Soup Success!

February 26, 2013

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It’s no secret that I love my crockpot and last night’s soup did nothing to change my mind. However, it is a little more prep than normal involved. I came up with this idea after a serious hankering for some root veggies roasted with a healthy dose of Smoked Spanish Paprika. Normally I’d be perfectly content to toss the veggies with some pasta and call it a day. The problem, was that last night my husband needed a fuss free dinner and a clean kitchen. So a crockpot meal was in order. Besides, roasted veggies is a weekend meal in my book, since otherwise it would mean eating dinner at 10. Not really, but it would still make for a late night meal.

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Instead of giving up on the idea, I went ahead with roasting the veggies on Sunday night, including 2 sweet potatoes, 3 large carrots, 1/2 medium celery root (peeled), 3 cloves of garlic, 1 small/medium onion, tossed in olive oil and smoked paprika.  The next morning I threw them all into a crockpot with about 5 cups of water and half a veggie bouillon cube and let it cook away on low for the day.  You wouldn’t need the crockpot either, you could absolutely roast the veggies and simmer in some veggie broth directly afterwards.  For us, the crockpot was the way to go and when we got home, it smelled great as was, but didn’t look altogether appetizing and I already had my mind set on a bisque of sorts, so I used my immersion blender to whiz it up, adding in more water bits at a time (and a splash of almond milk, although I don’t think it needed it) until I got the right consistency.  Alternatively, you could’ve thrown it into a blender in smaller batches and pureed it that way.   The immersion blender is fast and easy and requires less transporting of the soup, which in my book = less mess and a happy husband.

To top of the soup I added in some more paprika (plus a garnish for my soup, I can’t help it, the stuff is addicting!), a touch of cinnamon and a splash of Rye (Bourbon would do the same thing).   We served it with a side of homemade molasses cornbread, where I replaced the sugar (we have none in the house right now) with molasses.  It had the perfect amount of sweet, without being overly so.  Slathered with some earthbalance, it was a proud moment for me when I got the “this is pretty good” nod from B.   Baking without sugar in the house has been an adventure to say the least, but its just not something we’re looking to add to the grocery list right now unless we have a reason to.  Saving money can be so fun :-p  Actually, this non-sugar thing has been a fun experiment, to see what it is we really need in order to satisfy our “sweet cravings”, which happen few and far between to begin with.  I have to say that the molasses served its purpose well and may be a future replacement for most cornbread options from hereon out in our house!

Life can be stressful sometimes, especially on a Monday after a sleepless weekend, but bowls of soup like this are a nice way escape it for a while.  🙂

If you try it let me know and enjoy!

xo

In other news

February 21, 2013

It’s been one of those weeks, where I had a big presentation on Monday, and instead of having that exhale moment where I go home, have a cup of tea and relax, I stay at work late, can’t sleep and generally don’t relax. I have upped my mug of tea quota though.  So at least there’s that. 

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In other news: this justins chocolate almond butter needs to simultaneously get in my belly and out of my drawer at work, because it is delicious and very hard to not eat.  I had some on a banana this afternoon for a snack, but eventually cut out the middleman and knife fed it to myself.  I managed to stop before things got bad.  Thank goodness.

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Dinners have been a bit meh this week.  But last night it was nice to finish off the last of our asparagus with this fun new salad recipe from an old vegetarian cookbook.  Steamed asparagus, grape tomatoes and orange sections on a bed of spinach with a whip it up quick citrus vinaigrette.  Easy, quick and a refreshing change from the heavy winter foods as of late.

And finally

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Fear the purr.

Xo

Gymrat no more?

February 14, 2013

So yesterday was the beginning of Lent.  A day my husband likes to jokingly call a 2nd chance at some New Years Resolutions.  I have to laugh, because generally that’s true.  Most people give up something unhealthy and last year for Lent, (we’re not Catholic, but I enjoy the idea of Lent) I cut out dairy and eggs, essentially starting a Vegan lifestyle.  Which I have been able to continue through to the present time, with no plans to change!

Its funny though, because this year, I did something very different.  Without realizing the day, I actually ended up giving up my gym membership on the same day as Lent starts.  How strange is that, that on a day where most people are trying to reboot their healthy habits, I went ahead and did something silly like that.  It was initially a hard decision for me, but I broke it down and came to the following conclusions:

1.  I love my gym – but I’ve only been going for yoga classes once a week.   But I’ve been revamping my at home gym weights, etc.

2.  The cost of the gym, is about the same as going to a yoga studio (probably less!) once a week, so I justified the cost.

3.  I love love LOVE my yoga class.

4.  I haven’t actually been consistently going to yoga lately.

5.  We’re saving up some money for a house, so even when the amount is trivial, its still money saved and not spent.

So I opted to not resign my membership for another year.  We’re not sure if we’ll be living in an area that its convenient for me to even be a member at this gym and I can always resign up later.  But truthfully, i’m in no rush.  I’m grateful for the gym and what it helped me accomplish last year, but like with a lot of things in life, I seem to have grown out of the gym routine.  When I submitted my membership cancellation request last night, I was almost relieved.  Even though yoga was only one night a week, that one night had me feeling roped into a schedule with levels of guilt and stress related to working out that just shouldn’t be there, in my opinion 

So I gave up my gym membership for Lent and I’m hoping to use this as an opportunity to develop a stronger workout rotation at home, with more variety and different challenges.  I’ve also kicked around the idea of giving up alcohol (except for maybe special occasions, but a beer or glass of wine is sometimes just so good!) or maybe added sugars (but, Valentine’s day!?).  Its funny to me, that giving up dairy and eggs didn’t seem like a big deal at all,but a month without a drink or some added sugar?  That’s debilitating!  But one of my best friends used to always say that she gave up the hardest things for Lent, because it was a reminder to her of how important the practice was.  It sort’ve puts my excuses to shame, eh?

Anyhow – a rambling post for a lovey dovey Holiday! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY YA’LL!! We’re celebrating by my working a little later (d’oh), having some takeout on the couch and watching As Time Goes By, our favorite British Comedy. 

ps – did anyone elses’ hallmark envelope flap taste like chocolate when you licked it shut? Well played Hallmark, well played…

xo

Caesar salads

February 12, 2013

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We’re big fans of Caesar salads at our house and since discovering Alicia Silverstones Caesar dressing from The Kind Life, it’s been on constant rotation. The thing that is fun for me, is deciding what to put on top of the salad. Since meat and seafood are out, I tend to lean towards some marinated portabellas as our topping of choice. This past summer I tried out some roasted cauliflower (delicious) and last week, in an attempt to clear our fridge of leftovers, I grabbed the final stalks of asparagus and cooked them up in our grill pan with lots of fresh ground pepper. As a side, they would’ve been tasty, but wanting. As a salad topper, they were delicious and added a fun new twist. So you can imagine how happy I was, when I offered up bellas or asparagus as toppings for Caesar salad to my husband, who responded with a “yes”. So tonight, it’s Caesar salad with bellas and asparagus. Y.u.m. Anyone else choose fun things for salad toppings besides me?

February 8, 2013

Friday at last.  I was hoping to sneak in one more workout this week before the weekend hit, but a late night at work put that on hold.

Truth be told, I could use the rest, we’ve been traveling non stop lately, combo that with late night’s at work and poor sleep, I am definitely fighting off a cold.  I sneezed no fewer than a gazillion times today and used about as many tissues. Yikes! It’s definitely a kick in the butt to remember to eat healthy and keep up with my workouts. 

But for now, I’ll leave you with my most recently completed project. 

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While we were in Richmond a few weekends back, I saw a rainbow scarf at Claire’s that wasn’t worth the price, but definitely caught my eye.  Lucky for me, Michaels was right next door and I found this fun yarn to try and recreate the scarf!

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I used dbl crochet front post stitches for the length of the scarf and kept it relatively skinny.   I absolutely love the finished look and have been wearing it a ton this week!

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Another fun project off the hook and in the books! Happy weekend friends

Xo

February 6, 2013

Yoga Inspiration – http://pinterest.com/pin/61220876156589521/ Motivating myself to get to the gym and see my yoga instructor tonight! Looking for at least 4-5 workouts this week. Xo

Staying healthy

February 5, 2013

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Working hard at trying to feel more accomplished during the day. Not to mention keep a serious check on my health. This week is all about keeping track of how I’m eating and moving. Im trying to stay active during the day, that way if I dont get in a workout, I don’t feel too guilty. Also on tap is making sure I’m only eating when I’m hungry. Last week I’d eat when I was supposed to, not necessarily when I felt hungry, which left me feeling heavy and forever full. Very unpleasant. My current reading material (Michael Pollan) also has me truly reinvigorated about my eating habits. Last night I was in bed early, but tonight I got in a full set of lifting and an insanely delicious dinner of roasted veggies like asparagus, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes and carrots, seasoned with some peri peri and the most amazing Spanish smoked paprika ever, tossed with some petite peas, whole wheat pasta and some olive oil. Absolutely addicting.

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How are you staying healthy this winter? Xo