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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!