Walk it off

This past winter, I got a great deal on a watch. This was no ordinary watch, but one of those sporty heart rate monitor exercise watches. The only problem with these watches is that the battery doesn’t last nearly as long as a regular watch as they are working so much harder and tracking so much more. So, the battery died about 2 months ago. Last week, Brian was trying to change the battery and accidentally broke the LCD screen on it. He very kindly bought me a new watch, which might actually be an upgrade to my old watch. This one also had a pedometer, calculates the calories you burn throughout the day based on your heart rate and you can set daily goals on it. I really like. It’s also very motivating to move more.

I had a lot of errands to run this weekend and by run, I mean walk. Since we don’t have a car, I do a lot of walking, especially on the weekend. Motivated by my watch to walk a little more than usual, I logged about 20 miles this weekend. How did I fuel all of this walking?

Big breakfasts! And lots of coffee.

Saturday morning, I was very indecisive about what I wanted for breakfast, so I had a little bit of everything. Strawberries and watermelon, an egg with sriracha, and a piece of cinnamon toast. Half with pumpkin butter and the other half with mashed banana and a little cookie butter.

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After a morning trip to the store and an exciting sale on homemade guacamole, I had a lunch of lots of fruits, veggies and an open-faced chicken and guacamole sandwich.  I love homemade guac, but when they sell the good stuff for less than I can make it, I’ll take it!

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A dinner of more chicken and guac, veggies, hummus and chips. I’m really trying to take advantage of the last of the fresh veggies while I can.

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Saturday night, I made some falafel with an extra helping of greens.

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Then I spent a night in with a glass of wine and my sewing machine doing some mending for Brian.

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Sunday’s breakfast was a helping of toast, guac, bacon and eggs with a pumpkin pie muffin.

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That was a very finger-licking and runny yolk! Mmm!

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Brian had a banana and chocolate chip muffin reheated with a smear of cookie butter on top.

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After running errands, a long shoe shopping trip for Brian, lunch at Native Foods(salads for both of us), and buying fabric for me, I did some more sewing. I sewed a yoga mat bag for myself. I have lululemon’s big mat. It is no longer available on the website, but is wider and longer than the average yoga mat and great if you are taller than average and struggle to stay on your mat during classes. Hence it being bigger than average, it doesn’t fit in most yoga bags. So, I loosely followed Kick Stand Fitness’s directions to make a bag. It took me about and hour, start to finish. I even added an interior pocket. Super easy and functional. Definitely work the 1 yard of fabric and one hour of work.

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Sunday’s dinner was fruit, salad and veggie lasagna. I bought the lasagna pre-made and thought it was great. Packed with flavor and protein, I’d definitely buy it again.

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With falafel and leftover veggie lasagna, it looks to be another veggie filled week! And what is great is that during this week’s heat wave, we can live on leftovers and I won’t have to heat up the kitchen!

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Goodbye, summer

Friday seems like so long ago that I can hardly remember what we  did.  We had plans to go out to eat, but with some torrential down pours right after I got home from work, we decided to order in. We ordered in some chicken shawarma from a new restaurant. It was so-so. So far, I haven’t found a place that competes with a a restaurant by my work. Then we set up an assembly line and put together our wedding invitations. After that was done, we rewarded ourselves with some couch time and started watching Orange is the New Black. Is everyone else watching this show? You should be! It’s great.

Saturday morning, I got up and made a veggie loaded breakfast with homemade tomato sauce, spinach, and eggplant. It was so delicious.

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Then I headed out for a busy day of going to the post office, hair cut and eye exam. The lovely lady at the post office gave me multiple kinds of misinformation including that we needed more postage for our invitations and that they don’t sell the stamps we need at that post office. Being that I needed to get to my hair cut, I delegated the other post office run to Brian. He had a pleasant post office experience, unlike mine, and the man at the other post office said we didn’t need extra postage, hand stamped our invites and mailed them for Brian. After having several unpleasant experiences with the post office closest to us, I will never be going there again. I will happily go out of my way and take extra time to go to a different office. Before my haircut, I stopped at a burger place by our wedding venue and tried out the Hurt Burger. It was supposed to be incredible spicy, but I didn’t think it had much of a kick, despite having jalapenos on it. The fries were really good though. My excuse for eating a burger and fries for lunch is that I need to be able to give wedding guests accurate information about eating establishments around our hotel. Ha!

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Sunday morning, I experimented with a new pancake recipe for Brian. They were incredibly dense and not the proper color, but he said they tasted great. Maybe it was all the cookie butter I slathered on them.

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Frustrated by his wonky pancakes, I didn’t pay much attention to my breakfast cooking and botched my eggs. I spent a good while at my garden then went to my last class of aquatic exercise of the summer. IO am saddened that I will have no more opportunities to be in the pool.  We had a quick “clean out the fridge” lunch before going to buy groceries and run errands. We stopped at Target and goofed around in the toy aisle. I spent the rest of my evening planning Monday’s cook-a-thon and watching more episodes of Orange is the New Black.

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Monday started off with a bang and an open-face egg sandwich. I headed into the kitchen to make black bean brownies, pumpkin muffins with pumpkin pie filling tops(they taste much better than they look), homemade, bbq sauce, curried ginger pumpkin soup, sunbutter and ended the day by grilling steak, burgers, chicken and veggies. We should be eating well all week!

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My long weekend was wonderful and productive with plenty of fresh air and exercise. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Priorities

I’ve recently written about how my summer was filled with cook outs and perhaps a little more indulgence that necessary. Since I have been back on track with a healthier lifestyle and exercise plan, I have felt a lot better and have been sleeping better.

Today, this was posted on Facebook and it really struck true to me. This is how I have always felt about people, myself included, when excuses are made.

“Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.” ~Laura Vanderkam

I think this expands way beyond healthy life style choices and is a great way to re-examine multiple aspects of life.

 

 

Gone again

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I spent most of last week mostly unplugged. I left from work on Wednesday and headed to my parents for 4 days of much-needed rest, relaxation and distance from social media. I wasn’t without but with it much less. I spent much of my days outdoors, running at the track, running errands, taking walks with my parents, lounging in the back yard and taking pictures of their pretty flowers.

While at my parents, I discovered these delicious green bean “chips” in their pantry. I immediately became addicted:

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Saturday, I spend part of the day at a camp reunion for the camp I worked at during my summers in college. I got to see long time friends and play around like I was a kid again. We trekked it up to the corral and reminisced on our time with the horses, went creek stomping and goofed around. I love that place. There is a sense of calm just being out there. I can’t wait to stay out there for a whole weekend next summer! Bedbug helped put away the dishes. Let’s just hope she didn’t put bowls in the plates cabinet:

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Saturday night we had dinner at Big Muddy’s with some long time family friends that I haven’t seen in far too long. The Mississippi is out of its banks gain, threatening the downtown.

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And I think the airline was trying to send me a message on my suitcase:

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Thanks for all your patience. I’m sure I’ll be putting up lots of pictures of grilled food tomorrow as it is the 4th and I will definitely be grilling out!

Happy Independence Day!

Fun and fantastic

This past weekend was awesome. The weather was great and Brian and I ended up doing some spontaneous things and really taking advantage of the city. Something I need to do more often. That’s why I live here, right?

Brian took me out to dinner on Friday night because our fridge was bare! We hadn’t really gone grocery shopping in 2 weeks and we had been squeaking by on pantry staples and freezer meals all week. The upside to this was that, our fridge was bare. How is that an upside? It was the perfect opportunity to pull everything out and wipe down the shelves. A task that was long over due! Look at its glowing beauty afterwards:

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After my speed cleaning fridge session, I headed out the door to walk to meet Brian for dinner. The weather was perfect for eating dinner outside and this place had a patio(no coincidence). We started off our meal with the bone marrow appetizer which came with a great arugula salad and pickled cherry. It was the perfect flavor combination.

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I had a delicious and dark beer made with 3 different types of coffee beans:

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And was only able to eat half of my Legend’s of the Daal wrap(very tasty):

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The place is mostly known for their burgers. Brian got Elvis’ Last Supper with house made peanut butter and bacon. Surprisingly delicious.

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On the way home, we decided to walk through Ribfest, which was happening right down the block. There was this sign:

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To which, Brian reacted like this to the thought of a deep fried Snickers:

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We continued walking, until we saw this sign:

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To which the possibility of deep-fried Oreos was too much for Brian to resist. We headed over to the ticket line and within 10 minutes had a tub of fried Oreos. To which, the man next to us in line got a deep-fried Snickers and insisted I take his picture.

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Because deep-frying candy and cookies isn’t enough, they top them off with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar:

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I tried one of the Oreos. It was actually pretty tasty. Like a funnel cake married and Oreo and made tiny funnel cake Oreo babies. Brian was in heaven.

A Friday night of indulgence meant a healthy breakfast and exercise Saturday morning.

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Followed by a trip to the garden. A very exciting trip where I would learn that all of my radishes had matured and were ready to be picked. I also got a few handfuls of kale and spinach and a lone strawberry. I think I’ve gotten more produce from my community garden plot in one month this year than I did all last summer!

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After lots of errand running we grabbed lunch and then hit up Margie’s for a scoop of ice cream. They were switching out containers on Brian’s chocolate peanut butter and he got a mega scoop. That got all over his beard and mustache, but loos at those abundant ribbons of peanut butter. I had some serious ice cream envy and Brian happily shared with me.

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Saturday we ate mostly vegetable for dinner. I grilled a ton of them for us to devour and a little chicken. I also made a delicious salad with the kale and spinach from the garden with a vinaigrette, hemp and sunflower seeds and blueberries.

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Sunday was to be filled with rain, but we were surprised by a sunny day instead.

I had a breakfast taco to start the day. The eggs ended up overwhelming the tortilla, but it was delicious!

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I slow cooked brisket in a marinade all day to make some delicious barbacoa for our tostadas for dinner.

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While that was cooking and making the house smell wonderful, I got to work on a big batch of pumpkin and chocolate chip waffles to use as breakfasts in the upcoming days:

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Made a tasty batch of tarragon chicken salad(can’t wait to share the recipe) that was the perfect meal of protein to sustain us on our 12 mile bike ride by the lake.

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I don’t think we could have packed much more into our weekend. It was a great one! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

My two cents: Monday

Good Monday morning! I can’t wait to get to my weekend post. So much goodness this past weekend. Until I have time to do that, I thought I’d share two things with you.

I am in love with this hand soap. The scent makes me so happy. It smells just like a tomato plant.

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And for my second and unrelated tidbit: I am re-posting what some words of wisdom by Bill Phillips. This really strikes a chord with me. From work lunches to social outings, I always feel like my healthy eating and exercise often gets derailed by not wanting to be selfish or offend anyone. It’s not doing me any good and makes me have regret and resentment later. I think this states why I need to say “no” more often and exercise a little more self-responsibility.

So, here it is:

SELFISH VS. SELF-RESPONSIBILITY

Oftentimes people mistakenly believe that by accepting responsibility to take care of their own health and happiness, they’re somehow being selfish. And no mature, conscious person wants to be “selfish.” This is yet another obstacle we need to overcome in order to reclaim sovereignty in our own lives. The fact is, we are being self-responsible when we prioritize, each day, doing what we need to in order to recover and renew our physical, mental and emotional well-being. That means we must choose to make time for exercise, eating healthy meals, rest, recovery and sleep.

We also must choose to create at least some quiet time for self-reflection and to clear and calm the mind. We must also choose to make time for doing things which we enjoy and that bring us happiness. These can be very simple things, for example: taking an evening walk at sunset; listening to your favorite music; getting out to enjoy your favorite hobby on a weekend. Although this all sounds simple, if we perceive them as being selfish, we’ll resist and put them off.

If you are a caretaker by nature, as I am, it is important to remember that we can’t give what we don’t have–and when we are low on energy and strength, it’s time to make renewing and re-energizing our selves a top priority! Make YOUR health a priority and I promise, you will find you have more to give others who need your help.

Spring

This weekend’s weather made it feel as if spring has finally arrived. This made me extremely happy.

I spent as much of Saturday outside as possible. I was outside almost straight from 8-4 then 6-7. I couldn’t get enough of the weather! This led me to walking most of my errands and I walked a total of 9-10 miles. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a tan.

I started out the day by heading to Cafe Tola on Southport and Addison. I had walked by a week or two ago and they had some delicious looking donuts in the front window(they also make fresh empanadas daily). Getting there before 8 gave me the pick of the batch and I got a maple bacon and a red velvet cake donut for Brian and a big cup of strong coffee for myself.  The sun was so warm that the frosting melted a little on the way home.

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I tried a bite of each, both delicious, but too sweet for my taste. I recreated my restaurant leftovers of salmon with a bacon potato hash into breakfast. How? By adding and egg, of course. Savory. My preferred breakfast.

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With a protein packed breakfast, I was fueled for my walk to Home Depot to pick out some plants for my garden plot.

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Still not having enough of the fresh air, I stopped on my walk to Lincoln Square to have some tacos at La Amistad. Sitting outside to eat them, of course.

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I went on another walk to pick up a few things at Whole Foods to make food for the week. I threw together these “bowls” of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth, black beans, roasted sweet potato, steamed sesame kale and baked tofu. That made 5 of the 10 lunches for Brian and I to eat this week. These came together in less than one hour.

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Sunday, Brian and I got up and ran the Ravenswood 5k. I really loved the route this year and was happy with my time. We had a small miscommunication about breakfast, though. When registering for the race, you could buy a ticket for a pancake breakfast to support the local food pantry. Brian bought one. I didn’t. Wah wah. Fortunately, the pancakes were prepackaged, so he could take them to go. It was probably a good thing, as I was surprisingly not hungry after the race. I had coffee and a bite of a cinnamon roll, but didn’t eat the banana or mini bagel they were handing out.

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After coming home and relaxing for a few hours, I was hungry and made myself a mega lunch. I had a broccoli potato patty, two eggs, my mini bagel(toasted with butter), blueberries and an apple with mango ginger Stilton cheese. I put a little cheese on half the bagel and then a slice of apple on top of that. Heavenly. Absolutely delightful. I rarely eat cheese anymore. Or most diary for that matter. I try to make it a rule that if I am going to eat cheese, it has to be good cheese. This was GOOD cheese.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon going for walk, checking on my garden plot and making up food for the week. I started a batch of cold brew iced coffee on Saturday and was able to drain it off and jar it yesterday. Just the refreshing beverage I need to have on hand with temps in the 80s tomorrow!

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I have been trying to move to a more natural skin care routine. One of the hardest things from me to move away from is my inexpensive but very loved drugstore body lotion. I have tried straight coconut oil before and didn’t love it. I ran across a recipe for whipped coconut oil body butter last week and decided to whip(pun intended) up a batch this weekend. It is absolutely delightful. I can’t wait to share this recipe. A little goes a long way and it really lasts all day.

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Multitasking while I was making the body butter, I cooked up some more food to round out our lunches and some dinner for the week. Look at that well stocked fridge.

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I’ve had a few people inquire lately about meal plans. Hoping to get to a post soon about how I try to do meal plans. Have a great week everyone and get out and enjoy some fresh air!

A case of the cranks

I’ve been cranky all week. Cranky and tired and dragging. I couldn’t figure out what was causing my unrelenting crankiness until I was sitting at the table eating breakfast this morning and noticed drizzle and flurries outside. It was the weather. Rain and gloom has blanketed the city and my mood this week. I decided at this point I needed to turn my attitude around.
After finishing my breakfast, I took a long hot shower, did a little meditation, and slathered my self with some self tanner. If my skin can’t glow from the natural sun, I might as well fake it. I returned to the living room to make my plans for the day and noticed the sun was shining bright outside. Rejoice!
I got my short grocery list ready and headed outside to be greeted by cloud cover and more flurries. The sunshine was short lived. I spent my walk to the store trying to keep a positive attitude by thinking about the things in my life that I am grateful for.
I came home in a slightly better mood. The potential for 70 degree weather tomorrow helps. I’m trying not to think of 4 straight days of rain after that.
Summer, I’m so looking forward to you.

On becoming a morning person and more selfish

There was an interesting conversation going on between two other people before my early morning yoga class last Saturday morning. It really got me thinking and now I’m going to share it with you.

One lady was saying to the other that she could hardly get out of bed to make it to class and explained that she was a night owl. The other lady was saying that she had been up for hours and always gets up early and goes to bed early. The conversation further continued to the first lady saying that late night is the only time she gets “me” time and peace and quiet is if she stays up late. The second lady reports that is why she is such a morning person because she loves being up while everything is calm and still and quiet.

As they were chatting, I started thinking about myself. I used to be a night owl. I pulled all-nighters in college all the time. My mom hated trying to get me up in the mornings growing up. I wanted to sleep in and stay up late. Then as life progressed, I have become a morning person. Something I definitely never thought I would be. The transition to a morning person really came when I started being healthier. Less late nights out which equaled less alcohol consumption.  This gave me time for early morning work outs.

I also found that I love the calm of the morning. I like getting to work early to get settled in before  everyone else arrives and starts to socialize. I love getting up and having my “me” time before Brian gets up on the weekends. A nice workout. A quiet breakfast. Some time to troll social media in the quiet of my own mind. Time to make a game plan for the day. Even better is an early Sunday morning trip to Target. That place is packed by 10am, but if you get there between 8 and 9am, you have the store to yourself.

Is it being selfish? Maybe.

I have become more selfish lately. Or maybe it’s assertive. Either way, I’ve started saying “no” more.

I almost never go out on Friday nights anymore. I like to go home, work out and relax at home. Then I go to bed at a decent time so I can make it to early Saturday morning yoga. It’s my favorite work out of the week. The teacher is amazing and I feel so zen when I leave. That, and I know it’s the most calm time I’ll have all day on most Saturdays. The rest of the day is usually filled with running errands and cooking food for the week.

If we do go out, I make sure that I come home early. I’ve found after years of getting little to no sleep that I like my sleep. I like it a lot.

I’ve also scaled back my social outings. Dinner? Drinks? I love my friends. I love seeing them. But it’s costly and often unhealthy. So I’ve started making alternate suggestions or getting together with multiple friends at once. Can we go somewhere with healthier food options? Come over and I’ll make dinner. Let’s grab coffee/tea. I even have a friend that the majority of time that we see each other is for gym classes. Getting a workout and socializing? Now that is what I call a win-win situation.

So here I am. Call me old. It won’t bother me. I am healthier and happier this way.

What tricks do you use to stay healthy and social? When is your “me” time any why?

Fab Ab February

Remember when we initiated the Work Out at Work program?

Well, it fizzled. It was going strong for months. It brought people from other programs in our building together. Sometimes there would be 10 of us lunging around the office. It was quite the spectacle. But then something happened. I’m not sure what it was, but it dwindled and no one has done it since before the holidays.

I decided that we needed re introduce movement into the office. I saw the idea of Fab Ab February on Pinterest. So, I sent it out as a mass email.

Today we had four participants knock off the first day. Fab Abs here we come!

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