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Living in the moment

27 Sep

I’m not going to lie–I love Oprah. One night when my husband was out-of-town and there was nothing on TV, I stumbled upon Oprah’s Lifeclass on OWN. The lesson was with Iyanla Vanzant, and it was about relationships between women. The show was pretty eye-opening, especially a statement that Iyanla said, “Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against oneself.” I was hooked to OWN for the rest of the weekend! Oprah also said something that weekend that stuck with me. Oprah had a dog that was constantly moving and never slowed down. One day the dog went after a ball, choked on it and died. Oprah was devastated, but she looked for the lesson from the experience—slow down or you will wear yourself to death! She said, “I believe everything happens for a reason, and we are meant to learn from it.”

I believe I saw that episode of Lifeclass for a reason. Lately I’d been comparing myself to other people, especially when it came to parenthood. It’s not like I am unable to have children, but my uterine fibriods could have an impact. This is not the right time for my husband and I to have a child; we aren’t there just yet. But in the next year we will start trying. However, I kept comparing myself to other people my age or younger raising children, having children, and getting pregnant. My head says, “That’s not fair. Why can’t I have a child now? What if I won’t be able to get pregnant”, etc. I also know everyone lives life at their own pace. But I was not connecting the two. I’ve finally come to accept that it will happen when we are ready and when the time is right. I will only hurt myself and possibly my relationships if I continue to compare myself with others.

This morning I watched a Lifeclass episode I recorded last weekend about living in the moment. How strange I should happen to pick this episode?! I had a particularly rough day at work and was thinking about things that happened in the past. This is something I tend to do quite a bit, as well as think of things I have to do in the future. I rarely live in the present! Even when I’m getting a massage or taking a run, I’m constantly checking on a mental list of things I have to do. It’s terrible. The part of the episode that especially touched me was when they brought in a mother who was burned in a plane accident over 80% of her body. She said when she was in a coma she heard a voice saying she could choose to live a difficult life or die. She chose to live. They paired her with a mom who was dissatisfied with her life and the little things. They spent the day together and she saw how much the mother with injuries struggled with opening things, not being able to hold her children, and the pain of her wounds. She said it really opened her up to appreciating every moment with her children and to be present when she spent time with them.

When I am at home tonight with my dogs and my husband, I’m going to live in the present. I’m going to appreciate them and focus on that moment. I’m not going to worry about work, having children, or the dishes on the counter. I’m going to enjoy the ones I love.

Enjoy the moment!

Sunday (the day of rest?) and a New Recipe–Bulgur Chicken Stew

23 Sep

This weekend was jam-packed with to-dos. But luckily, I was able to squeeze in a few of my favorite things to celebrate the first of day of fall, my favorite season!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Saturday started bright and early at 6:15am. The girls had important appointments; one at the vet and one at the groomers. I dropped Edie off at the vet for her dental cleaning and check-up, while Eve and I went for a trail run/walk before heading to the grocery store. I thought the leaves would be a little more colorful on our run, but it was still great to be in the crisper air.  After indulging in a homemade pumpkin spice latte, I put on my orange skinny jeans (another ode to fall!) and dragged Nathan into town. We dropped Eve off for her trim, and continued on with our errands.

The aftermath of the girls’ day was mixed.

Eve’s trim was a success

Edie was pretty doped up from the dental cleaning

After enjoying a fun dinner with friends, I called it a pretty early night. Since I was laid up with the flu last weekend, quite a few things were piling up at home.

Since my back has felt better, I decided to risk a two-mile run with the girls. I didn’t go very fast and felt a little pain on the run, but I stretched a good ten minutes when I got home. So far, everything is feeling good.

From 10am until 2:30pm, I was on my feet cooking, baking, and doing laundry. I started out making some Multi-grain Waffles from Tosca Reno‘s The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2. Since my husband’s friend spent the night, I made the boys “normal” waffles; my husband is a picky eater and I pick and choose when to make him go outside the box. It’s all about compromise! I put the rest of my multi-grain waffles in the freezer so I can just pop them in the toaster.

I like to make homemade bars and snack bars when I can. Sometimes they cost as much as $2 at the grocery store. I haven’t tallied up how much it costs to make them on your own, but I know it’s certainly cheaper than that! Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your food. I found a great recipe from a fellow blogger for homemade Kind bars. The first time I made them, I knew I had to Pin the recipe. They honestly taste so much like Kind bars, I’m not even sure I would be able to tell a difference! You can check out the recipe at The Whole Kitchen. I used pecans (my parents live in New Mexico and send me some since they are grown there), almonds, pepitas, and hemps seeds.

I also made some granola from a Clean Eating Magazine recipe and some Blueberry Oat Protein Muffins from EatCleanDiet.Com. I followed the Blueberry Oat Protein Muffins recipe exactly (except for adding a pinch of cinnamon), using frozen blueberries. I would recommend using fresh blueberries or thaw blueberries the night before and make sure all the liquid is drained out. I chose to defrost my this morning and my muffins were a little too wet, but they still taste wonderful.

Muffins pre-oven

For the granola, I replaced the cranberries with apricots since I have quite a few on hand. That’s what I like about nut bars and granola–you can switch up what kind of nuts and fruits you use depending on what’s in your pantry. I also only baked the granola for 30 minutes; when I did 40 last time, the granola burned. The recipe makes about 12 1/2 cup servings.

Tons of granola!

And now for a new recipe! I like to make stews and soups in the fall/winter. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s a great way to get in some lean protein, lots of veggies, and healthy carbs all in one. Plus, if you can cook it in the slow cooker, even better–saves you time and clean up.

Bulgur Chicken Stew

(After plugging everything into calorieking.com, I estimate the soup yields eight 1 1/2 cup servings at about 300 calories)

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1b chicken breast tenders, diced

1/2 cup black-eyed peas, dried and sorted

1/2 cup whole wheat bulgur

6 medium baby red potatoes, diced

32-40 ounces chicken stock (reduced sodium)

1 tsp each, dried oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1) Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add sweet onion, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves to pan. You could also add the chicken to the pan to brown a little if you like. Heat for a few minutes until onions become translucent.

2) Begin to add all ingredients through the bay leaves to your crock pot. Set on high. Cook for two hours.

3) After two hours, add the baby portabella mushrooms (depending on the size of your pot, it can get pretty tight in there!).

4) Cook for another two hours.

Divide and enjoy!

Stew for the week!

The bulgur becomes soft, making the stew almost creamy. Delicious!

Get set for the week! Plan your meals, portion out healthy snacks and your lunches. If you have your food ready, you’re more likely to pick something healthy. Enjoy your bites!

Taco Salad

20 Sep

The day started off like most of the days in our home—Edie ate a homemade protein bar. On the advice of our vet I went home to check on her at lunch. Of course, she was perfectly fine. The vet was concerned about the bits of dark chocolate that were in the bar and the protein powder, but our little pup was napping on the couch when I came home without a care in the world.

After work today, I took the girls to our local off-leash park for a walk/run. The sun has been bright the entire month of August with no rain, and it’s carrying into September. In Washington, we have to take advantage of every minute!

Yesterday I made my Tropical Smoothie with a brand new ingredient, baby kale! I tried a smoothie at Robeks a few weeks ago that had kale and pineapple. It tasted amazing, and kale is a nutrient powerhouse.  It packs in a large amount of Vitamin K, C, & A, and also is a good source of manganese. Why does that matter?

–Vitamin K helps to regulate normal blood clotting

–Vitamin C does more than assist your immune system; it’s a powerful antioxidant that promotes skin repair and may help protect against cancer

–Vitamin A helps promote good vision, and keeps your bones, skin, and teeth healthy & strong

–Manganese plays a role in the digestion of protein and carbohydrates, which are included in the smoothie

Kale is pretty fibrous, so baby kale is a great way to incorporate this wonderful veggie into your smoothie if you don’t have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix (in my dreams).

Now onto dinner!

Nathan asked me why I haven’t made tacos in a while the other day, and I thought that was a darn good question. I LOVE Mexican food, however, if you aren’t careful it can pack on a lot of calories and fat (another reason I like to make dinner at home, rather than go out to eat). I make tacos for Nathan and transform my taco into a taco salad. When you add everything up here, it’s about 500 calories, but if you would like to eliminate the taco shell, you save about 100 calories. I must have my shell; I love the crunch it adds. Food is more appetizing and satisfying when there is a combination of textures.

We use ground turkey since I don’t eat beef. I also use a small can or about ½ cup of tomato sauce to keep the meat moist. After browning the meat and adding the sauce, I put in homemade taco seasoning. I use the recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef, but replace the ginger with 1/8 teaspoon ancho chili powder. Then I assemble my salad!

                1 handful mixed greens

                1 handful baby kale

                About six tbsps. of Paul Newman’s Pineapple Salsa

                ¼ an avocado

                1 taco shell heated up and broken into pieces

                4 oz turkey meat

                2 tbsp reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend

I’m off to do some yoga stretches while watching Project Runway. Have a wonderful evening!

Don’t Call it a Comeback

4 Dec

As promised, I’m back from the brink of quitting my blog. Part of the reason I stopped blogging so much was because it was taking me away from some of my other interests, and I really needed to focus on some things at work. And then there was the depression I talked about in the last blog. But in order to keep things on track with my mental and physical health, it’s important that I document my food and activity and hold myself accountable.

Yesterday I did some meal planning and went grocery shopping with the hub. We spent way too much money (I blame the stupid razor blades–those things are so expensive!) but I think it was worth it. It was crazy busy in Bellingham. We are close to the Canadian border so it’s almost like our population doubles on the weekends with people coming from Canada to do their shopping. It’s nice for our economy but it’s really stressful and overwhelming since there’s not really enough room for so many people. One Canadian was literally parked right in front of TJ Maxx with their hazards blinking blocking traffic. Now, when my dad is waiting for my mom and I to come out of a store, he circles. That’s common courtesy and legal. I was really annoyed because I was one of the cars being blocked so I had some choice words (“You are blocking traffic and you NEED to move your car!”) for her when I got out of the car. I wasn’t the only one. Another gal yelled something at her before me and the guy behind me said “Exactly!”

Sunday was certainly more relaxing. I went for a walk/hike with Elisa and our dogs. Edie was acting more crazy than normal, which is hard to believe. She ran around the dog park barking (she rarely barks at other dogs) and ran in large circles as fast as she could. She literally looked possessed. When we got home I started getting things situated for tomorrow and luckily Edie passed out on the couch.

Gym clothes all laid out

 

Vitamins on the counter

 

Hat, Ipod accessories, workout notebook, and inhaler ready to go!

 

I started on my soup for the week. I try to make soups in the fall and winter for lunch and salads during the spring and summer. Both of them are really easy for getting a good amount of veggies into your diet. I also decided to start going vegetarian for lunch as much as I can. I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to it but I’m pretty sure my husband and I wouldn’t have anything in common that we ate. This would make dinners difficult. Also, I’m afraid I won’t get enough protein which was a problem for me in the past when I was vegetarian. I decided that going halfway would be the best of both worlds.

For my lunch, I turned to Mama Pea. I made the Spicy African Peanut Stew and am so excited to try it. I couldn’t find garam masala at Fred Meyer, which made me a little mad since I was right by my favorite spice place, Spice Hut, earlier in the day and I would’ve bought it there. Anywho, I put in a dash of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin instead. I also made her Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas. Once again, I did a substitute. I have a bunch of fresh herbs leftover from Thanksgiving so I put in some thyme rather than dried rosemary.

The plans for tomorrow are as follows–

Meals

Breakfast– Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana oatmeal with soy milk

Snack 1– Roasted Chickpeas with two clementines

Lunch–Spicy African Peanut Stew

Snack 2– Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries

Dinner–Skillet Roasted Chicken Breast with Citrus Roasted Potatoes and kale

Workout

–30 minutes of intervals on an elliptical

–30-45 minutes of weight training focusing on back, triceps, and abs (I got a great weight lifting routine from Muscle and Fitness Hers

And of course, a morning game of soccer with the pup. Well, I am off. I’ve slept better since my last post but I’m still taking precautions to make sure I sleep ok. That means no electronics too close to bed time and some chamomile tea. Have a great night!

Back to the grind

23 Sep

It’s taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things. Actually, I’m lying; I’m still not back into my normal routine. I have a TON of extra food left in the fridge, I’ve been eating turkey burgers pretty much all week and there are full garbage bags sitting in the garage because they won’t fit in the bin. However, it was all worth it. The party went off without a hitch (unless you count finding some chewed gum in my flower bed, and the fact that Edie continuously tried to hump my seven year old cousin and stole a hamburger and cupcake) and was a lot of fun. Of course, as the hostess, I felt like I didn’t get to spend enough time with everyone.

I pretty much kept up with my run schedule while my family was here, missing maybe two runs. I think it will end up being beneficial to my shins as well. 🙂 On one run I ended up coming home with a bloody foot. I didn’t even notice anything was wrong until I saw some pink marks in the laundry room. I thought Edie was bleeding, but when I looked down my left foot was soaked with blood from the base of my toes up. Well, apparently my toenails were a smidge too long and the nail cut my other toe. It even soaked through my shoe. When I ran the next time the blood from the shoes soaked back into my sock. And of course I hurt myself on that run too. I got my tongue stuck in my water bottle closure and it ripped out. Gotta love a bloody tongue on a 10 mile run.

I’ll sum up the rest of my hiatus from blogging with some pics.

Me and my cousing Austen

 

Me and my cousin Jami

 

The Fam

Hanging out at the farm

 

Ready to party

 

Ta ta for now! I’ll post my Spice Hut Review tonight and a half marathon follow-up on Sunday! I can’t believe it’s already here. Wish me luck!

8 Mile

6 Sep

My weekend can pretty much be summed up in one word; staining. We stained all 1100 square feet of our fence except for 12 boards (we ran out of stain). Luckily that part is on the back where I don’t see it or I would’ve been running to Lowe’s yesterday at 5pm to get more stain. We weren’t even going to finish it this weekend but I HATE leaving a project unfinished. I like it done yesterday.

Friday was crazy busy. It totally got away from me. I was supposed to get done at 5:30 but I believe I left after 6pm. My boss didn’t even leave until 8pm! We are in the process of hiring two new employees and they have to start training on the 12th of this month. Yikes! Needless to say, I didn’t want to take time to cook when I got home. I turned my Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos into a taco salad. I added some chipotle salsa, cheese and avocado. Mmm….

Saturday I did my long run, eight miles, with the pup. We went pretty early in the morning but Edie still got pretty hot. I stopped at about 6 miles and let her jump in the river. When we got home the silly dog wanted to play soccer. I kicked it a couple of times for her even though she could barely breathe. We came inside and she drank all the water from her bowl. A few minutes later I heard a familiar sound and saw that she puked all her water up on the floor. That was pretty fun to clean up, course, it’s good it was just water. That night we went to our neighbors’ house for a BBQ. It was absolutely delicious! They made salsa, salmon, chicken, and corn. At the hub’s request I made a chocolate pudding pie (super easy; make chocolate pudding, put it in the graham cracker crust, top with whip cream after it’s been in the fridge for a couple hours). After having years and years of horrible apartment neighbors, it’s so nice to have our own home near neighbors we love.

The rest of the weekend was filled with staining the fence. My in-laws came up, and the girls went shopping and ran errands for most of the day and the boys stained. I tried to relax when we were done but I had to pitch in and help. We also let Edie out during breaks since she spent the whole day inside whining. We were using a sprayer and didn’t want to have a red dog.

Kick my ball!

The next morning Elisa and I took the dogs to the river. It was pretty shallow so they had a grand old time running through the water. After we got home I was itching to get the neighbors side of the house stained. Because they have trees about a few inches away from the fence, I had to stain by hand. I stained the whole side of the fence in about three and a half hours. I just put my Ipod in and rocked it out (I hope all the neighbors liked my rendition of “Baby Got Back”).

Play Time!

After we finished, meal planning and grocery shopping were the last thing I wanted to do. I was absolutely exhausted and actually debated going to bed at 7pm. I was about 150 pages from finishing my book, The Raising, and since it was a mystery/suspense I had to see it through to the end. Since my mom is coming tomorrow I just picked up some Alexia’s fries to pair with turkey burgers. That will tide us over for a few days before I send my mom grocery shopping.

I am so excited to see her! She is like my twin in so many ways, it’s a little scary. Our wedding reception is at our house on the 17th so she is coming to lend her assistance. My dad took a trip to Minnesota so he’s going to join us a little later.

I had an 8am appointment today and another one tomorrow so I must get some rest. Less than 24 hours until I see my mom!

Epic Fail

1 Sep

The rooster from the nearby farm decided I didn’t need to sleep until my alarm went off. I highly disagreed with him, but darn him, he is persistent. I still didn’t drag my tired bum out of bed until my cell phone started beeping from across the room (to ensure I got out of bed). I swear the change in weather and the change in light makes it that much more difficult to work out in the morning.

Edie was absolutely hell on wheels this morning. Apparently she did not like taking a rest from running either. For a full block she kept jumping up on me and trying to nip me. I finally had to sprint to get her to stop. I was aiming for three miles but we only ran two. After about a half a mile I could feel the pain in my shins. As soon as I got home I got some ice and smacked some on both shins for about twenty minutes. After that I massaged my shins for five minutes as my buddy Steve recommended. I wore my Sofft shoes at work and was able to sit at the desk most of the day. They are feeling pretty good so I’m going to head out in the morning again and rest on Saturday.

Edie had a pretty great day. Not only did she get a morning run and an afternoon of back to back soccer games with her dad, but Edie also met a new man. Now don’t get me wrong, Benny will be her #1 man for life but she likes to keep her options open, especially since she lives a little further away now. She met a new neighbor named Rhino and it was love at first sight (or it could be because he still has his balls; I like to think a little more romantically). He is a black lab/possible catahoula mix and just absolutely gorgeous. Plus he is huge and very mellow, unlike someone else I know. We made plans with the neighbors that these two will definitely have more adventures.

Edie and her first love, Benny

And for the epic fail of the day….I decided to try to deceive my husband….This is very difficult because I can only keep a secret that I’ve created or about myself for a MAXIMUM of twenty-four hours. I am the queen of spilling the beans. When some friends and I snuck out of the house in middle school, I told my mother after it happened. Yeah, not so sneaky. Well, I made Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos and tried to pass them off as turkey to the meat-loving-pickiest-eater-ever, and I confessed about half way through his first taco that it was not meat. He knew something was off because I asked if he liked it, and all I got was a “it’s okay” (note; in Nathan-speak this means “I don’t like it”). Needless to say, I finished his second taco and he had a frozen three meat pizza.

Out of lettuce and avocado; booo!

In other news, I had a meatless Thursday! Yah, less impact on the planet! Maybe it will make up for my total hour commute every day. 😦

Off to digest all my yummy tempeh tacos and read an addicting book that is nearly impossible to put down, The Raising. Check it out!