My Feathered Friends

Bodhi, Myrtle, and Olive enjoying some bugs

Bodhi, Myrtle, and Olive enjoying some bugs

I may not have mentioned it before, but I have a few pet chickens. And one of them died today. Her name was Olive; I bought her and two other chicks (Bodhi and Myrtle) when they were just one day old at a local feed store. It was a long and hard battle to even get them – I had to ultimately convince my dad to keep them on his property in a sort of shared custody arrangement. We rent and live in the city and currently the powers that be in Jacksonville would rather you have a bunch of barking dogs than some really funny egg-producing feathered friends. (Go to www.hensinjax.com to find out more about this.) Since my dad lives on the more rural West Side right next to a dairy farm, we figured he could get away with it more easily. And so I brought them home and kept them in a card board box with a heat lamp for the first four weeks of their life, then moved them to the coop at dad’s after that.

Even at just a week old, Olive (named after a tree, like her sisters) set herself apart from the others. She was just more spunky, daring, and plain old smart. I called her names like Houdini and Evil Knievel because I was always having to build a bigger chicken house to keep her contained. She was always the first to jump into my hand as a baby chick and was always the first one to come blazing out of the coop each morning as an adult, ready to get her worm search on. My dad said she had an attitude problem and made fun of her torpedo shaped eggs that were pointed on both ends, but she had a special place in my heart right from the start.

If you are interested in getting chickens as pets, http://www.backyardchickens.com is a great information resource to get you started. You won’t be sorry – my “girls” provide me with laughs, endless entertainment, companionship, and really yummy nutritious eggs every day. Rest in peace, Olive. I hope you have all the bread your heart desires in Chicky Heaven.

Mac-n-cheese is the antidote to Manic Monday

Even though I’m on winter break from school, it’s not all Lifetime Movie Marathons and Christmas cookie baking around here. No sireee. The last semester (my first in University of North Florida’s Nutrition Program)  moved at a blinding speed and left me with a mile long “to do list” once finals were finished. Combine that with the fact that this is the busiest time of year for the restaurant I work in, and the whole eating-bon-bons-in-my-pajamas-all-day fantasy is shot. Yesterday, for example, I spent a couple of hours at the DMV with a less than jolly receptionist and then had to do some haggling at the financial aid department of the university. Then my phone broke and I had to take a trip to the Apple Store. All that followed with a shift at work made for a long day.

The highlight of my day was my lunch. I stumbled across a little place called Village Bread Cafe near the tag agency on San Jose Boulevard. It turns out they have 4 locations total, including Phillips Highway and the Jacksonville Landing. It’s somewhat similar to Panera, but this place was just a little more homey. Their menu is mostly soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as some gorgeous looking pastries. I was pleasantly surprised the cashier brought me some chunks of rustic bread with olive oil and herbs for dipping while I waited on my lunch. The customer service there was just really topnotch. Lots of smiling and “have a nice days”. The manager even came and checked on me while I enjoyed my meal. I had a lovely Tuscan Salad with grilled salmon, and some comforting macaroni and cheese as a side. Between the salmon, the olive oil, and the shaved almonds on my salad, I met my quota for heart healthy omega three  fatty acids, and the greens provides some great health benefits as well, including blood clotting aid vitamin K, and vitamins A, C, and other great phytochemicals. For me, eating well helps me keep my spirits and my energy levels up during times of stress, such as the holidays. And creamy bread crumb topped mac-n-cheese was just plain ole yummy. The side portion is the perfect size for people who want to enjoy the foods they crave in moderation. So, if you  are looking for a great place to have lunch this week, check Village Bread Cafe out. They bake all of their goods at a bakery here in Jacksonville and also offer catering and bulk baked goods at wholesale.

My yummy Tuscan Salad salad (minus the salmon)

My yummy Tuscan Salad salad (minus the salmon)

Happy birthday, Peaceful Parsnip!

Happy Birthday Peaceful Parsnip!

Happy Birthday Peaceful Parsnip!

A wise woman once told me the hardest part about a blog is starting it. I don’t know yet if that’s true, but I can say it has involved a lot of second guessing for me so far. What to name it? What should it be about? Will people think it’s dumb? Do I even have time for a blog?  But then I remembered that I wanted to write this purely for my own pleasure and I let all that negative juju go. So here it is: a public cyber journal for me to post about food, nutrition, massage, health, running, and whatever other cool stuff I come across.

Welcome to the world, my little blog!