Snow Days

December 10, 2013

Oh last Friday…Also known as:

soup and bread

That random day where I had the genius idea to throw every leftover veggie and container of cooked rice into the crock pot as a surprise, leave for work in the drizzle and come home in a cold wet down pour to  an “extra two points” from the Hubs because our house smelled like a delicious warm bowl of soup that was ready to eat.   And when I say that, I mean, with huge hunks of fresh baguette smeared in earth balance, duh.

That, my friends – is the magic of a crock pot.

This soup was seriously delicious, it absolutely hit the spot.  We had been craving a veggie soup since the explosion of food that is otherwise known as Thanksgiving week.   I normally use two big cans of diced tomatoes, but this time around I switched out one of those cans for a can of crushed tomatoes.  The switch added a little more tomatoey depth (technical term folks, use it) to the soup and with that change plus the leftover rice from the night before, the soup really thickened up into almost a stew, especially with the meaty cremini mushrooms thrown in.   More magic?  I was feeling pretty lazy when I threw the soup together in morning, so the mushrooms only got cut in half, the celery, squash and zucc were chopped REALLY thick, tore up the green beans with an “eh…that looks about even” form of measurement and didn’t even bother to take knife to the baby carrots – in they go!.  A can of corn with its liquid and a few bay leaves, a healthy dose of cumin, garlic powder and black pepper and I was done.   Honestly – no recipe.  Just went with what I had and it turned out perfect.   We froze a bunch for another cold night and had the leftovers for our snow day on Sunday and it tasted just as good. There’s just something about soup that makes you want to curl up in thick cozy socks and be warm and comfortable, especially after a cold wintry day.

the front

We have another snow day today and so I’m hanging out at home.  While the adult in me is really frustrated that I can’t get into work and get some things done (when did THAT happen?), I’m trying really hard to embrace the extra day I’ve been given to get some other things done too.  I have a few things I can do to work from home, so I am grateful for that – and I now have a few more hours in the day to get some presents wrapped, the rest of the decorations up, an early workout in and some more cookies baked.  I’ve got my best gal friends on speed dial (text?) to keep me company and a mug with my name on it.  Plus, it really is hard to waste so much energy being frustrated, when something is so beautiful and we are safe and warm enough to enjoy it. 

winter wonderland

And another perfect day for another perfect bowl of soup.  I’m thinking this recipe:

http://www.dailygarnish.com/recipes?recipe_id=6000059

Wherever you are, I hope you are warm and safe and dry!

coz

And happy 🙂

xo

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Holiday Hangover

December 4, 2013

Woof.  Holidays.

How I can fly half way across the country and still manage to stick to a relatively healthy eating schedule and maintain all workouts, yet make it home to my mom’s house for a week and feel like a slug is beyond me.

Not really.  But sort’ve.

Last week I spent the week enjoying the comforts of home.  This week, I’m looking back on how I spent it.  My eating habits and lifestyle habits are relatively healthy compared to most, so I can’t say that I was “bad” for the whole week – but if I were to sit back and compare my extremely clean diet and workout schedule of the past few months to just a week of going back to how I used to be, I learned a few things.  So, instead of wallowing in the “I wish I had”s, I’ll share.

Happily, a week of not being on a high intensity workout schedule and super clean diet (we’re talking, minimal sugar, carb cycling, loads of protein and whole food style eating) didn’t have an “immediate” change on my outward appearance.  I may have felt a little softer, a big jigglier, but in actuality, my weight didn’t fluctuate at all.    What it DID have an effect on however, was my mentality and emotions.  I THOUGHT I was all of those things, I was down on myself and felt lazy.  And not the good kind of lazy where you think “I deserve this break”.  I felt sluggish and frustrated from a lack of workouts, dehydrated from not drinking enough water and most interestingly to me, I couldn’t for the life of me get a handle on my eating schedule and my body did NOT react well.

I eat about 5-6 smaller healthy meals a day, am a water weekdays warrior (alcohol on the weekends only) and I try to drink 1-2 liters of water each day too.  But that schedule is pretty hard to maintain when you’re home away from home and out with friends and family that you haven’t seen every night.   You have a beer to be social, you eat out almost every night.   I tried to stick with healthier options, salads for lunch and dinners out, fresh fruit at breakfast (love a crisp cold apple fresh from the farmers market), but even a salad can start to feel heavy when you’re eating out.  And I missed my clean protein sources.  That was my biggest issue – I made some protein bars to bring along, but even they started to feel heavy after awhile.  Sugar was EVERYWHERE and I ended up with more than a few sugar headaches.  And the absolute worst I felt, was after my Thanksgiving meal.

First off – let me just say that anyone who thinks Vegans have to go hungry at Thanksgiving, you are officially invited to our house next year – SO much food on my plate.  I think my plate was piled higher than most of the table.  I made a vegan lentil loaf and a mushroom and leek seitan roulade that was to DIE for.   There were also brussel sprouts, green beans and some of my mom’s stuffing that she very sweetly has veganized for me, sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow cooked sweet little onions (we’re talking 18 hrs here kids)  cooked in some red wine, crazy number of homemade cranberry sauces. So. Much. Food.  The problem though, was that being used to eating the number of smaller meals in a day, having a small breakfast and then one LARGE meal in the afternoon that basically covered all of my caloric intake for the week had me feeling awful.  I ended up in bed early with a migraine and what felt like impending doom of sickness.  Luckily (and far less dramatically), I was fine the next morning.

I can say that although I wasn’t “working out” persay, I was fairly active for the majority of the week and even made it out to peruse some of the stores on Friday.   Which leads me to another post for another day – but is anyone else starting to be a little tired of the extreme consumerism these days?  Buying gifts because they flash the brightest and honk the loudest instead of finding a special gift and embracing the spirit, etc etc.

But for now – I’m back home.  Sleep deprived (why is it that my first few nights back on a real and deliciously comfortable bed I sleep AWFULLY), but slowly getting back into the swing of workouts and healthy eating.  I’m back to my small meals and got myself moving last night with some circuit style lifting and moderate cardio.    Just in time for the Christmas festivities to start!  We have our Christmas lights up on the house and are planning out our Christmas tree strategy/decorating.  I’m determined to enjoy each holiday this year as much as I can.  Because we should.

Hope everyone else has recovered from the holidays and maybe even had a healthier go of it than I did!

xo

Perks

December 20, 2012

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The best thing about vegan baking?

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Guilt free batter stealing.

Xo

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I’m pretty lucky that I’m happy enough at my job that the (lately) early mornings and late night’s don’t really bother me, but on the hand I am definitely looking forward to the following, starting Saturday. 1. Sipping coffee from a real mug NOT while getting ready for work or driving to work. 2. Seeing my best friends and enjoying way too many shopping sprees and gigglefits. 3. Seeing family 4. Watching my cats run around a much larger house.than ours. 5. Um. Christmas and new years. 6. Not needing to wake up at 5 (but.grumbling when my body thinks otherwise) 7. Leisurely working from home on my laptop with no real deadline or necessity. Going home isn’t always easy when you’re the only vegan around, but my parents are pretty understanding, which is awesome. All the same, I try to bring my own stash of things like almond and hemp milk, earth balance, COOKIES, and other tidbits of.food to nibble on. I’m also going to pack some low key workout gear and my resistance bands. With all of these long days I haven’t really had the time (or energy) to get to the gym for a workout. I’m not expecting miracle runs or lifting epiphanies, but I’ll be happy to.get in some activity. Stay healthy for the holidays, friends! Xo

U-g-l-y

December 13, 2012

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Last night we dressed up for my husbands work holiday party. The theme was ugly Christmas Sweater (clearly). We decided to go all out and really do it up. I’m glad we did, it was a blast to put the outfits together and get people to laugh!

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Disclaimer: my husband is not 8 ft tall Hope everyone is enjoying these last few weeks before the holiday break! Xo

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Just popping in to say I hope you had a jolly good weekend. We got some gift shopping done, some wrapping and some diying. Not to mention a night out, a holiday party, work and football! I may not have gotten any legit workouts in as they’re typically defined, but I kept my food healthy and spent more than a few hours running around all weekend. I think that counts, legit or not 😉 Speaking of holiday parties, this was the first year I was invited to an at home work party. I took it as an opportunity to dress to the nines

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I’m in love with these pants. I went for old Hollywood glamour. Oooh la la 🙂 Hope everyone else had a great weekend! Xo

A healthier December

December 4, 2012

So, um – yum?  Cheesy kale, roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms with ume vinegar and a mix of lentils and baked beans…My first attempt at cheesy kale, and getting back on the whole foods, semi-macrobiotic diet train.  Oh how i’ve missed you plate full of veggies, beans and grains!image

For the month of December, i’ve decided to consciously make a healthy decision instead of the unhealthy alternative each day.  I’ve been in a bit of a workout/healthy living slump lately and I can’t exactly figure out why. 

Arguably my cardio has waned since my last few races over the summer.  And now, suddenly, I’m finding my love of Bodypump is starting to taper off also.  There are more than a few reasonable points of explanation for this, which  I found myself thinking about instead of going back to sleep yesterday morning after deciding I wasn’t going to head in to class…(sigh). 

1.  Getting up at 5 in the morning is just not appealing to me right now.  Its not enough sleep, its not enjoyable to get ready in the dark and stumble out the door and rush to the gym.  And I’ve found I missed having my (albeit short) morning with Brandon. 

2.  The benefits are no longer what they used to be.  Yes, the class did help me to tone up and yes, it provided variety and a sense of accomplishment and comraderie during a time that I didn’t have that at all when I was working.  It filled that void, but I’m finding that maintaining tone, is not the same as building muscle definition, which is something i’ve been looking for more of lately.  As for the sense of accomplishment and comraderie, well – since changing positions at work, I’m a lot more satisfied in that department these days. 

3.  Watching people do the lifts so blatantly wrong, and not be corrected for it was irking me to no end.  I realize that the instructors probably aren’t allowed to say much, but that doesn’t stop it from bothering me.

So,  my conclusion, is to take these feelings to heart and forgo the body pump class for awhile.  I’m not saying I won’t go back every now and again, but right now, I’ve found myself leaning towards the more traditional style of lifting, heavier weights, fewer reps – which I’ve always enjoyed.  I had started my own collection of weights awhile back and am looking to expand on that in the next year or so and really get back into developing lifting routines for myself that are challenging and fun. 

Which leads me to my healthy decisions thus far for December:

Over the weekend, while grocery shopping, I put the quick and easy solutions for snacks and breakfast back on the shelf and promised myself I’d get back into making my own food, instead of opening up the box sitting on the pantry shelf.  The result?  A fun and new holiday twist on some baked oatmeal i’m excited to share soon.

And now, yesterday’s healthier choice:  You already know I didn’t go to bodypump yesterday morning.  But what I did do – is come home and work my way through a solid lifting routine with my own weights at home.  Here’s what I did:

lunge w/ single arm shoulder press and leg lift combo ( 3×10 per side, I shamelessly copied this move from www.fitsugar.com)

Rolling side planks for 2 minutes (again, fitsugar.com

Squat with hammer curls (3×10)

Oblique tricep pushup (3×10 per side, fitsugar.com)

Chest fly with v-crunch (3×10, fitsugar.com – is there a pattern here??)

Single leg dead lifts (3×10)

It was tough to get through, but felt great afterwards and this morning too.  I’m not sore or achy, but can definitely tell I lifted.  With these conscious efforts to eat healthier and get back into a solid workout routine, I’m hoping to stave off any impending “MUST LOSE WEIGHT AND GET BACK TO THE GYM New Years Resolutions” 🙂

xo