save it! I think its pretty cool to see his process…and at the end he always comes through.

So for now, Kimchi is a big star in our home but stay tuned….we will be making our own cultured vegetables very soon!!!!!