Posted: August 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Welcome to Wednesday! Yesterday I found it hard to believe it was only Tuesday. Today, I dread the fact that tomorrow is already Thursday. Why? Because we will be leaving around 10 pm to drive overnight to the Philadelphia area. If you can, go ahead and add safe travels for us to your prayers. I really don’t want M to grow up without parents. Okay, that may be a bit melodramatic, but I have to admit to freaking out. Remember one of my three fears is the gut feeling that one day I will be in some sort of terrible car-wreck? Driving overnight for 12 hours stokes the fire. I might conveniently forget about the pesky “no or limited caffeine during pregnancy” rule. Then again, maybe not. Adrenaline is more powerful than coffee.

Enough of that discussion. Today I managed to turn my day around for the better, so I can turn my fear into reason as well. When I saw today’s 30 Days of Insight topic for the blog, something powerful hit me. The topic = what is your vision of paradise? My answer = what you make of your current life. I don’t know where that answer came from. Directly from the heavens? Who knows. One thing I do know is I am not nearly that profound at 6:30 am. Wherever it came from, I’ll take it. I greatly needed that message today because the day was not starting out on the best of feet.

I awoke still feeling wrong. I don’t know if I would classify myself as sick. I don’t have a fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, or anything of that nature. My body simply aches. Something fierce at that. I do occasionally feel some stomach ache symptoms, but nothing really happens. I started getting down in the dumps, knowing I would not push attempting a workout in this state, even though I could really use one to help with traveling stress. Then, I thought about Paradise. I could take the easy route and picture paradise as lying on a tropical beach with a magical margarita (that somehow was safe for fetuses). Or I could imagine standing in line at a CVS with some pain medicine safe for pregnancy that actually works. Sorry, Tylenol. You just don’t cut it for me. However, neither of those played out in my mind. Instead, I pictured my day, my current situation, and what I wanted to make of it. I say it turned out pretty good.

I took the extra time I had from not working out to play with little M. We even cleaned up the living room and playroom. I utilized the “pick up some yellow/red/pink things” game. I’m so sneaky. Hehehe.


I scheduled in some productivity on the computer by preparing for tomorrow’s Examine article, catching up on emails, visiting bloggers to return the love and support I receive, brainstorming more on my September plan for the blog, and other random tidbits.


I conquered the laundry and dishes that battle me on a daily basis. And tossed in some toilet bowl cleaning for good measure. I ran errands to the store, bank, and library. Shockingly, I left the library empty handed. I’m finding less time to read and only want to read books I am thoroughly interested in. Other things need my focus right now.

I devoured a delicious lunch. Mushroom burger with tomato, pickles, and laughing cow on a sandwich thin, Grapes and raspberries (my current fruit obsessions) on the side. That right there is paradise.


I even managed to finish the teensy weensy invites I shared on Sunday for my friend’s lingerie shower AND pick up the wedding present for the wedding we are attending this weekend. So what if I procrastinated and had to get something off the registry?

Lastly, I remembered to share my Hawaiin Tofu recipe and Tofu Xpress review with you all. The gist of my review = If you make tofu at home, buy the Tofu Xpress NOW. It really does such a great job at pressing all the water out.


The texture of the tofu surpassed any other time I have prepared it. It was also much easier not having to press the ‘fu using bowls, paper towels, and other homemade contraptions. I’m so thankful the kind people at Tofu Xpress sent this to me for review. Please note that I am not compensated for the review and was given the press for free solely for reviewing purposes.

Now, the “recipe”. It’s not really a recipe. More a marinade. I mixed up the following to create a Hawaiin flavored marinade.


  • 2T honey
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 c pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger

After pressing the tofu, I sliced it into long strips about 1/2” thick. I allowed the strips to marinate in the mixture for around 30 minutes. From there, I simply seared the tofu in a medium heat pan for about 3 minutes per side. You could also bake it at 350 for around 30 minutes, turning halfway though. I honestly prefer baked tofu but was using the oven to roast up veggies – sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.


My two favorites. You know? I’ve come to realize something. That dinner may well be the source of my “What is paradise?” enlightenment this morning. Nah. I know where my inspiration and answers come from. 😉

  • Favorite marinade mix?
  • Your paradise? Beach, mountains, with a certain someone, etc?
  • Any love you got to give. 🙂

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48 Comments to “paradise”
  1. That marinade looks wonderful!!!! So tropical!
    And best of luck with the drive – take it easy 🙂

  2. you know, i’m not too picky when it comes to marinades…the only requirements are that it works and that it contains GARLIC 🙂 and i think you know my paradise is the beach…i am a water baby all the way! hope you’re having a wonderful day…i’ll be praying for you guys on your trip to Philly!

  3. homecookedem says:

    I love your answer to what paradise is. Paradise to me is being surrounded by my amazing family and friends, loving myself unconditionally, and being a child of God.

    I’m lovin on raspberries too!! And strawberries, watermelon, grapes, and peaches!! Fruit is a pregnant lady’s best friend!!

    Good luck with the long drive!! You’ll be just fine. Hope you feel better soon!!

    • Tina says:

      Love your description of paradise. 🙂 And fruit is totally my best friend right now. I eat so much of it!

  4. Ilana says:

    For me, paradise is anywhere remote…quiet…very few tourists!
    Have a very safe drive!!!

  5. Kelly says:

    I’m actually not a big marinade-er (?), but I like sweet stuff like pineapple marinade, etc.

    My paradise is for sure a beautiful beach somewhere quiet that I have yet to discover. Also, atop the Wicklow mountains in Dublin comes in a close second!

  6. Heather says:

    Awwww-i hope you find some peace about your drive. Things like that have so much more significance once you have kids, no? We once drove with both kids in an ice storm that lasted 6 hours! Yeah….I had hubby pull over 3 times to find a bathroom-that whole stress manifesting itself in my gut thing. 🙁
    Anyway-marinade:garlic,garlic, oh, and garlic 🙂
    Paradise-LOVE your answer. I’m pretty sure that’s God’s heart 🙂
    My perfect situation would be mountains by the ocean with my family and a fulfilling career and a garden and chickens!
    I think I could eat brussel sprouts and sweet taters every day, so that pic is makin’ me drool 😉

  7. Ahh, that photo of “paradise” gave me a glimpse of how I felt when I was in Mexico earlier this year. That was definitely a piece of paradise!! But to me, any form of “getting away” and just relaxing is paradise. Although, I will say I’m partial to the beach 🙂

    Way to go for turning your day around! Good luck on the trip…sorry I won’t be around for a meet-up 🙁

  8. Oh be safe Tina….I will keep you in my prayers! My idea of paradise is my family. I am so lucky to live only about 10 minutes from my parents and my husband loves them too. I can’t imagine not being close to them!

  9. Lee says:

    Drive safe! If you are tired, don’t hesitate to stop and rest or switch drivers. I used to drive 10 hours home from school and I’d stop at rest stops and nap if I needed to.

    • Tina says:

      We will certainly be taking breaks when needed and switching off. I made Peter plan to leave a couple hours earlier than we needed to just to be sure we have time for the breaks.

  10. thanks for sharing that recipe! i need more ideas for tofu and i really enjoy simple foods.

    the closest i came to paradise was a couples massage on my wedding day, at a 5 star spa in Fiji. (sigh…) but i do love your answer about paradise. it’s important to be thankful wherever you are in life 🙂

  11. You’re gonna be great! Don’t worry about the drive sister.

  12. I’ll be thinkin and prayin for ya!

    I loooove your plates too as well.

    and you are getting me all jazzed up about your september annoucement!cant wait to hear what it is.

  13. Emily says:

    Hey Tina! Sorry you haven’t been feeling up to par. It seems like you did the most with your day though, and that’s great. You know, I’ve been thinking about your fear of a car crash and I think maybe its just there to remind you to be safe in the car – it could possibly be serving its purpose as prevention of a crash. Anyways, I know that you’ll be safe and you guys will get there all in one piece! 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Oh…I like that perspective. I’m sure I’ll still be nervous but the thought that it has a purpose to help keep me safe really comforts me. Thanks!

  14. I hope you feel better and are back to 100% soon! Also, my husband and I will pray for you and your family on your travels! God’s angels be with you all! 🙂

    That picture looks pretty darn close to paradise. I would just need my family, friends and our pets there and I’d be set! 🙂

    Sending a Texas-sized HUG your way!

  15. Wow! You were super busy today!!! Your marinade sounds great! I always find it amazing to see the amount of water that the tofu press gets out!

  16. Kimberly says:

    Prayers of safety to you! I hope you feel better too! My vacation was at least a 13 hour drive but we chose to break it up some. That long in a car does a number on my back and hips!

    I really want to get one of those tofu presses!

  17. I love your attitude girl!

    Safe travels!!

    Great marinade – I like lemon juice, salt, basil and garlic for shrimp & chicken – yum. 🙂

    Paradise for me is resort/beach with Austin! (and I wish I could bring Reuben of course!)

  18. Meg says:

    Yikes! I hope you feel better and wish you safe travels! That is such a cute picture of your little lady. Of course they’re ALL cute. 🙂

  19. Paradise to me is being alone or being with my husband. We can be anywhere and he makes it fun and entertaining.

    Have fun and have a safe trip! I hope you feel better!

  20. I can so relate to you about the fear of driving thing! I was recently in a very minor car accident (which happened to total my car though) and since then I’ve had to force myself to get comfortable on the road again. It’s slowly happening and I’m gaining my confidence back. I will certainly pray for safe travels for you and yours! Take it slow and steady 🙂

  21. Dorry says:

    Your meals today look devine! I love Brussels 🙂

    I’ll be sending up a prayer for a safe drive for you tomorrow night!

    My idea of paradise is somewhere with beautiful skies and perfect temps in the 70s – beach OR mountains works for me. 🙂

    • Tina says:

      I can relate to that. I love the beach and the mountains. I love for it to be peaceful, with loved ones, and 70s = even better!

  22. katie says:

    I am so sorry yall have to drive so late!! throwing up some prayers! you are SO positive tho!!!! I LOVE it girl! you really are an amazing role model, mother, wife, daughter of Christ!!


  23. I don’t like car trips either. I get sore sitting in one position for so long. I hope you take lots of breaks to stretch your legs 🙂
    Safe travels!!

    I could use a tofu press. It looks so much easier and much better for the environment than using a bunch of paper towels. That’s the main reason I don’t eat a lot of tofu! I hate wasting the paper towels. This contraption is quite nifty!

  24. Chef Dennis says:

    I enjoyed reading your post! Welcome to food buzz from the Philly area!!

  25. Your marinate must taste amazingly!
    You have the cutest kid ever.

  26. I have so many things to comment on!…

    First, I wish you safe travels! I can relate to the fear about a car accident. I’m a very anxious driver/passenger. Not sure what you’re coming to Philly for, but I’m in Philly and would love to meet up if it would work out!

    Next, that photo of your daughter is darling!!!

    Last, I am going to have to get that Tofu Xpress. That would be so helpful! Thanks for sharing!

    • Tina says:

      Ahhh! I would love to meet up. There are quite a few awesome Philly ladies that I wish I could get together with. Sadly, I’m in a friend’s wedding up there and the whole time we’re there is packed. 🙁 One day I will have to make it back up there again and get together with you awesome Philly bloggers. I would LOVE to have met you.

  27. My paradise is the beach, definitely!

  28. Lindsay says:

    I’m afraid of car wrecks too. I’ll definitely keep you in my prayers!

  29. Hope you have safe travels. So wish we could have been in Philly at the same time!!!! Darn. I adore the beach (but that’s not obvious is it?).

  30. Mellissa says:

    My marinade of choice- olive oil, lime juice, red pepper flakes, garlic and salt/pepper. Works on chicken, shrimp, pork and other fishies.

  31. Nichole says:

    Whole Foods has an amazing Hawaiian sauce. MMM.

    Your daughter is just absolutely beautiful. I could just eat her up.

  32. Prayers for your safe travels, dear 🙂

    I need a tofu presser! They look so fun!

  33. Sending you peacful calming road trip vibes!!!
    Whenever I’m anxious caffeine makes it worse! It’s like jitters on top of jitters. Maybe calming tea?

    I love your daughters pink tutu, could she be any more precious?

  34. Rachel says:

    Hope you are feeling better today! Paradise is a beach, sun, a warm breeze, and my boyfriend and dog by my side.

  35. Holly says:

    Hope you’re feelin’ a bit better now.
    You’re in my thoughts & prayers for your SAFE trip to Philly. I’m sure everything will be just fine 🙂
    Delicious looking dinner- I’m in envy (in a good way) of the Tofu Xpress machine!!

  36. Jess says:

    I love this Tina! I’m behind on your blog but just scanned through and saw your new hair – love it! And really have to agree with you – the Operation Beautiful stuff is amazing! I just got my copy and can’t wait to read it!! As for my paradise – with loved ones, waves lapping the shore, and nothing else. How’s that for an answer? 🙂

  37. Lots and lots of positive travel vibes heading your way Tina!

  38. Safe travels Tina! I love how you focus on the positives of the day when it’s not going well. Your fruit plate looks delicious. My idea of paradise is a land made of watermelon… LOL 🙂 No seriously, ideally it would be somewhere where I’m able to get away from every-day stress and worry, and spend time with the people I love. If there was watermelon involved, then that would be a bonus. 🙂

  39. OMG. Your little girl is so precious!

    Safe travels 🙂

  40. First, hoping and praying you and your family will be safe tonight. I seriously do not like driving at night myself. Secondly, how adorbs is your little girl? Thirdly, I hope you aren’t getting sick!

    PS -Tylenol never and still doesn’t do much for me either. 🙂

  41. Paradise to me is the Greek Islands! I went there on a post-college trip and SWEAR I will be returning one day for my honeymoon :).

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