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running + coconut lemon cranberry bars

16 Mar

Hello!

This morning I got up and headed to the park to get my training run in.  I’m still putting in 3.5 miles twice during the week and then a longer run on the weekend.  I have to say, my runs have been going so well.  I really think it is the yoga I’ve been doing.  In my past races I wasn’t doing yoga yet, and I think it’s making a significant difference.   I’ve also really been pushing myself to get my pace down, and I can tell a significant improvement in my long run endurance.  It feels so great to see so much improvement, and I’m getting so excited about the race!

After my run I came home and did a half hour of yoga before getting ready to head to the city.  My best friend from high school lives in OKC, and I am so excited to finally be in the same town as her for the first time in almost ten years. We met in 2nd grade and were practically inseparable from then until graduation.  It was so so good to catch up today!

I have spent so much time in the city this week doing all kinds of stuff.  When we decided to take this new job and move from Stillwater, we got so excited to live in OKC.  Then we moved to my hometown.  Which is not quite the city.  It’s about a 40 minute drive, so it’s not too bad…but not a short drive either.  So pretty much every day I’ve found some reason to go there – gotta meet the husband for lunch, gotta take something back to the store, gotta grocery shop – and usually I just pack my laptop, books, and anything else I need to work and set up camp at Starbucks for the remainder of the afternoon.

Obviously spending hours at a time away from home means there must be snacks packed.  I try not to leave myself at the mercy of the Starbuck’s pastry case or a drive through, so I found myself needing ideas for portable, non refrigerated snacks to take along.  Enter Angela’s Coconut Lemon Cranberry bars (click for full recipe)Moist on the inside, flaky on the outside, with a medley of sweet and citrus – tastes like a sunny day at the beach. Sign me up.

First, juice and zest your lemons!

Make a chia egg by combining lemon juice with chia seeds and allowing it to gel for about 10 minutes.

Next, turn 1 cup of oats into oat flour in a blender or food processor.  It’s so fun to watch the whirling blades transform oats into flour in about 10 seconds flat.  I really shouldn’t say stuff like that out loud.

Add all the dry ingredients together.  Combine the wet. Then mix them all together and press into a baking dish before dusting the top with shredded coconut and chia seeds.

Bake until the edges are brown and the top springs back when you touch it.

Allow to cool, and then enjoy as you close your eyes – envisioning the crashing waves and the smell of suntan lotion and lemonade.

These bars have been the perfect on-the-go treat this week as I’ve been out and about around the city.  I think they’d also make great pre-workout fuel or a dessert treat before bed.

Anyway, today I’m going to start the day off with some yoga and then spend the day shopping with my mom and aunt who are on spring break.  Even though I haven’t exactly earned a spring break, I’m kind of pretending I’m on it anyway because next week I start my new job of substitute teaching.  I hope you can tell how excited I am.  Really.

Are you on Spring Break this week?  What is your favorite SB memory?
Mine is from 2005 when I went to Thailand for tsunami relief.  A life changing experience I’ll never forget.  I never really was a beach person, so SB beach vacations never really appealed to me.  I know. I’m crazy.

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go get 'em husband

7 Feb

Good morning!

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the weekend flew by…seems like it just started.

On Saturday things warmed up a bit around here, and some of the snow started to melt off.  By late in the day, many of the streets were almost clear…but there’s still tons of white everywhere else!  Apparently (I never watch the weather) there is more snow headed this way in the next few days, but we shall see!

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Saturday and Sunday we spent a lot of time organizing and packing.  The story of our life these days.  I have to admit it feels sooo good to get it done, though.  We are still a long ways from being packed, but I think we did finally finish the office for the most part after being buried in boxes and files for the last few days.

Saturday night I got inspired to make a stir-fry.  When I asked the husband what he wanted for dinner, he said something I thought I would never hear him say: “How about something besides mexican?”

I thought I was dreaming.  Did he just say he didn’t want mexican food?!

So stir-fry it was!

I chopped up bell pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots and cabbage and stir-fried it in about one tablespoon of olive oil until it was tender.  Then I tossed in some frozen edamame (did you know edamame has the same amount of protein as roasted turkey?) for protein.

After it had cooked for a little bit, I mixed together about two tablespoons natural peanut butter, two tablespoons tamari, a couple teaspoons rice wine vinegar and some water to thin it out.  Honestly, I just kind of guessed at the proportions and tasted as I went.  I poured the sauce over the veggie mixture and continued to cook them for another 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime I cooked some buckwheat (soba) noodles, and when it was all done I poured a big spoonful of veggies over the noodles….and that was it!  Easiest stir-fry ever.

Stir-fry reminds me of Thailand so much.  During the last few months we lived there, I literally ate stir-fried veggies in some form every. single. night.  No exaggeration.  Always on top of brown rice.  Granted I wasn’t a vegetarian then, and I used fish and oyster sauce (Thai style) for flavoring, but it was still so good.  Really takes me back:)

cooking with friends in Thailand

Anyway, on Sunday the husband and I went to lunch with some dear friends of ours from our college days.  They are several years older than us and have three of the cutest little kids.  During our time in Campus Crusade for Christ at OSU, Dan discipled Jonathan, and Debbie discipled me.  They have always meant so much to us and have walked with us through some of the most important decisions in our life.  It was so nice today to catch up and spend time with them…we’re really going to miss them when we move.

Debbie and I / Dan and Jon – about five years ago

Other than packing throughout the afternoon, I also made some Super Charge Me cookies for the husband.  While he ate cookies, I enjoyed a leftover vegan cinnamon roll.  This morning someone brought cinnamon rolls to Sunday School, and ever since then I’ve been craving one.  I can honestly say that these rolls are one of the best vegan baked goods I’ve made yet.  The day after I made them, I realized that unless I wanted to turn into a giant cinnamon roll, I needed to put them away for awhile.  So into the freezer they went.  A couple of times since then I’ve pulled one out and heated it in the microwave for about a minute and a half…and it’s always just as good as when it was fresh out of the oven.

You really must make these if you’re a cinnamon roll fan!

So that’s the weekend in nutshell – only two more weekends left until moving weekend!

Last thing – I have to give a shout-out to my better half.  Today is the husband’s first day at his new job, and I am so dang proud of him.  I’m so thankful for all the hard work he has put in over the last several years to get us where we are.  This is just one more step we get to take along the path of our life.  I’m going to miss him now that he’s leaving earlier, getting home later and not coming home for lunch (tear), but I know he’s going to love his new role…and he’s totally going to rock it! Go get ’em husband:)  I love you!

Did you have a good weekend?
What’s your favorite vegetable?

I think mine would have to be spinach…or maybe snap peas.  It’s really hard to narrow it down, though!

thank you

26 Jan

Wow.  Thank you all so much for taking the time to offer encouragement and advice regarding our dilemma from yesterday.  I love how I can always count on you guys for great perspective, and I really appreciate every single one of you so much:)  I love you guys!

The husband and I are still weighing out the options and considering all the input we’ve received.  We have yet to settle on a decision, but I’m just praying that between our considerations and God’s provision, something will work out soon.

Yesterday we spent the day with my mother-in-law; she had to have out-patient surgery, so we went to be there for her and spend some time with my father-in-law at the same time.  Thankfully, her surgery went really well and within several hours she was in the car headed home.  What a relief!

Before we left on the two hour drive to get there, I whipped up a green monster from the book.

5 romaine leaves, 1 cucumber, 1/2 an avocado, 1 banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and ice

Unfortunately it was another semi-fail.  I gulped it down just like the day before, but it was not that enjoyable.  I’m honestly not sure what the culprit was this time…maybe the romaine?  Also, I think it was just a bit greener than my usual, so it may take some getting used to.

I also packed some snacks since I knew we’d be on the road most the day.

I brought along carrots and pretzels with a side of salsa, which I ate within the first 20 minutes we were gone.  And later I munched on two brown rice cakes with natural peanut butter and a banana.  One of my favorite things about roadtrips (however short) is eating snacks along the way…especially healthy snacks that make you feel good!

On the way down we also stopped at a deli that I have only been to a couple of times, but that has a pretty incredible salad bar.  I piled up a ton of spinach and mixed greens and then added some dried fruit, walnuts, almonds, onions, bell peppers, peas and a drizzle of honey mustard dressing.  I’m sure there were a few other things I threw on too, but sadly I was so hungry I totally forgot to take a picture!  It was a really beautiful salad.  The restaurant is called Jason’s Deli, and its only about a mile from our soon-to-be house so hopefully I’ll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of my salads in the future.

After a full day of driving and hanging out with family, we set out on the long drive back home, stopping at Pei Wei in the city to grab some stir fry.  We have eaten Pei Wei in the car so many times in the past couple of months – I’ve completely lost count.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it either!

Lately I’ve been struggling a bit with everything that’s going on.  I’m excited about it all – moving, new job, new house – but at times I let my excitement become overshadowed by all the hard decisions and uncertainties.  Especially the uncertainties.  Remember in January when I decided that my word for the year would be peace?  Well, obviously it’s a very appropriate word with everything going on right now, and I have to be honest…I’m not doing too well at maintaining peace inside.  The last couple of nights have been especially hard.  I’m just worried about what the next few months are going to hold.  I feel like I need to get some sort of job in this time before we move, but I’m not sure who is going to hire me for such a short amount of time.  I’ve thought about subbing at the school, but I’d like to use that as a last resort.  In Duncan (where my in-laws live) it only pays about minimum wage, which if it was something I loved and really wanted to do it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But since it’s not really something I want to do, minimum wage seems a bit discouraging.

I realize that in sharing all this I’m risking appearing to be high maintenance, prideful, discontent or a plethora of other not so great things, but it’s just weighing on my heart and as many of you probably know, it’s very therapeutic to write it all out and process through everything.  I think I’m just going through a phase in my life where I’m trying to figure out what the heck I want to do…I have some leads for sure, but haven’t landed on anything definite yet.  Since I left my job last July, I’ve been actively pursuing, searching and thinking about where I’m headed, but I feel like all of a sudden it’s coming to a screeching halt, and I’m about to waste four months just doing something to make a little money and pass time. I hate the thought of that.

Anyway, sorry to be a debbie downer.  I know that this is all just temporary and that I need to stay positive…but as always it’s easier said than done:)  How sad too – because I promised you guys cupcakes today and instead gave you this.  But tomorrow there will be cupcakes, I promise (for real this time:)!

I hope you’re all having a great Wednesday, and again – thanks for being so great!

Are you or have you ever been in a place where you feel uncertain about the future or about where you’re headed personally? Do you feel happy and content in your career? Or do you have moments where you feel confused and unsure of what you want to do?

the day i almost didn't vote + giveaway winner announced

2 Nov

Hello!

What an exciting day with elections and all!  I feel terrible to say this, but I almost forgot to vote.

Well, maybe I didn’t almost forget to vote.  I just almost didn’t vote.  But then I started to feel really guilty and like a terrible citizen who isn’t taking advantage of her right to have a voice.  So, the husband and I hightailed it to our voting center and basically shut the place down. Next election I definitely want to do more research and have a better idea of who I want to vote for in each area…and why.

Another exciting thing about today was making and inhaling the single best snack known to man.

Homemade bread. Almond butter. Pumpkin butter.

Heaven on a plate.

Moving on.

After a full afternoon of working on the biz, I was all geared up for a fun dinner.  I’ve had a recipe waiting in the wings for several days now and finally decided to make it tonight.  It’s a multi-step process, and I got through step #2 before I had to abandon ship kitchen and head to the polls!

By the time we finished reading and over-analyzing 99 hundred state questions, we were both starving and made the last minute decision to ditch my marinating meal and grab a pizza instead.  Isn’t that terrible? haha! I’m a fan of spontaneity.

And pizza 🙂

The mystery mixture should be good and ready by tomorrow night, and I shall reveal it to you then!  It’s a spin off an Eat Drink and Be Vegan recipe, so it’s sure to be a winner.

Okay, I must cut this short and get to bed asap.  I’ve been getting less than 6 hours a night lately, and it’s not making for a nice Candice.  Sleep is important!

But first, I shall announce the winner of the CSN $40 gift-card giveaway!  Thank you all so much for entering!  I loved hearing all of your favorite foods – so fun!

And the winner is…

Kathi!

Her comment:  “One food? I would have to say oatmeal I love it both hot and cold.”

Congrats Kathi!  Please email me your information, and we’ll get your gift-card to you!  Happy shopping!

*The winner was chosen using random.org

Thanks again to CSN for sponsoring the giveaway!

G’night friends:)

What is your favorite healthy (or not:) snack?  Let’s generate some ideas!

decisions, decisions

21 Sep

Thanks so much for the well wishes yesterday.  I’m very happy to report that I’m feeling much better today.

I started out this morning with a 4 mile run.  Sadly I forgot to plug in the Garmin last night, but the husband came through for us by suggesting we use the Map My Run iPhone app.  It worked like a charm!  If you’re ever in a pinch, try it out.  It doesn’t tell you a lot of details, but it does tell you your average pace, distance, time, and it maps as you run.  Not bad for free, right?

Anyway, once we got home I had a green monster for breakfast before doing a run through of my yoga class.

lots of spinach, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 scoop Amazing Grass, 1.25 cup almond milk, ice

There really is just nothing that compares to an ice cold green monster in the morning…really there isn’t.

By the time I got ready for the day and then enjoyed an hour of yoga, it was time to go meet my friend, Grace, for our weekly lunch.  Definitely one of the highlights of my week!  We went to my favorite little cafe, Cafe Bella. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve seen this sandwich many a time before…but I just can’t resist getting the same thing.  The one time I branched out I regretted it, and since then have clung dearly to my staple.

grilled veggie panini with hummus

I spent this afternoon working on Outbox tasks and laundry.  Definitely one of my favorite parts of working from home is being able to stay on top of household tasks throughout the day.  I’m really quite the domestic diva;)

Snack break!

grapes

cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin with natural peanut butter

I also ended up having a small mug of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with almond milk later in the afternoon.  I am like a bottomless pit today!

Tonight Jon and I decided to turn off work for a few hours and just hang out.  We hardly ever watch TV…but tonight one of our favorite shows premiered for the fall season.  How many of you watch The Biggest Loser?  We are huge fans.  And I have to admit, part of my love stems from my love for Jillian.  Don’t you just wish you could carry her around in your pocket all day? Or not;)

Anyway, I never fail to feel inspired after watching an episode of TBL.  I think it’s going to be a really good season.  The only thing I didn’t like about tonight was the way they chose the contestants.  They went from city to city, and at each stop they picked 3 people; however, those 3 people had to compete in their first challenge in order to decide which 2 got to actually go on the show.  The other person had to go home.  One of the challenges was a 1 mile run in which the first two people to finish won.  I felt that the most unhealthy person, the one who needed the most help was of course the one to lose on every challenge.  I just thought it was kind of silly.  I’m sure there was a reason for it, but you’d think they’d want the most unhealthy person to be chosen.  I guess that’s the way the show goes, too, though.  If you watched tonight, what did you think?

For dinner Jon and I had the bright idea of making quesadillas.  Unfortunately, by the time I was all psyched up for it, we realized we were out of soy cheese.  Enter sad face.

For some uncharacteristic reason, I decided to just have regular cheese on mine.  I think I might have been from Mexico in a different life. Not even kidding.  It’s like I get in the zone…and my eyes glaze over at the mention of mexican food.  Kind of scary, really.  Anyway, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but afterward I did wish I had made a different choice.  Isn’t that always the way it goes?  Onward and upward, though.  Perfectionism will not get the best of me:)

I’m definitely not going to kid myself by saying they didn’t taste good.  The husband knows how to make a mean quesadilla.  Mine had cheese, vegetarian refried beans, chopped onions, and diced green chilies. mmm.

I’ve got a busy day ahead tomorrow – the usual Outbox work,  3 tutoring appointments and a yoga class await me!  My newest tutoring student, Nada, is a little bit high maintenance…which I guess she has every right to be.  She wants to learn strictly grammar…and she wants the hard core stuff.  She catches on really fast and asks lots of questions – definitely keeps me on my toes!  She’s also quite the talker.  At the end of our last appointment she started talking and ended telling me everything from how to not get taken advantage of at Disney World (what?) to how to get a job in Dubai.  45 minutes later, I was walking to my car in a daze.  I’m going to have to reign her in tomorrow though, or else I’ll be late to yoga.  Doesn’t look to good when the instructor’s late!

Okay, now I’m starting to act like Nada:)  I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

P.S.  I don’t want to bug you guys, but if you feel so inclined, please drop by and vote for me in Project Food Blog – you can check out my entry and vote here.  Thank you so so much to those of you who already voted.  You guys are the best!

takin' me back

15 Sep

Today was another successful day of Operation: Get Clear Skin. Successful being used very loosely of course – meaning I pulled out all the stops by sticking to the list I posted yesterday…but my face is technically still not clear at all. I honestly do think I can see a glimmer of improvement, though, so my hopes are high.  Thank you for all the supportive comments and advice.  You guys rock!

Actually, the drama with my face brought back a memory of Thailand for me today.  It was Valentine’s Day of 2008, and Jonathan had planned a one night getaway for us at a hotel in Chiang Mai.  It was really only about 15 minutes away from our apartment, but had air conditioning, a bath tub and was gecko free as far as we could tell:)

this little guy welcomed us to our kitchen the day we moved in – little did we know his entire extended family + all his friends lived in our house as well.

flowers the husband bought me from the market

hotels like this are fairly inexpensive for Americans

I seriously stayed in this tub for hours on end.  It was like I was back in America.

The next morning he took me out to breakfast…

and then it was time for the big surprise.

He had booked me a massage and facial (also really cheap in Thailand – I could get a manicure for about three dollars)!

I remember laying on my back, feeling like I had died and gone to heaven as a sweet Thai woman massaged things into my face.

You see where this is going.

The next morning I woke up and throughout the day this rash began to show up on my face.  It was like my entire face was completely overtaken by blemishes…seriously beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my 27 years.  I wanted to hide under a rock and never come out.  And I kept asking myself “what could have possibly made you think it was a good idea to let someone rub not only their hands, but also various other unknown concoctions all over your face?!”

Needless to say I haven’t had a facial since.

And that’s where memory lane ends.

Back to today.  I started off again with a delicious breakfast juice before doing an hour session of yoga in preparation for my class tonight.

The goods.  Parsley, escarole (leafy green I picked up at Whole Foods last week!), 1 plum, 1 organic carrot, 1 beet and 1 apple

aren’t beets so pretty?

a spry little sprig of parsley

and the finished product

After yoga and some light house keeping, I was ready for a snack.

apple and almond butter

I haven’t had an apple and almond/peanut butter together in a long time…but I think it is time to bring it back! holla.

I also sipped on a Pom spritzer (a few ounces of Pom juice mixed with seltzer water) on the side.  This little drink was so refreshing to me today.

A little while later lunch was a green monster just like yesterday’s, except with almond milk – yay for a stocked fridge!

After meeting with a new student whom I will be tutoring now as well as student I’ve been tutoring for awhile, I came home craving exactly what you see above: homemade salsa (recipe coming soon!), baby carrots, sugar snap peas, spelt pretzels and spicy garlic  hummus.  This snack plate was so filling and it took me forever to eat it, which is a plus in my book:)

Dinner was a little more carb heavy.  I somehow failed to get a picture, but the husband and I made Mexican Fiesta Pasta. It was hot, mexicany, spicy and it really hit the spot!

I must be off to bed now…I’m planning to make it up in the morning in time for a run, but I’m a little worried seeing as how tired I am right now and how late it is.  Must. Get. Sleep.

G’night!

let's clear things up

14 Sep

Hello!

This morning…I juiced.

But before that I went on a 3.5 mile run.  It was a decent run – not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly not bad.  I love those moments when I hit a high in the middle of my run, whether caused by my current tune, something to do with the scenery or just a good strong and steady stride, it’s just so sweet.  We didn’t make great time – I think we finished in about 38 minutes, but I’ve just been less worried about time lately.  I would honestly rather just enjoy running than be super worried about how fast I’m going.

Anyway, so I came home and showered and then got to juicing.  I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had switched cleansers to Burt’s Bees because I wanted to start using all natural skin care.  I’ll be doing a full review on it later as I want to give it a little more time before I form a final opinion.  One thing I don’t think I mentioned before is that I felt like it was a good time for me to make the switch because I was having some serious breakouts on my face.  I haven’t had a problem with breakouts since high school, and I’m not really sure what’s going on.  But I figured since my face was already broken out, it would be a good time to change my skin care system, since switching can often trigger a breakout. Might as well get it all over with at once.

Not sure that was the best idea.  I’ve been using Burt’s Bees for about 2 weeks now, and my face has progressively gotten worse.  I honestly don’t think that BB is specifically the problem.  I think there was already a problem, and so far BB just hasn’t miraculously cleared up my skin.  It has gotten so bad, though, that I finally called the other day and set up an appointment with the dermatologist.  I’m seriously feeling desperate!

Anyway, I woke up this morning and was washing my face when it occurred to me that I should really try every natural remedy I can think of before I end up with a prescription cream of some sort that is full of chemicals and most likely expensive on top of that.  After just a little bit of researching I came up with a few ideas that I’m going to begin implementing.

  • Drink a lot more water – I drink water with most meals, but often forget to drink it in between
  • Eat more raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (read: lots of juices, green smoothies and salads)
  • Eliminate (with a few exceptions) refined sugar and coffee
  • More yoga – yes, I think this matters.  It helps relieve stress and tension, which has a positive effect on my skin
  • Not wearing makeup whenever possible – this is kind of a catch 22 because I want to avoid makeup so my skin can breathe and begin to clear up, but I also have more of a desire to wear it because my face is so broke out.  Not sure exactly how to handle this other than I won’t be wearing makeup anytime I’m at home
  • Continue to wash morning and night with Burt’s Bees
  • Use tea tree oil on blemishes
  • Stop touching my face! I have a bad habit of doing this.

I just felt so compelled today to do whatever I can to take care of this problem.

Breakfastleafy greens + 1 beet + 1 carrot + 3 celery stalks + 1 apple + small piece of garlic = one amazing juice

After my juice, I did an hour yoga session.  I’m learning to turn my planning for classes into awesome classes for myself. I pulled out all the stops, even using my lavender scented cloth:)  A couple of hours later I had a snack plate.

Newman’s Own spelt pretzels

natural almond butter

homemade salsa

carrots and celery sticks

And for lunch I opted for a green smoothie.  This contained 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 container of soy yogurt (we’re out of almond milk), 2 heaping tablespoons Vega Shake and Go Smoothie, half a banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds and ice.

For an afternoon snack I veered from raw and ate up a cinnamon raisin Ezekiel english muffin with 1 tbsp almond butter.

Plus I drank lots and lots of water all day long!  Many trips to the bathroom ensued.

For dinner Jon and I grabbed salads from Chipotle on our way to buy groceries.  Mine included lettuce, black beans, grilled veggies, 3 kinds of salsa and guacamole of course!

Overall I already feel much better today.  Even though I can’t tell a difference on my face yet, it feels good to know that I’m going everything I can.  I would love to be able to cancel that dermatologist appointment in a week.

Well, now that I’ve laid out all my problems for the world to see, I must be headed to bed;)

Question: have you ever had problems with your skin, whether acne or something else?  Any ideas for natural treatments?