(158.7) Progress Report


Smoked Whitefish with pickled peppers on black bialy from High Street on Market

Time for the weekly progress report!

It’s going to be a quickie. There’s a lot going on in my corner. A word about the photo: Yesterday I had a coffee meeting at 10 am with my Edible Philly publisher. We went to a really terrific spot, High Street on Market. I didn’t intend to eat anything–I had already had breakfast–but I could not resist the black bialy with smoked whitefish and pickled peppers you see here. Also, before I left, I bought two of High Street’s superb panettones. Then, naturally, I sliced into one of them the second I got home. Last night, I went to a restaurant opening and had a lot of rich little bites for dinner. I don’t think I ate a vegetable all day.  Continue reading →

(157.9) Year in Review

BricksThis time last year, as 2013 drew to a close, I reflected on what I wanted more of and what I wanted less of. (In retrospect the futility of this exercise boarders on hilarious, but there is one point I want to make about it.) I wrote on December 18 of last year:

“As for me, when it comes to work, I want to do more writing and editing and less recipe development. I want more of my work to focus on health.”

Just days into 2014, in spite of having been so clear on the above goals about work that I wrote it down, I accepted the biggest, longest, least healthy recipe development project I have ever taken on. I spent almost all of my working hours for more than half the year working on it. And though there were many valid reasons that I took it on, the fact remains: I transgressed my own stated wants and goals. I got crystal clear on the direction I wanted to go and then turned the opposite way. Continue reading →

(159.9) Stitch Fix Review: Box #3


My favorite new outfit from Stitch Fix!

Even though I wasn’t 100% happy with my second box from Stitch Fix,  I was excited when my third box was shipped last week. After all, I requested a different stylist and had been super specific in my note. I said I wanted new skinny blue jeans and casual tops and sweaters and this is exactly what came in my box. Once again, after decades of painful fitting room struggles where nothing ever fits right, I am flabbergasted that each of the five items in this box fits well. In fact, now that I’ve received and tried on a total of 13 garments (I’ve gotten 15 items in three boxes, but two were necklaces–one size fits all), I am thrilled to report 12 of the them fit perfect. Only one pair of jeans from my second box was slightly too small. It’s been like a miracle. Anyway, box #3.

Here’s how it all broke down: Continue reading →

(161.1) Meal Plan Monday


The homemade bread.

This weekend, food-wise, was kind of off the rails. I had a craft fair for League Street Press on Saturday that didn’t lend itself to great food choices. Then on Sunday, I wanted to start ramping up for the Christmas Eve dinner I’m hosting and other holiday events. We baked a bunch of bread, most of which we froze for the holiday, but I ate a lot of it because it’s so hard for me to resist fresh homemade bread. I also made a huge batch of chicken tinga–four times the batch I made last week, when I wrote about it. As I type this late Sunday night, Dan is cleaning the kitchen up from a full day of messy use. Continue reading →

(160) Weekend Reads & Recs

Welcome to Weekend Reads & Recs!

If you come across something related to food, weight, or body image why don’t you send me the link at joymanning at gmail dot com?

Picture of a Regain

I read this blog, Escape from Obesity, regularly. This emotional post is especially great. Blogging about weight while you are losing is popular–but the research tells us that very few people who lose weight keep it off in the long term–less than 5%. So 95% of weight loss bloggers will experience gaining it back and the feelings of failure and shame that go along with it. This is the only place I’ve read an ongoing unvarnished account of this.  Continue reading →

(160.7) Progress Report

Time for the weekly progress report!

This week has been so topsy turvy that I forgot I was supposed to write a progress report yesterday. Well, it’s not like I forgot, it’s more like I didn’t realize it was Thursday. What can I say? I’ve been a little scattered between a busy work schedule and the holiday season. So I guess we’ll do the progress report on Friday this week.  Continue reading →

(161.5) The Power of Micro Yoga


One book I am really looking forward to

Have any of you noticed this hashtag popping up on twitter or instagram: #wycwyc?

It stands for, “what you can, when you can” and it’s a good reminder that small actions toward well-being are just as important, if not even more so, than the grand gestures. It’s the idea that even the seemingly minor positive things we can do for ourselves are worth doing; they add up to a better life over time.

It’s the brainchild of healthy lifestyle masterminds Carl Birnberg and Roni Noone, and I have to say this approach helped me break through the fitness block that’s been keeping me pretty sedentary lately. Continue reading →

(159.4) My New Body Image Hero: Merritt Wever

ZoeI’ve been watching Nurse Jackie. Binge watching it. The show has been on since 2009, but only recently did I take an interest in it. Quickly, I started watching the episodes one after the other–sometimes up to half a season in a single night.

I’m not usually that into TV shows, but a lot of things about this one grabbed me. First and foremost, it’s a show about women–mostly adult women. One of my main complaints with TV and movies in general is a lack of fully formed female characters. So often women are just accessories to the male characters or plain old props. Frequently, women are absent as main characters from movies altogether. Women’s stories get told less often than men’s do.  Continue reading →

(160.1) Chicken Tinga Tacos


Chicken Tinga: I cracked the code!

South Philly is full of good taquerias, but I prefer a homemade taco night, and not just because it’s healthier. One of the main reasons I like to DYI it is that you don’t usually get fresh tortillas from these little restaurants, but I can buy superb fresh tortillas from a shop that makes them on-site. Also, I prefer a chicken tinga taco, a style in which the chicken is slowly stewed and shredded, to the usual chicken taco, which tends to be chopped up chicken breast quickly grilled on a flat top. Continue reading →

(160.4) Meal Plan Monday

IMG_20141011_115351490I had a pretty good weekend. How about you?

On Saturday, it was cold, rainy, and dark in Philly. I’ve been really busy with freelance writing assignments lately and spent the whole day hunkered down at my desk, working away. I got a lot done, but I never left the house or even got out of my pajamas. I know some people would hate the idea of working all day on a Saturday, but it  was a huge stress reliever for me. Sunday I went on my normal grocery run and stocked up for the week. This meal plan is not especially ambitious because I’m still very busy with work and want t make dinners easy on myself. Here’s what I have planned:

Chicken Tinga Tacos
I bought fresh blue corn tortillas from the tortillaria in my neighborhood and this is how I’ll use them. I have also suddenly fallen in love with radishes on tacos and bought a bunch of radishes for this purpose. I might even write down a recipe and snap some photos to share later.

Continue reading →