A list, revisited

January 31, 2012

Eeek! How did it get to be Jan 31st already?  Then again, how is it only Jan 31st?  Its 60 some degrees here today and this warmer weather has me wishing for spring to come FAST. But with all of this day dreaming of what’s coming, I thought I’d take the time to check out what all has happened this month instead.

The beginning of January is synonymous with new years resolutions and goals.

People tend to set out with a positive mindset and are looking for some change.  I can say from experience, that these goals tend to fall by the wayside as the year progresses.   So to hold myself accountable, I’m going to try and look back at the end of each month and see how I’ve been doing personally with my new years resolutions.  Are they reasonable? Achievable?  Have I been loyal to them?

Lets take a look:

  1.  Drink more water – a lofty and appropriate goal for me.  I tend to chug my coffee in the morning and then get busy and forget to pound the water afterwards.  The evenings are a little better, but unless I’m eating something salty, I really tend to forget to have a swallow or even FINISH a glass of water.  Yikes! I’m pretty good about “water weekdays” (no alcohol during the week), but if I’m honest, looking back there are more than a few days that my water consumption was too low.  So in honor of renewing this goal.  I’m writing this post and drinking more water.  I took water to the gym with me this morning too.  Small steps, but good steps!
  2. Balance – I started off strong with this one, I think.  But lately, I’ve been missing that drive or purpose I think is so important for conquering this goal.  I had a solid chat with myself, a mentor and a friend.  I have thoughts in my head that need to become actions at work.  But that’s a good first step, right?  Realizing what you need to move away from and change in order to get closer to what you’re looking for.  No major life revelations, but a maturation of mindset 🙂  I’ll take that.  Maybe I haven’t been doing so bad with that balance thing after all 😉
  3. Projects – Man oh man, have I taken the bull by the horns with THIS one.  Tying my goal of balance into this resolution, last year I think I put too MANY things on my list, which effectively overwhelmed me and things rarely got accomplished.  For January, I opted for taking on a project or two a week/weekend.  This has worked out so well for me and I have successfully and PROUDLY crossed things off my list, such as:
    1. Conquering those darn crochet hooks
    2. Making two separate earring holders (girls, you know how this can be…)
    3. Using decorative knobs to hang my necklaces
    4. Finally made my first set of Apple Bitters!
    5.   I’m also trying to get better at mixing drinks, classic cocktails and learning what flavors taste good together.  We’re not big drinkers, but I wouldn’t mind being known how to whip up a decent drink 🙂

Of course, the other part of this goal, was to put a greater emphasis on the blog, etc.  More pictures,  I think I have done better with that goal, but am constantly searching for ways to increase the substance of the blog.  I have some ideas for general lay out etc., but am always looking for topics to discuss, write about and hear about 😀

  1. Read more – I love reading.  I can definitely tell a difference between the days that I’m able to put even just 5 minutes of time into flipping a few pages and the days that I don’t.  To help me out with this goal, I took the advice of Candice Peak and joined Good reads.  It’s a fun way to keep track of the books you want to read vs. have read.  The recommendations are helpful and I love to read the reviews.  I love that you can set a goal for how many books you want to read for the year.  Happily I’ve gotten back into the habit of reading and have enjoyed the company of several good books so far this month.
  2. Recycle More – Man, what an important goal to have these days.  Our apartment complex doesn’t necessarily make recycling easy, but I didn’t give Brandon a choice about this one. We recycle what we can, when we can.  I do my best to not use the plastic straws when out at restaurants and I always opt for bringing a reusable water bottle along with me on the weekends wherever I go, rather than nabbing a bottle when I’m out.  I’m also trying to tie this in with my goal of more projects and repurpose things that would otherwise be tossed away.
  3. The Healthy Stuff – This is a heavy one, no?  So many levels of what healthy really is.
    1. Physically – I’m doing alright with this one, I think vacation was a tough thing to snap out of (and truthfully, I still feel bits of it lingering), but my new goal of a half marathon, I’ve really gotten back into training mode.  I’m trying to feed my body healthy, nourishing foods and have been experimenting with my new cookbooks!   I can’t wait to share a few of the things I’m pretty proud of later this week!
    2.  Emotionally – I definitely hit a few funky low points this month, helloooo cranky.  I think I’m starting to snap back out of it and as much as I smile already, smiling more is always an option.
    3. Materialistically?  Girls, you can attest to this – seasonal wardrobe blaaaaaaaahs.  But again, tying back into my goal of more projects/recycling – I’m trying to figure out different ways to jazz up the outfits, without putting a major dent in my wallet.  There’s so much inspiration out there also for different takes on outfits and pairings, that it really is hard to not find different ways to feel good about walking out that door!

All in all, I think I’ve done a good job with taking steps for my goals, but taking the time to look back at the month and being critical also lets me know where I can improve.   I’m excited to see though, that this year I think I’ve made some truly attainable goals and am pretty excited about the idea of being that much better of a person at the end of the year, one month at a time 🙂

Tell me – do you ever check back to see how you’re doing resolutions wise??  What about this year?

xo and just because…

for serious - could you resist those eyes?

Note to self…

January 30, 2012

Dear Self,

 

Here are a few things I would like you to remember in the future.

1.  When you’re in a bad mood or a bit of a funk – never, I repeat NEVER go into the kitchen.  You don’t cook well when upset.

2. When you go for long runs on the weekend, this is a good thing (5 miles!) – be proud, let yourself smile, breathe and relax afterwards.

3.  You are not perfect and everything you do doesn’t have to be either.

4.  You should drink more water.  You always say you aren’t drinking enough.  So drink more.

5.  Reading makes you happy – do that more often.

6. You’re doing something awesome by training for this half marathon.  Embrace it.

7.  Smile.

8.  Go to bed, because tomorrow you have to get up early.

Love,

Me.

 

Goals for this week:

Push harder than the day before.

Try more Vegan cooking – learn how and why it works.  Get BETTER.

Drink more water. A LOT more.

Read a little each day.

Smile instead of get frustrated, once a day.

Be content, but never settle.

THINK about work.  SLOW DOWN.

 

Tough weekend calls for some tough love.

xo

Yum

January 26, 2012

Have you ever had one of those meals that is exactly what your body needed?

drool

That’s what this meal was for me.  Delicious, nutritious, surprisingly perfect on a cold night, and leaves room for creative liberties.

What you are looking at, is a great internet recipe find by my friend at work, who didn’t want to try it out before knowing how it would taste.  Well friend, your loss – until of course, you make it.   This, is a roasted butternut squash and quinoa salad.  Warm, a little bit caramelized and that awesome tart, that only bleu (or in my case, Gorgonzola) cheese can provide.

To add just a little bit more to this, and to feel like I’m not completely worthless at coming up with something delicious – (does anyone else feel like they’re cheating when they use someone else’s recipe??  Gotta start somewhere though, right?) – I tried my hand at whipping together a Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette.

And while it may not win the awards for the prettiest thing to look at…

It tasted like the perfect compliment to the perfect dish- my culinary pride is safe for now.   Whew 🙂

Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette:

5 small oranges, peeled (de-seed them if you see any)

¼ white onion

Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)

Olive oil (to taste)

About ½ tsp Sugar/Honey

Like most salad dressings, this one is pretty easy to make and is a less about exact measurements and more about the taste.   All I did was blend the oranges and the white onion in a mini food processor until pretty well liquefied.  Mix in the vinegar, olive oil and sugar (if you want) to taste and shake it up pretty well.

Drizzle it on the salad and enjoy! Preferably on a cold night, in comfy pants, after a long hard day of work.  Worked for me!

xo

ps.  For the record?  This was lick the tupperware the next day for leftovers worthy.  And I may or may not have done just that.

pps.  Quinoa Stir Fry???

The best of both worlds

January 25, 2012

Dirty little secret time.

I used to think “skipping breakfast? – no biggie”, gulp down a cup (or 4…) of coffee and last until lunch.  Breakfast was never a big part of my day.  Even when I was younger, I can probably count the number of times I remember having breakfast before heading to school.  Its pretty clear now-a-days that breakfast is pretty darn important – and once you start eating breakfast, it is HARD to stop.  And nor should you.  Ever since moving to B’more, I’ve tried especially hard to incorporate breakfast as part of my healthy lifestyle.  The trick, is getting it to be a healthy and for me, TIMELY breakfast.  I haven’t worked it to the point where I can sit down and enjoy breakfast during the week yet – especially not with working out in the AM.  I don’t feel rushed and I make sure if I can, to eat it before I walk out the door.  While cereal can be healthy, it doesn’t fill me up enough to keep me from being hungry during the day.  And that’s the thing, if I’m going to eat breakfast and get that metabolism going, I want it to keep me satisfied for a few hours at least.  Cheerios won’t cut it.  Besides, I’m an eater.  Gimme food!  Oatmeal, I find is a healthy way to keep full and start your day right! (Man, I sound like a commercial…).  However.  Oatmeal can take precious morning minutes to make – so what’s a gal to do!?!?!?  <insert dramatic pause here>

Ok, just kidding.  But seriously, I don’t have time to make a bowl of oatmeal every morning and figure out what goes in it, etc etc.  My solution?   Baked oatmeal.  Its easy to make the weekend before and keeps really well for the week.    The great thing about baked oatmeal for me, is that its kind of like stir fry – it’s a great way to experiment with flavors etc., and see what combos you like.  Not only does this help you figure out flavor combos, it’s a fun way to add variety in your diet, I think.  Although, I’m pretty guilty of keeping a few staples in the baked oatmeal, this week, I’m really happy with my oatmeal of the week concoction!

My inspiration for this week was smoothies.  I love love love the idea of smoothies in the morning, particularly GREEN smoothies.  I’ve been sitting on this recipe from http://ohsheglows.com/ for an eternity now.  I always worry about getting enough greens in my diet and am equally intrigued by the idea of having them at breakfast.  For awhile I had been thinking about using a smoothie base for my baked oatmeal, and when I saw ANOTHER recipe from http://loveeatrun.com/ that made me go “um. Duh?”.  Sometimes you just need that little nudge.  Sigh.  So with those two inspirations, I came up with a banana-kale baked oatmeal.

Drowning in Almond Milk...

And before you get all freaked out about kale in a breakfast food, hear me out.   1.  I didn’t use that much kale.  2.  The frozen banana is pretty awesomely sweet.  3.  This baked oatmeal is pretty awesomely awesome.

Banana-Kale Baked Oatmeal (adapted from Amish Heritage Cookbook recipe)

1 frozen banana

1 cup  “Kale Milk”.  (To make this, I used loveeatrun’s idea of blending the milk and kale in my food processor. I used 1% milk (saved the Almond milk for on top of the oatmeal) and a small handful of blanched frozen kale.   Fun fact, whizzing together the milk at high speeds resulted in a nice thick frothy whipped consistency. I like to think this made my oatmeal taste 10X better…

Scant 1/4 cup cooking oil (Goal is to cut this down pretty significantly by the end with applesauce)

1 tsp baking powder

Scant ½ cup brown sugar (another not necessary ingredient, with the frozen banana, but the flavor is delish!)

1 .5 cups rolled oats

Cinnamon (to taste)

1 egg

Flax seed (to…taste?  I just sprinkle a bit into the mix)

 

This is really easy to make.  Just blend together the Kale Milk and next the frozen banana (do you know the trick of putting bananas in the freezer?).  Add this to mix of dry ingredients and the egg.  Stir it up and bake at 275 until done.   This particular recipe fills up a 9×9 pyrex and I have plenty to eat for the week!

We don’t have a microwave, so I eat mine cold with a little bit lot of milk

(and a cup of coffee…) but it’d be delicious warmed up!

I’ve made this particular recipe a number of times and feel pretty comfortable in being able to cut back some of the oil and sugar and messing around with other ingredients instead.   To make it more nutritious for next time, I’m going to use more kale and combo it with spinach, so I can really amp up the greens.  I’m thinking I may add some nut butter or greek yogurt to the mix also for some added protein and keep the flax seed.  Sub out some oil with applesauce and reduce the sugar by using a frozen banana and I’ll be super happy.  Some day I’d love to try Chia seeds.  Anyone out there ever try the seeds?  Like ‘em?  Love ‘em?  Can’t stand ‘em?

Any other ideas for how to put together a “make it ahead of time” healthy breakfast?

xo

Ready set go

January 24, 2012

Man oh man.  Does anyone else NOT remember their weekend, let alone the week prior to? I think I spent half of yesterday trying to remember what the heck I did LAST week, so I could figure out what to do THIS week.  Doesn’t help that I didn’t have a healthy breakfast or fresh lunch planned.  But that’s what no food in the fridge will do for ya.  Thankfully, after last night’s marathon session of “Get my life together and organized” and I’m happy to say, that although a little achy and tired, I had, among other things, a clean floor, tasty breakfast (lovin’ my newest Baked Oatmeal combo!) and a delicious healthy lunch packed for today.  Sometimes, a girl just needs her day to get things in order, in order to face the day.

Moving on.

I RAN IN THE SNOW GUYS.  5.5 (oops, overran a bit) miles of winter running.  As expected, I actually enjoyed myself a lot.  I could tell my body was starting to get a little tired towards the end, but that’s to be expected and what training is for.  I realized a little too late that I probably should have packed a loose long sleeve t-shirt to go over my underarmour, but managed to stay warm enough for the duration of the run.  I sure am glad I packed that extra pair of socks though… Really, the only thing that was (oddly) cold by the end of the run, were my triceps and elbows.  Go figure.  But, the really important thing is that the run felt great.  And even though it was really hard to convince myself to lace up and head out, as soon as I took the first step, I knew it was the right thing to do.  I don’t push it speed wise on my longer runs, I’m trying hard to use them as a way to get used to distance and duration of exercise.  But, even with all of that precaution, I’m still really happy with getting my mileage in just under an hour.   I haven’t forgotten my goal of hitting a sub 28 minute 5k and plan on keeping up with my speed work during the week.  Here’s a tally of my first week of training:

Total Mileage:  Mon: 3.1 miles, Tues: 3.5 miles, Thurs: 3.5 miles, Sat:  5.5 miles.  So total, that puts me at 15.6 miles.  Probably a little higher than what I was supposed to do, but I wasn’t going to miss that Monday 5k!  And if I’m not hurting too much with that extra mileage, I don’t see that it’s a big deal.

For training this week, it’s a repeat of last week.

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

4

Stretch/strength

3.5 mile run

2 mile run or XT

3.5 mile run + strength

Rest

40 mi XT

5 mile run

I really enjoyed fitting in my final XT session on Friday morning last week, so I may opt for switching up the training schedule to push my long runs to Saturday – because I CLEARLY require at least a Sunday to prepare myself for the upcoming week J  Besides, there’s no better way to start a weekday than with an endorphin rush!    Although this morning’s run, was NOT a pretty one.  But I pushed my comfort zone speed wise and am really satisfied with that.

After a week of leftovers and a busy weekend, that didn’t exactly embody the spirit of healthy eating, I’m really looking forward to having planned meals all this week that include a TON of fresh veggies and protein.  Especially given how busy I think I’m going to be at work, a nice hot, nutritious meal will be extremely welcome.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and was able to prepare for the week ahead!  Can you believe its already half way over tomorrow??

xo

Everyone has a limit.

January 23, 2012

See that? That’s me, cutting myself some slack.

Xo

So yeah. This week happened. Yeeeesh. Was it one of those weeks for anyone else? A ton to do, but never TOO much to do, yet somehow I never quite felt like I got a hold of it all. And while usually I would have a weekend of recoop to look forward to after a long week, that won’t exactly be the case this go –round. Its fair though, my weekend at home is full of meetings and appointments that have to get done, so its not for naught!

Part of my jumbled feeling, I’m sure has to do with trying to get myself “on schedule” with my half marathon training. I am exhaustedly happy to say, that effort was successful! 5 days straight of 5:20 wake up calls and pre-dawn workouts are in the books. Last night’s lifting session was a bit of a struggle, but I compromised with myself and ran through a short series of upper body lifts and some sun salutations to finish out the night. It felt good to stretch – I really can’t wait to incorporate more yoga back into my routine, but for now, saving money is the name of the game! So I’ll stick to self-directed poses and take what I can from that 🙂 A 5 mile run is on the schedule for this weekend and I’m hoping to get it in either tomorrow or Sunday evening. Its supposed to be a little wintery outside at home this weekend, so it may be a nice change of scenery or…it may be cold and dangerously slippery. I’ve never actually ran in the snow/wintery mix, so I’m not sure how it would go. I have a sneaking suspicion I might like it though.

All the same, I thought I’d check out a few tips from runners world to keep in mind when I lace up this weekend. Seems like the most important thing, as usual, is to simply stay smart. If its icy and cars are all over the road. Live to fight run another day. If its nice and quiet out, but still slippery, run where its packed down to avoid any major ice. I may double up on the socks bit as my Adidas are extremely light weight. Last thing I need are cold wet blistery feet – yuck! So lets see – extra socks, some underarmour, a winter hat and gloves, and my new reflective belt (saweeeeet) are all getting tossed into the bag for the weekend.

How about you all? Anyone live where you have to run in the winter weather if you want to run outside? Any tips/suggestions/do’s and don’ts are 100% appreciated.

 

And because this post started out in my head as a grumble fest – I’d like to counteract that by ending with some positivity 🙂

1. Its Friday. And even though it’s a busy weekend ahead, it’s a weekend!

2. I kicked some major butt in the self-discipline dept this week and feel really proud of my workouts.

3. I managed to clean out a lot of the food in my fridge and freezer with a week of “leftovers” meals and save some money in the process.

4. I got a lot done this week at work and know I have good things to show at my meeting next week.

5. And last but not least….

Yup. Two insanely adorable and ok…maybe strange, children. 🙂  I am a cell phone photograph NINJA.

 

Happy weekending everyone!

xo