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bringing in a little warmth

5 Jan

If you all are anything like me, you may have felt a little sadness in letting go of the Christmas season.

It inevitably happens every January.  The tree is taken down, candy canes are placed on the clearance rack, the lights are stashed in the closet for another year and the Christmas music is turned off.  The season of festivities is over and it’s back to the daily grind for another year.

I always get into sort of a rut, feeling more than ever the dreariness of the cold, leafless streets.  I’m past the initial excitement of a new year of possibilities and am in need of change, refreshment and a little bit of inspiration.

So this year I decided to get a one up on the January blues. Starting in my favorite place.

The kitchen.  Getting rid of the clutter, consolidating the 4 canisters of cinnamon that have taken up residence in my cabinet over the past 6 months, and vacuuming out the trail of flour weaving its way around my baking shelf.

it must get worse before it gets…

better

The husband and I spent hours over the weekend, cleaning out every last cabinet, shelf and drawer in the kitchen, getting rid of anything we haven’t used in the past year and re-organizing everything in the most efficient fashion possible.   It’s funny how clearing out the clutter from the house seems to simultaneously de-clutter my head as well.  With every pot that was placed in a new, clean, accessible spot, my thoughts became a little more clear and my motivation gained a little bit of momentum.

After the kitchen, we moved on to the rest of the house.  There hasn’t been time to re-organize every closet and drawer quite yet, but there is a plan for it.  And just scrubbing everything down and sweeping up all the dust and pieces of ribbon leftover from wrapping gifts was so energizing.

Once the cleaning was all done, it was time to bring some life back to the house!

Plants have a way of breathing freshness into a space that feels a bit lifeless.

I gathered up every vase in the house

I also potted some new plants for our office.  I never imagined that the process of potting them would be as helpful as getting to admire them as we work late into the night. Squishing the soil between my fingers pressing it firmly down around the roots almost made me feel like spring had made an early appearance.

Have you started to feel the post-Christmas wintertime blues?  Or are you still riding on the wave of the new year?

What are you doing to bring in a little warmth?

deck the halls

3 Dec

Random fact on this lovely Friday: somebody found my blog by searching the phrase “chia seed in my eye.”

I kinda like that, lol:)  Not going to find any advice here, though!

I mentioned the other day that Jon and I decorated for Christmas on Sunday.  I love decorating for Christmas!  Last year during this time I hadn’t even started ChiaSeedMe yet.  I was kind of in a transition between blogs.  I had been writing at Brand New Sidewalk about random life happenings for about a year, but with the craziness also known as my first year of teaching, I just didn’t have the time or energy to put into it!

So, I started a tumbler, thinking it would be a good way to keep blogging, but with shorter, less-time consuming entries.  I really liked tumbler, and sometimes I think I’d like to keep blogging there (in addition to CSM), but so far it hasn’t happened.  My tumbler was geared a little more toward healthy living, but I really made the jump when I started ChiaSeedMe.

So in the spirit of decorating for Christmas here are some of last year’s decorations.

And this year.

Oops!  That’s not a decoration.  That would be my breakfast.  A random juicing of carrots, apple, a lime, small piece of ginger and a few handfuls of spinach (aka – everything that I could scavenge from my oh so empty fridge).  Plus half a leftover Cliff bar.

Let’s try this again.

And of course Christmas at our house wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for my Grandpa’s peanut brittle.  He spends hours making it every year, and it’s the best peanut brittle there ever was.

The husband and I will be spending the whole weekend Christmas shopping!  I’m so excited.

What are you most excited about this weekend?

Happy Friday!

lentil tacos + a guest post

23 Aug

Best.

Afternoon.

Snack.

Ever.

I found a coupon for a free 16 ounce Oikos greek yogurt in my HLS swag bag (love that swag bag:), so I had no choice but to pick it up at the store yesterday.  Wait, did you catch that?  FREE.

So today I decided an extravagant yogurt mess sounded like a pretty decent plan.  I also used my coupon for a free box of Uncle Sam’s cereal at the store yesterday, so why not throw some of that in?  There were also dried cranberries, sliced bananas, vegan dark chocolate chips, cinnamon and chia seeds!

Speaking of chia seeds, did you enter my chia seed giveaway earlier today? I am loving hearing about everyone’s adventurous side – keep ’em coming!

In other news, please take a minute to click over to Heather’s blog and check out my guest post on PiYo!  Heather and I met at HLS, and her blog is as adorable as she is.  She’s one of those people who has a smile that literally lights up the entire room, and I was so excited when she asked me to share more about PiYo with her readers.  I hope you’ll take a second and stop by there!

I spent the afternoon working on a special project in our office.  It’s not quite ready to reveal yet, but it won’t be long!

I worked up quite an appetite, though, and by dinnertime I knew exactly what was on the menu.  I had boiled a huge batch of dry lentils last week and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use them.  It was kind of fun to switch it up from our usual enchiladas!

Spicy Lentil Tacos

Ingredients

  • whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 small can diced green chilies

Toppings

Directions

  • sautee olive oil, garlic and onion in a skillet over medium heat until onions become transparent
  • add lentils and mix well
  • season with ground red pepper and cumin
  • add green chilies and heat through
  • heat tortilla for 10 seconds in microwave
  • spread lettuce in middle of tortilla
  • add lentil mixture
  • top with green onions, tomato, salsa and guacamole

I’m off to bed soon!  I’ve been feeling really tired the last few days, so I really need to try and get some extra sleep this week.

I hope you all had an excellent Monday:) G’night!

prepare to drool

11 Jul

Hey!

I can’t believe the weekend is already over!  Summer is flying by.

Yesterday, Jon and I spent most of the day cleaning.  Thankfully Jon offered to tag team it with me…and it still took us over 3 hours!  We did the hard core, twice a year kind of clean.  The whole time I just kept envisioning how great it was going to feel once it was done. And it was so worth it.  I love waking up to a clean house!  The only downside = it can only go down from here:(

Here’s a glimpse of our freshly cleaned crib;)

my side of the office – where all the CSM action goes down

Jon’s side

living room (and Olive’s tail end:)

living room, dining room, kitchen (and again…Olive’s tail end:)

dining room and kitchen

kitchen

and last, but not least – our bedroom

Tour over.

Of course we took food breaks throughout our day of torture cleaning

green beans (click for recipe) from my step-dad’s garden.

Clark – if you’re reading…I need more green beeeeaaaannnnssss!!!!

leftover salad minus the veggie burger this time

Whole Soy blueberry yogurt, raw oats, Kashi U and fresh blackberries (the star of the show)

And dinner – leftover tempeh spaghetti sauce over whole wheat pasta.  Sides = ezekiel bread w/earth balance and garlic + swiss chard and chopped pattypan squash sauteed in olive oil, garlic and a dash of lemon juice

Dear beloved green beans,  you may now have a new green rival.

We got up and went to early service and Sunday school this morning.  I took a green monster to-go (running late of course:) and drank it during the service.

For lunch, we were both craving pancakes for some crazy reason – here’s what I came up with!

I used Hodgson Mill Buckwheat pancake mix, which includes 1 egg (organic free range of course) and 1 tbsp of oil

2 cakes layered with plain Whole Soy yogurt + fresh blackberries

makes my heart go pitter patter.

I need not explain how delicious they were.

The rest of my eats today were very random.  They included things like bran flakes and soy milk, tons of watermelon and more leftover green beans. hehe.

That’s all for today friends.  I’ve gotta be up and at ’em early because I have a 9:30 am orthodontist appt. on the other side of creation (ie my hometown).  Hoping to get in a run first!

Hope you all have a great start to your week!  Thanks to all who entered in the chia seed giveaway!  Winners will be announced tomorrow!

How do you and your significant other handle cleaning?  Do you tag team?  Or is one person usually in charge? Last year while I was teaching and commuting, Jon took care of almost all the housework (swoon).  But now that I’ve got more time, I have taken back over a lot of it.  While I don’t love the actual act of cleaning…I do love keeping my house and making my husband HAPPY:) Plus, I LOVE the feeling of a spic and span house.

my husband bought us a mobile

25 Jun

Hey everyone!  TGIF, right?!  Per the usual Friday syndrome, I haven’t been super productive today; however, I was able to get caught up on some tasks built up from shopping with my mom all day yesterday, so it’s all good.

Speaking of yesterday (how’s that for a creative transition;), we had the best time.  It is rare that mom and I spend time just the two of us, but I’m always so thankful when we do.  Our day primarily consisted of talking, shopping, eating, eating…..and well, eating.  Wahoo!  My kind of day.  Unfortunately I didn’t get home until late and then spent the rest of the night cuddling with the husband, sooooo I didn’t do my online yoga.  Tomorrow.

Onto lunch

Black bean soup + whole grain baguette (my Panera usual) = not the most photogenic fare on the block

Strawberry Poppyseed salad (mom’s meal) = at least not a total fail in the looks dept. *ahem, iceburg lettuce*

I love that I now base my feelings about my food as much on how well it photographs as I do on how it tastes.  Priorities, right?!

Anyway, after shopping around for another few hours, we stopped for a snack

Oh for the love of all things good and holy.

Not sure why, but this yogurt was the best I’ve tasted in years.  And it was completely sugar/artificial sweetener free (not dairy free, but who needs to know that?)!

Insert more shopping…aka exericise;)

And dinner.  My step-dad drove an hour to the city just to meet us to eat.  He likes to do nice things like that (line stolen from my FIL).  Although, I’m not quite sure whether the company or the food motivated him to be so kind.

Appetizer – corn tortilla with spicy carrots, onions and tons of salsa.  Just a side note, when eating Mexican, I try to eat fewer chips, instead replacing them with a corn tortilla or two.  Saves in the calories dept. as well as your health!

Wanna know one way to keep it vegan and still enjoy Tex Mex?  Order tacos with black beans instead of meat (you will most likely get a strange look for this, at least in Oklahoma) and hold the cheese.  Also, make sure and check with the server because re-fried beans (cooked in lard ewww) and mexican rice (cooked in meat stock) are often not vegetarian.  I find that there usually is a vegetarian bean option, even aside from black beans – all you have to do is ask!

My mother and her charming husband

It was a fun day indeed.  And can we say relaxing?  Thanks mom!

Not sure what Jonathan and I are going to do tonight.  Actually, I do know one thing we’ll be doing.  My ever so creative husband ordered a mobile for us.  No, we do not have a little bundle of joy on the way.  This mobile is more of a mobile for adults.  Hmmm…that still doesn’t sound quite right.  Either way, after we assemble it we’ll be hanging it in our office, and I’ll just have to show you pics tomorrow.  Simmer down, guys.  Don’t get yourselves overexcited now.

How do you healthify Mexican food restaurants?
What plans do you have for the weekend?

Have a great Friday night, friends!

runnin' just as fast as i can

21 Jun

This morning I hit the gym for a quick 5k and some weight machines.  As mentioned before I have lost some of my running endurance, and I am now on the road to getting it back.  I took one walk break smack dab in the middle of my run this morning, so my final time was about 35 minutes.  Not that impressive, I know, but I’m just happy to be running!

Oddly, I wasn’t too hungry when I got home, so I held off awhile before fixing this for breakfast:

grilled banana and peanut butter sandwich on Ezekiel

This was my first time for a grilled pb and b, and I loved it!  Will definitely be making this again and again.  I simply spread a layer of pb on one side of a piece of Ezekiel bread  (toasted for about a minute to thaw it out).  Then I sliced a half a banana in half, laid it on the bread and put another slice of toast on top.  I then lightly buttered each side of the sandwich with Earth Balance so it would cook better.  Then threw it in a skillet and grilled away!

A few hours later I decided to make something fun for Jon since he was coming home for lunch.

For the bowl, crumple a piece of foil into a ball and lay a whole wheat tortilla over it, pressing it down over the ball.  Bake it in the oven at 400 degrees until the edges are slightly browned.  Spread the tortilla with refried beans and sprinkle on brown rice.  In the meantime, sautee green bell pepper and onion strips in seasonings until soft, then add them to the bowl.  Finish it off with rinsed black beans, cheese, salsa and homemade guacamole.  Jon could not stop raving over how delicious this was.  By the time he got home to eat, I was a bit hungry so I made one for myself as well, minus the tortilla and cheese.  Heaven in a bowl:)

Today I’m working on getting our office organized, which is proving to be quite a feat!  There is layer upon layer of stuff to go through, everything from college projects to current bills.  It feels like it’s never going to be done, but I know it will feel so good and be such a pleasant place for J and I to work once it’s all cleaned up.  We’re planning on rearranging and doing some more decorating as well…there will be chalkboard paint involved!

That’s all folks!  Hope you’re having a great Monday.  I’ll leave you with a quote I saw on a friend’s twitter earlier:

Inaction breeds doubt and fear.  Action breeds confidence and courage!

Amen and amen!

Also, stay tuned later for my promised juicer review as well as a recipe on these vegan beauties

weekend in pics

2 May

Friday I took off work so that Jon and I could leave early for the Train concert.  I started my morning off with an ice cold green smoothie and Pilates at the gym.  Bliss.  I miss going to the gym in the morning.  Only four more weeks until I can go everyday!

Later I had some carrots and hummus to hold me over until lunch.

A little while later we packed up, hopped in the car and headed south.  The concert was at a casino about 3 hours away, so we had quite the drive!  It was nice, though, and we arrived just in time to check into our hotel, eat some pizza for dinner (sorry, no pics!) and make it to the concert with plenty of time to spare.

Guys, the concert was awesome!  If you don’t listen to Train, you should, and if you do listen to Train, you MUST hit up one of their concerts.  They put on a great show and played all my favorite songs.  Jon and I sang and danced the night away:)

The concert was over by about 10:30.  We just headed back to our hotel and spent the evening just hanging out.  It was the best night.

Saturday morning we slept in a bit, then hit the road.  We picked up some Starbucks for breakfast – I had the perfect oatmeal made with soymilk.  I added about half the amount of nuts and dried fruit that they gave me.  This was my first time to try Starbuck’s oatmeal, and it was fantastic!  It was the perfect serving size and was so delicious!  I would definitely get this again.

Next, we met up with my MIL and FIL in the city.  My FIL was going to play some golf, so we planned to hang out with my MIL for a couple hours.  Not before joining in on a little family golf and juggling.

I promise there is a ball there:)

Later we hit up PeiWei for lunch.  Yum!  My favorite.  I had a nice ice water with orange…

one vegetable spring roll…

and the Korean Spicy dish which consisted of brown rice, tofu, mushrooms, carrots, long beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, onions and sesame seeds.  I cannot get enough of this dish!  I ate almost all the vegetables and about half the tofu and rice.

After lunch and some quick shopping, we stopped at my mom’s house to pick up Olive and headed back home.  It was such a great weekend…I totally wish I could go back and re-live it all!

I started off this morning with a bowl of cereal.  I found a new Nature’s Path cereal that has corn flakes, amaranth flakes and quinoa .  It’s awesome!  We found it at Big Lots ( a bargain store) of all places.  So random!  I’ll be doing a real review over it later.

After church, we had lunch at Panera (I had my usual – black bean soup and mediterranean veggie sandwich), then spent the rest of the day taking a nap, watering the flowerbeds, doing laundry, washing the car, cleaning out the fridge and buying groceries!  Such a productive and fun afternoon.

Olive even made a new friend:)

And I ended the afternoon with another energizing green smoothie.  This one had a TON of spinach, Amazing Grass, 1/2 banana, almond milk, a bit of soy yogurt, ice and a sprinkle of granola on top!

Well, that’s it for tonight!  I’ve got to do some work for school still, and I need to be off to bed in about a half hour.  eek!