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

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Friends, if you are looking for a soup that will clear your sinuses, do I have a recipe for you.

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Wednesday nights, as you know – are my yoga nights, which means quick and easy meals are the go-to for dinners.   Last night we tried a new recipe from my Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook, “Chinese Hot-Pot Soup”.  Which is simply a combination of ginger and onions, chili pepper flakes, soy sauce, garlic and a bunch of veggies like carrots and water chestnuts, with snowpeas, tofu and mushrooms added at the end.

It smelled great walking in the door, but I may have been a little heavy handed with the spices 😉 (I added a little extra of the chili pepper flakes, and then, because I’m evil – some Sriacha sauce and chili paste.  Who AM I?).  This soup definitely tested the limits of my husband’s spice tolerance, and if we’re being honest here – mine too.   We were sniffing up a storm by the end of dinner, so this soup is definitely in the “I have a cold and can’t breathe out of my nose”, rotation But for the purposes of having something quick, healthy and lite to eat before zipping off to spend some time with my yoga mat, I’d say it was a success.image

I should warn you though, that on its own, the soup isn’t overly substantial.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for yoga, seeing as how I shouldn’t even really eat before class anyhow – but it was also a great excuse for me to make my newest obsession.   Cheezy Kale.  Seriously, 3 nights this week and I have had this side dish each.night.   Lucky me it also falls into the simple category – kale, olive oil and nutritional yeast.  Oven, stir. Boom.  A plate full of addicting.  At least to me, Brandon sort’ve snarls at it.  Have I mentioned kale is my happy food?

And can we just talk for a second, about how freaky it is when you go to class with something on your mind and your instructor either has a class or meditation planned that addresses those thoughts?  Sometimes its something as simple as hearing a song to reset your thoughts (raise your hand if this happened to you this week at the gym, because I know it did for me) – other times, like last night, it was something overly blatant, like naming the thoughts I had in my head.  It doesnt’ always happen, but it sure as hell is an amazing experience when it does, so enlightening, empowering and freeing, especially when you’re able to leave it all drain out of you afterwards.

So that is my healthy decision for last night, to take the cue and consciously decide to leave the thoughts I had in my head all in the yoga room.

Today’s decision was lunch.  In order to use up the soup, which wasn’t very appealing for a substantial lunch, I opted to drain the veggies from the spicy broth, cook up some millet and make a nice little veggies and grains macro lunch.  I may or may not have added some hot sauce.  I may or may not have a problem. 

xo

Yoooogaaa

November 28, 2012

So glad to be working my way back to yoga tonight. I havent been very good with keeping up a gym schedule for the fall, so getting back to one of my favorite classes is pretty major for me.  It’s been a hectic, albeit manageable few weeks, so nothing will feel better than seeing my smiling yoga instructor, Jennifer, again. 

I did get in a resistance band workout on Monday night, but I’m not kidding myself into thinking that will build muscle.  But a workout is a workout and for worn out as I felt on Monday, I’ll take it. 

Sneak peek at tmrws post

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I love crockpots!

Time to run off to spend a few quiet moments with myself.

Xo

Move over, mustard!

October 17, 2012

Lately I’ve been obsessed with adding some of my Ume Plum Vinegar or Umeboshi Plums even, to everything.  The vinegar is salty and sour and the perfect addition to pan roasted mushrooms, steamed veggies, grains, soups – you name it! And on days when I’m a little headachy or under the weather, I’ve started looking forward to a macrobiotic “cure all” of chopping up some umeboshi plums in my tea. 

These babies are no joke and nothing like a sweet plum you’re used to.  They are intensly salty and certainly an acquired taste – although I’ve found that I truly enjoyed both forms very quickly  – I thank my cleaner diet the past few months for that. 

In honor of my newest favorite condiment, check out this  article I came across about some of the history behind the plum.  But don’t blame me if you suddenly crave a little bit of rice with a perfectly placed plum in the middle 😉

Off to yoga tonight! I’m starting to crave my practice about 2-3 days before I go to class.  Its an expensive hobby (I take my yoga class through my gym, so I’m not paying per class – and I love it!), so I’m not quite ready to invest in the more traditional classes at a Yoga Studio.  However, I’m thinking of upping my at home yoga practices again, maybe some free online yoga sequences (any suggestions?) or a Yoga DVD. 

Happy mid-week ladies and gents!

xo

Truckin’ along

October 3, 2012

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I’ll be honest, I haven’t quite hit the “yoga is good for my mind” phase just yet.  Its just so darn hard to turn the mind off.  But it gets a little better and easier each time I go and I’m starting to try and incorporate just a few minutes of deep breathing into my day – its amazing how shallow our breath gets when we forget to take deep breaths.

Happy Wednesday folks!

xo

Do you Detox?

September 21, 2012

There’s nothing like a scary eternity moment on one these

 

To make you head for a set of these.

 

Last Friday I had a not so pleasant experience on an elevator.  It probably serves me right, considering I work on the 3rd floor, but was just too lazy, shy, embarrassed to ask, in order to find the steps.  Needless to say I have been cured of that little quirk, right quick.  I’ve taken the steps each day this week and beyond not having to worry about the (however unlikely) doom of an elevator crashing to the ground with me in it, I am surprised at how much this small change has helped me to feel  physically.  I feel just a little slimmer, a little stronger and definitely a little more proud (ok ok, this one is a mental plus, but that counts too).

Then, in yoga on Wednesady, we did an autumn detox class in preparation for the upcoming equinox (tomorrow).  It sounds scary, but it was an extremely satisfying class of compressions and twists to help our body eliminate residual toxins.  I found a few articles while reading up on the idea of detoxing in the fall and what I found was pretty interesting. 

A lot of people consider detox to be a spring thing, to sort of help wake our bodies up from a long winter.  So why do it in the fall? From what I’ve read (here and here), from the Yoga perspective, fall is the perfect time to remind ourselves to slow down and recollect ourselves. We’re adding on to our schedules, we’re still pretty hyped up from summer and we’ve got a long and physically stressful winter coming up – so its time to prepare for that.  Another analogy that really struck with me is thinking of it in terms of a harvest.  By the end of the summer, the major fruits and veggies and flowers have run their course and its time to clean away the remnants and prepare yourself for the next growing season in the spring.     

Although I’m not sure yet how I feel about the traditional detox route for myself, personally – I do like the idea of finding ways to eliminate toxins, whether its mental/emotional, physical or nutritional.  Which comes full circle to my elevator/stairs story – a detox.   Confused yet? 

I’ve decided to take a bit of a different approach to a detox and eliminate a few habits by replacing them with some better ones.  The idea being that small changes can add up to a big difference in how I feel.  So…

Instead of taking the elevator, I will take the steps – I’ve already mentioned feeling the benefits of this change.

Focus on workouts I enjoy, instead of ones I think I should do – I have been telling myself I’ll start up a spin class (6 am!) that’s offered at my gym.  The idea came to me when I was low on cardio.  For two weeks now I’ve packed my gym bag and for two weeks my body has revolted and refused to get out of bed at 5.  But come Mondays and Fridays I am out of bed and off to the gym for my early AM body pump classes – what gives? I gave it some hard and serious thought this week.  I’ve taken spin before, I know what to expect, so it wasn’t a nervousness of the “unknown”.  Then I remembered, I took spin with my friend, but it never really resonated with me.  I was never dying to get back to the next class.  So then why was I so eager to try this class?  Partially because I love the instructor and I think that kind of environment is a great way to start a morning, but if I was 100% honest with myself, the root of this decision was based in a negative habit of exercising simply to burn calories. I had been in a cardio slump and feeling the negative effects.   Once I worked myself out of that slump the right way (tweaking the diet, getting some sleep and settling back into a workout routine) I realized I wasn’t doing any of these things to burn calories, but because I enjoyed them.  Lesson learned, back burner that spin class until its something I’m in the mood to do.  Instead, I’m going to replace it with workouts I’ve been looking forward to, pump, yoga and some hiking and biking outdoors!

A glass of water each morning (and afternoon and night…):  When I wake up I reach straight for my coffee cup and nothing makes me look forward to a morning more than that first sip.  And trust me, I’m not going to get rid of that pleasure anytime soon – but what I will do, is drink a full glass of water before I do anything else.  I’m also making it a goal to replace nothing with water.  I tend to make it through a whole day without a sip of anything except my coffee in the morning. So I will replace that drinking nothing, with drinking more water.

Nutrition:  I’ve always said that I eat a pretty healthy and balanced diet.  That being said, I don’t really feel the need to eliminate any particular food.  But what I will try to do is eliminate even more of the processed foods and try for more whole-food, homemade, etc.  Homemade desserts (I’m lookin at you apples), homemade bread (best way to control the dairy and egg consumption in store bought breads is to make.your.own.), MORE GRAINS.  I don’t eat enough whole grains (perhaps I should start labeling the jars so I know what is what…) and I’m going to try to have some every day.  Mmmm. 

So that’s my plan for a self-moderated detox this fall.  But in the spirit of traditional detox (because they tend to be for a set amount of time and a little more stringent).  I’ve set the following two goals for myself starting tomorrow for a full week:

  1.  Find time to do yoga or meditate for a few minutes each night – this will help detox any negative thoughts or stress I have lingering around.  One of my favorite yoga poses is a seated twist, so I know what I’ll be starting with tomorrow!
  2. Whole grains each day, ideally for breakfast – if I’m honest with myself, this probably won’t happen, at least for breakfast each day.  But I’d like to prepare a dish of whole grains with some greens to start my morning with (maybe with some beets or sweet potatoes?) yumm and at the very least gobble down at lunch or with dinner.

Two may sound wimpy, but I know me – and I know these won’t be easy to accomplish.  Does anyone else have some detox goals to start off the fall with??

Xo

PS:  If you’re looking for a way to get in a real fall detox Savory Simple has a giveaway going on to help make that happen.  Check it out!

Cheating a little

September 5, 2012

I’m cheating a little bit by showing you something I made last week – but I am super proud of the meal.    And I think it still embodies my goal of incorporating more whole foods into our meals.    Even if its a no-brainer of an idea, sometimes they’re the ones that taste the best.

Friends, allow me to introduce you to the best way to use up leftover chile.  Meet, the chile enchilada.

I had some leftover black bean and sweet potato chile last week that we wanted to use up before the weekend.  So we opted to make some homemade enchiladas.  I was worried the chile on its own just wouldn’t be quite enough, so I whipped together a mix of wild rice and farro with some enchilada sauce to add a few more grains and some crunch.

ps – that was some good thinking.

Add some Daiya cheddar, the necessary enchilada sauce and popped it in the oven to warm it all up.  And we found ourselves with a delicious alternative to warming up a bowl of leftover chile.

Lovin’ this shorter work week  – but definitely trying to keep up with the normal workout schedule.  Got in my cardio last night and dang was it tough.  Guys, I forced myself back onto the treadmill.  I’ve been thinking about slipping back into my running routine, especially since I’m a weirdo and actually hurt from using the elliptical.   One thing that I am a firm believer of, is that running gets easier as you become lighter.  Makes sense, right?  Any cardio will.  So after a week or two of pretty healthy eating habits and filtering back in the lifting and cardio, I thought I’d try my hand at running again.  I didn’t have any illusions of bangin’ out a PR, but I was hoping for a decent run.  I’ve been trying to figure out why its taken me so long to hop back on the tread and part of it is really that I’ve become comfortable not running.  I was also a little nervous about the struggle I knew it was going to be.  And I was right, it wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t anywhere near a PR, but it wasn’t AWFUL either.  My knee was a little tweaked, I took a short two minute walking break to walk out a cramp and I was s.l.o.w.  But I am happy to say I logged 3 miles, because hey – mileage is mileage, right?  Besides, despite my anti excuses mantra, I HAVE had a rough couple of months.  So if it takes a little bit for me to work back into a healthy lifestyle – that’s cool with me.

So as a reward for my run yesterday, I am pumped for some  much needed yoga tonight!  Its not our normal instructor (who I love to pieces), but if its the normal substitute instructor, it should be a relaxing hour of gentle stretching – which will probably feel great after yesterday’s run.  Still on the fence about my elliptical warm up.  But I have some tofu cooking in the crockpot for a quick and easy dinner tonight of Tofu BBQ (first time trying this out).  I’m excited to see how the tofu holds up – i’ve been making sloppy joes using some veggie “beef” crumbles, but they’re not vegan and in the spirit of eating less processed foods, I’ve gone for tofu instead.  Reminds me of the manwich commercials:

“Mama don’t you make me another sandwich! Forget the mac and cheese, I want some fun slapped on a bun I want a <tofu>manwich pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease”

Happy Wednesdaying everyone!

xo