Tag Archives: chia seeds

ice cream and oats – a perfect combination

11 Feb

Happy Friday, friends!

This week has flown by so fast…and leaves us with only two weeks until we move.  Two!!  And I’m probably about one one-hundreth of the way through packing.  I’m in trouble.

So, I realize I’ve been writing some heavy posts lately, and while I usually like to keep things light on a Friday, I’m going to shamelessly bombard you with more deep thoughts.  Because that’s how I roll these days, folks.

I think all this uprooting and moving business has gotten me all worked up over what I’m doing with my life.  I’ve caught myself trying to plan so many years into the future I might as well have my grand-children’s names picked out (exaggeration).  I feel like I have all these ideas, aspirations and concerns that in turn leave me with endless confusing decisions; every outcome affects other decisions and those outcomes affect more…and so on.  You see what I mean?

So the other day as I was pondering what my next steps should be, I had an epiphany.  Are you ready for this?

I do not have to plan out my future or know exactly where I want to be in x number of years.

I do not have to know how my next job will affect my future children or how it will look on my resume in 20 years.

I do not.  I do not.  I do not.


While I know it’s good/responsible to plan for the future as much as is reasonable, I also know that there are things that will happen in my future that are unplanned or that I have no control over. If you had told me when I was a freshman in college that four years later I’d be living in Thailand, I would have called you crazy and laughed in your face.  And I certainly did not plan that the husband and I would be moving out of Stillwater right now.  As I’ve said many times before, God’s plans for me don’t necessarily match up with the plans I have for myself.  And when it comes down to it, that’s what makes life so fun and interesting.  Embracing the unknown and being willing to change directions at the drop of a hat if that’s where my heart is leading me.

We must focus on making the best decision we can in the present moment…with the information we have.  And then make the most of it.  Each turn we take in life is a stepping stone to the next place.  And I truly believe that as long as we’re willing to take risks and step out into the unknown, we will achieve our goals…they may not pan out exactly how we imagined them, but they’ll be even better because they’re real.  And because we made difficult choices each day based on our own intuition, desires and guidance found through prayer.  What can be better than that?

So, here’s to not putting pressure on ourselves to have everything figured out.  Here’s to embracing the unknown and living in the present moment!

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear your input on this topic.

Aside from spending waaay too much time thinking (if you’re like me it’s very difficult to shut down your mind – hello savasana), I’ve also been dying over this amazing breakfast the last two mornings.

I think the idea of overnight oats mixed with banana soft serve was originally Angela’s, but I could be wrong.

First, mix together 1/3 cup of raw oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with just under a cup of water.  Set it aside in the fridge for overnight (preferably) or at least a half hour.

After it has set, place one frozen banana (cut into half at least, if not slices) in your food processor or blender and blend until it achieves a creamy, soft serve like consistency.  You may have to stop it a couple times and scrape down the sides.  After it is about half way done blending, add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and blend until smooth.

Now pour your creamy, cold peanut butter banana soft serve over the (still cold) oats, admire it for several seconds and then mix it all up!

The absolute best part of this breakfast, in my humble opinion, is how the textures work together.  The creamy cold oats weave together with the frozen banana “ice cream” so with each bite you get a combination of smooth oats with a little bit of icy cold peanut buttery goodness.

Now, let’s just say (hypothetically of course) that when you reached into the fridge to pull out your oats, an entire container of salsa fell out and busted on the floor, throwing bits of tomato all over the floors and walls.  Well, in that case you might just need a little added craziness in the form of chocolaty indulgence.  Go ahead and add crumbles from the leftover chocolate brownies that are wrapped in foil on the counter.  There, that’s even better.

Now be prepared because your husband or your roommate might look at you like you’ve lost your mind, mixing cold oatmeal with blended frozen bananas…but it will all be worth it.  In fact, my sweet husband commented that he “couldn’t think of any worse combination.”  Now honey, that simply can’t be true.  Let’s not be crazy.

This morning I taught an earlyish PiYo class and then tutored Hye kyoung.  I’ll be spending the rest of the day trying to make our house appear as though humans live her and not animals…and desperately trying to avoid laying down for a nap.  I was up late last night busy having epiphany’s about planning out my future…and my eyes are paying the consequences.  So tired.  All the more reason to celebrate the fact that it’s Friday!

Any big plans for the weekend ya’ll?  Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day or just laying low?
The husband has some plan up his sleeve for Sunday…but he won’t tell me what it is.

let's talk about food

8 Feb

Thanks so much for all the sweet well wishes for the husband’s first day on the new job. Ya’ll are so sweet.  I texted him mid-day to see how it was going and he texted back “it’s going really well.  A great company to work for…and so much to learn!”  Today and tomorrow are basically just orientation days, and then Wednesday will be his first day in the office.  That is, unless the predicted 6-10 inches of snow keeps him home (fingers crossed:).  Anyway, I’ve always been so thankful that he has a job he loves, and I feel that way even more now.  Every time I ask him about how he’s feeling regarding the change, he just starts talking about how great he feels about this company and the difference they’re making in people’s lives.  Yay.

Now let’s just see if I can get a job as well!

I started off yesterday morning with a serious craving for yogurt and raw oatmeal.

1/3 cup raw oats, whole soy yogurt, chia seeds, dried cranberries and cinnamon

Totally hit the spot.  Sometimes I feel myself getting tired of foods that I’ve been eating a lot of, and all it takes is scrolling back through my blog a little bit to find inspiration.  I can almost always find a basic meal that I haven’t had in awhile to bring back all fresh and new!  This oldie was definitely a highlight to start the day.

Other highlights for the day included but were not limited to the following:

  • painting my nails mint green

  • spending a little extra time with God this morning

  • making my green smoothie with a scoop of natural peanut butter and chocolate almond milk for lunch

  • having a really great conversation with my mom on the phone this afternoon

  • eating yet another leftover cinnamon roll for a snack this afternoon (I know).  One a day does = moderation.  It does!

I have had two tasty meals in my head all day today, but I’ve been on kind of a weird schedule (hence the green smoothie for lunch), so I haven’t been able to make either one of them.  One is the veggie chili I made for the husband’s work party a couple of months ago, and the other is a really simple lunch idea that I just can’t get out of my mind.  I’m thinking I’ll be enjoying it for lunch today, and if so then I’ll share it later on!  As far as the chili goes, I think it’ll be the perfect meal for Wednesday when we’re all snowed in again.  mmmm.

The last part of this post has been pretty much all about food, ha!  Food is where it’s at, though.  Even Mr. Squirrel agrees.

He sits right outside our kitchen window almost every morning, munching on all kinds of nuts and seeds.  Gives me a hankering for nuts and seeds myself, just watching him.

But really food is such a big part of life, you know?  We need it for fuel and nourishment…but it also affects us in psychological ways. We celebrate with it.  We comfort with it during times of loss.  We have memories attached to it.

I’m not encouraging emotional eating in the sense of eating to hide or cover up emotions, but we’d be crazy to say that food isn’t tied to something besides a physical need.

I’ve never really talked about this on the blog before, but in the past I’ve had issues with emotional eating, and it wasn’t in a positive way.  Sometimes, whether I’d be feeling stressed, sad or just plain tired, I would go straight to the pantry and just eat mindlessly.  And then when I would finish, I’d feel guilty and even more stressed, not to mention physically kind of sick.  I remember at times feeling like I’d never be able to break the cycle.  I ate healthy enough all the rest of the time and exercised enough that I never really put on any visible weight, but the emotional weight it was adding on was not a good thing.  It was a bad habit…and I needed to break it.

It has been a long time since this last happened.  I still get carried away with the chips and salsa occasionally (okay, often;), but it’s not the same kind of destructive behavior.  It’s no longer me trying to cover up an emotion…it’s more just about liking blue corn tortilla chips a little too much. ha.  I think the point that I really was able to gain control of what I was doing was when I recognized the true issue behind the behavior.  After a lot of prayer and internal processing, I realized that I was eating at these times in an effort to relieve the negative emotions I was feeling inside.  Food was a way to cover those emotions up by doing something that felt good right at that moment.

Besides identifying the root of the problem, another thing that helped a LOT was realizing that just because I disappointed myself by doing this didn’t mean that I should punish myself afterwards.  When I treated my body that way I needed to do something really nice for my body in turn…rather than beating myself up about it.  So, I started going for a long, slow walk,  taking a bubble bath, or just cuddling with Olive for a bit.   I also spent some time identifying the specific reasons why I would eat, and then made an alternative plan for each negative emotion, such as laying down for a twenty minute nap, getting into downward dog and holding it for 20-30 seconds or spending some time in prayer. Basically, I was ready to tackle the problem itself, whatever problem it was, rather than trying to put a band-aide over it.

After so many weeks of implementing my new plan, it became a habit, and now I don’t even think about it.  I’m not saying it was an easy process, and I definitely had my fair share of set-backs, but in the end it was so worth it.  Every time I would fall back into the behavior, I would take time to really process through what I had really been feeling in the moment, work through that emotion (if it was anxiety over my job, I would take 30 minutes and problem solve or call my teacher friend and ask for advice).  And through the whole process, not only have I gained confidence in my ability to eat in a healthy way, but I’ve also become more confident in handling conflict and anxiety.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that has ever dealt with us, but somehow I doubt it.  Just the other day I was talking to the husband, and it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t eaten in this way in a long long time.  I realized that I’d totally forgotten what it was like and is totally out of character for me to do something like now.  I know there’s a possibility that I could fall back into the habit someday, but it feels good to know that making slow progress toward a healthier way of dealing with negative emotions has brought me to a place where I feel much more confident in my relationship with food. Isn’t that how it should be?

Anyway, these are just some thoughts I’d been pondering lately, and I thought I’d share them.  I used to think this issue was something I was ashamed of and wanted to hide.  I’m still not proud that I struggled with it, but I realize now that we all have battles such as this and the best way to overcome those struggles is to bring them out into the light.

What is something you’ve overcome through a lot of time and hard work?  How does it feel to be in a place where you feel confident and at peace in regard to that issue?  Or are you still working through something and trying to get to that place?

the best surprise

20 Jan

I felt so blessed by the response to yesterday’s post.  Thank you so much for every encouraging word, congratulations, prayer and thought.  It really means so much to Jonathan and I.

As we are going through so many changes, I’m so thankful for this blog and all of you who stop by to read it.  This is a constant in my life that brings me calmness and familiarity to focus on.

Yesterday was yet another milestone marked off in the journey toward moving to OKC: our house inspection.  I think because everything has happened so fast and easily since we put it up for sale last Friday, I had a bad feeling about the inspection, like something just had to go wrong.  But it didn’t!  We passed with flying colors, and we’re so relieved.

We went to bed last night feeling so at ease, and woke up this morning to the best surprise.

Not only was everything covered in white, but the husband’s office had decided to not open until 10am!  Not a bad way to start the morning for sure.  We laid back down and slept off and on for another 45 minutes or so, and then got up to have some breakfast and get a few things done.

On my to-do list was to cook up a side dish of some sort to take over to a friend’s house for dinner tonight.  Earlier this week, when Grace and Jonathan invited us over, she said she’d be making a vegetable soup, but also some quesadillas for the guys.  I promised to make a side dish to go with the soup…I was originally thinking salad, but this morning I just couldn’t get hummus out of my head!  So, I pulled out a slew of cookbooks, searching for a recipe that I would already have the ingredients for.  Finally, I stumbled upon one in, you guessed it – Eat, Drink and Be Vegan.  I adapted the recipe a bit to suit our tastes and due to the fact that I didn’t have a couple of ingredients.

I think it turned out great!  But I guess the true test will be tonight.  I love how the peanut, tamari and sesame add a distinct sort of flavor, but the garlicky hummus still shines!

Peanut Sesame Hummus with Chias

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes , or to taste (I like it hot!)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  • Place chickpeas in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute
  • Add remaining ingredients except water to bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Pour mixture into Vitamix or a food processor

  • Puree, adding water until consistency is smooth.  You’ll also have to stop to scrape down the sides at regular intervals
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and chia seeds, crushed peanuts or a wedge of lime!

Hummus is one of the top items on my list of favorite foods.  I especially love how versatile it is – you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner…and you can eat it so many different ways.  My favorite store bought kind is Sabra Roasted Garlic, but homemade just can’t be beat…especially because it’s super easy and you can add whatever flavors you want!  I’m thinking maybe mexican inspired next time…

Now I’ve got some Super Charge Me cookies baking in the oven, and I’m working on a few projects – planning my PiYo class for tomorrow being one of them.  I always end up waiting until the last minute to plan my class, and I’m really trying to work on getting it done early.  It’s much more fun when I have plenty of time!

Hope you’re all having a great Thursday!

Do you have a love for hummus? Or have you never tried it before?  What’s your favorite kind?

a new chia recipe

13 Jan

Wow, guys.  Thanks so much for all the love you showed to me and my blog yesterday.  It may seem kind of silly, but yesterday really did feel very special to me.  ChiaSeedMe has seen me through so many moments this past year, and it has been such a blessing as it’s allowed me a place to express myself in so many different ways.  It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. A blog makes it possible for a person to have a responsive audience to whatever it is you need to share – fears, hopes, dreams.  It also has allowed me to express myself through photography and writing, which I never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

Another aspect I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday was hearing all the comments from those of you who love chia seeds!  These little guys are taking the world by storm.

And speaking of chia seeds, last night I added them to a meal that I’ve never added them to before.  And they were delicious as always.

When I was growing up, it was a rarity for my mom to not have a homemade meal on the table.  It was a norm for her to call us in from playing outside five times before we would actually come, and I remember never wanting to stop for dinner (who was I?).  But now I hold very dear the memories of our whole family sitting around the table every night.  My mom was (and is:) a great cook; some of her specialties included mexican casserole, tacos, meatloaf, chicken and rice casserole, roast with cooked potatoes and carrots, and last but definitely not the least – her famous spaghetti sauce.

I always loved spaghetti nights.  The sauce would simmer on the stove for hours as each flavor mingled together giving off the most mouth-watering aroma you can possibly imagine.  It would fill the entire house, luring us in from any part of the house; she probably got so tired of us inquiring “when will dinner be ready, mom?”  Sitting here right now I can vividly taste the slightly sweet, warm tomato flavors.

Now that I am older I can appreciate more than ever before the fact that my mom valued having a healthy, homemade meal on the table (almost) every single night.  Having my own family (minus kids) now, I realize how challenging it is to meal plan, get the groceries bought, plan ahead for preparation and create a tasty meal in time for dinner.  But I’m so thankful that it was important to her to do so and that she instilled that importance in me.

Last night’s dinner was the ChiaSeedMe version of spaghetti sauce.  Honestly, it doesn’t taste a whole lot like my mom’s.  But, I’ve dabbled in making from scratch spaghetti sauces before, and this one is by far the most delicious.  The flavors are much more complex and they work so well together, but this recipe was super easy as well.

I started off by sauteeing some chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until both turned slightly golden and then adding one and half chopped bell peppers.

As soon as the peppers had turned tender, I poured in the tomato puree, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, mixing them together until the different textures became one and it became smooth. Already my nose was being filled with the fresh italian aroma.

Next came the seasonings – basil, a lot of italian seasoning, rosemary, garlic powder, sea salt and ground red pepper.  Dumped them all in and stirred like crazy.  When they were all incorporated well, I completed the second best step – the taste test.  I recommend you definitely not skip this step as you may want to adjust the seasonings to perfectly suit your tastes:)

And lastly, it was time to add in the namesake of this recipe…the star of the show.

As many of you know, the chia seeds did not affect the flavor of this sauce, but what they did add is protein, iron, omega 3’s and 6’s, calcium, fiber and other vitamins.  After sprinkling them over the sauce, I stirred to incorporate them well and then allowed the sauce to simmer for another ten minutes or so.  This gave the chia seeds time to soften and gel up; they were undetectable in the sauce, but they gave it a little bit thicker texture and absorbed some of the liquid so that the sauce wasn’t the least bit watery when ladled over the noodles.

After adding the chias, I took a quick break from the sauce to toss a handful of thin spaghetti noodles (the best kind) in some boiling water so they’d have just enough time to cook.  We can’t forget the noodles!

My only question is: how did I never think of this before now?

Spicy Chia Spaghetti Sauce

Ingedients

  • 29 ounce can tomato puree
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • small can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 – 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1.5 bell peppers, any color, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Directions

  • Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until both are slightly golden.
  • Add bell pepper and continue to saute until tender.
  • Pour in tomato sauce, tomato paste and tomato puree and stir until well combined.
  • Add in garlic powder, basil, rosemary, sea salt, italian seasoning, ground red pepper and stir well.
  • Lastly, add chia seeds, stirring to combine.
  • Allow sauce to simmer on low heat for at least 10 minutes.

Serve over whole wheat thin spaghetti with a sprinkling of Angela’s vegan parmesan and a side of sprouted bread slathered with Earth Balance and garlic powder and toasted in the oven until slightly crispy.

Mexican look out – italian just might be moving in for good!

How did your family handle dinnertime when you were growing up?  Did you eat around the table like me?  Was it family night around the TV? Do share – I love hearing how other families live!

**Also, don’t forget to enter ChiaSeedMe’s one year anniversary giveaway for some chia seeds or a special secret care package of my favorite little things!  You can enter by clicking here or by clicking the button on my side bar.

happy birthday chiaseedme

12 Jan

Yesterday I mentioned that today would be a very special day in the life of my little blog.

One year ago today, I sat down and wrote my very first post on ChiaSeedMe.

I was beginning my second semester as a first year high school English teacher, commuting two hours every day, and in desperate need of something besides work in my life.  CSM provided that for me; it quickly became the highlight of my days.  With every post I fell more in love with food, writing and photography.  Now I can’t imagine my life without this little space.

One of the questions I’m asked most often about my blog is “why ChiaSeedMe?”

When I started this blog, I had been eating chia seeds for quite some time, and I loved so many things about them.  What’s not to love?  They are high in protein, high in omega 3’s and omega 6’s, help balance blood sugar, help keep you full longer, high in iron and so much more.  But chia seeds themselves aren’t the only reason why I chose the name.

I also chose it because of what chia seeds represent for me.  They’re tiny little seeds, hardly bigger than the tip of a pencil, but they pack a serious punch.  I try to focus my life around the little things that make a big difference, and the words I write here and photos I snap every day have brought to light all the little things in my life that make it what it is.  The way the light filters through the trees in our backyard just at the onset of evening, the way I can see the husband just perfectly through the space between our living room and office, and the softness of our down comforter when I pull it up over my shoulders each night – these little things bring me such joy and are a constant reminder of just how blessed I am to be living this life.

This blog has never been just about what I eat for dinner each night or which workout I choose each morning, although I do love writing about those things.  It’s about this all encompassing idea that this life we live really isn’t just about what we do each day.  It’s about really feeling our experiences.  It’s about seemingly unimportant moments that make a big impact by bringing a smile, focusing on the good, working through the bad and coming out better at the other end.  Moments that embed themselves in the very fabric of our minds and change us forever, one little thing at a time and sometimes without us even realizing it.  I believe these tiny little things matter more than we even understand.

And along the journey of this past year, I’ve gained one of the greatest things I could imagine.  Friendships with other people who not only have the same interests in life, but who are so thoughtful, caring and supportive.  Who reach out with comfort when I’ve quit my job and I’m feeling doubtful or help me decide whether to keep my hair short or grow it long.  And in the midst of it all, I can hardly believe how blessed and thankful I am.

So, thank you for coming alongside me this year.  Thank you for reading.  Without you all, my small corner of the internet would be awfully lonely…serving only as a space to bounce my thoughts into the air and watch them as they fade in the distance.  You are the glue that holds this little blog together.  You give it energy and life, and it truly wouldn’t be the same without you.

As a small way to show you just how thankful I am and to celebrate the first birthday of CSM – there is only one thing I can see fit to do.

Let’s give away some chia seeds!

Monterrey Bay Spice Company is a great source for not only chia seeds, but herbs, spices and teas as well.  They have been a great sponsor for ChiaSeedMe me throughout this year, and have kindly offered to send two readers each a bag of my favorite little seeds.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight on Sunday, January 15th to enter!  You can say anything you want…just make yourself known:)

In addition to that, I personally want to do something for you guys as well.  I will choose one more winner from the comments on this post, and you’ll receive a little care package of some of my favorite “little things.”  I’m not telling what will be in it, but I promise it will bring a smile to your face!

Because it’s the little things that matter most.

**Unfortunately, the contest is open to U.S. residents only.  International readers – I don’t love you any less!
**I will choose a winner using random.org.

getting back on track

1 Dec

Amidst the busyness of the last few days, there have been some really sweet highlights.

Yesterday I received a mysterious box in the mail.  I always get so excited when an unexpected package comes, but usually I open it to find junk mail of some sort.  But not this time.  I opened the box, peered inside and saw this:

and this

My mom, step-dad and sister bought me this cute little scarf and mailed it to me as a surprise.  How sweet is that?  It totally brightened my entire day and made me feel so loved and happy. I have the best family:)

Another highlight came today when I finished a project that I’ve been working on.  My friend, JJ, facebooked me about a week ago and asked me if I could make a couple of tag blankets for some friends of hers who are having a baby shower this week.  I made a tag blanket for JJ’s baby right before he was born, and she says he takes it everywhere with him, so she thought it would be a great gift for her friends!

I of course happily obliged, but unfortunately my sewing machine was not quite as willing.  Yesterday took all the patience I could muster as my machine jammed over and over and over.  Finally, after about 4 hours of working, I finished them up!

tag blanket numero one

and numero two

If you’re wondering what a tag blanket is, allow me to explain.  It’s a small, soft blanket for babies that has loops of ribbon coming off of it – it’s great for cuddling, pulling, chewing and just all around good fun:)

Anyway, regardless of my frustration with the sewing machine, you really can’t beat an afternoon of sewing while jamming out to Christmas music and sipping a hot latte on a frigid winter day.  Can I get an amen?

Another thing you can’t beat?

baked apples with cinnamon and a splash of agave

and spinach lavash wraps with hummus, chia seeds and veggies.  with a side of ceramic birds:)

So, I mentioned yesterday that I would be back to talk about getting back in a healthy groove after veering from it for awhile.  The last couple of weeks or so I have just gotten a little lazy with eating clean.  Between the stresses and busyness of the everyday and the extra craziness of the holidays, I’ve been eating a few too many chips and cookies, and not nearly enough veggies.

I definitely have my ups and downs when it comes to living healthy.  I go through phases where it seems I just get on a roll of eating too much junk and not making it to the gym.  And once I start slacking, it can be sooo hard to get back on track.

But no one can be perfect all the time, and the important thing for me is to focus on the fact that I do always get back on track. Instead of beating myself up and regretting what I’ve done, I am so much more successful overall when I just dust off my behind and jump right back in the game.  Dwelling on what I’ve done in the past only serves to drag me farther down, killing any remnants of mojo I have left and leaving me feeling discouraged and sad.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve really stepped it up and gotten back on track with food and exercise.  Tonight I was thinking through a few things I’ve done to help, so I thought I’d share them with you!

  • I re-read a book that has been motivating to me in the past.  This renews my energy and refreshes my perspective of why it’s important to me to make healthy choices.  This time around it was Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean book.  Absolutely love this book – if you haven’t read it, put it on your Christmas list stat!
  • I took a few minutes to write out some goals/reasons why I want to do what it takes to feel great and be healthy. These change from time to time, so it’s really important to me to keep them fresh and current in my mind.
  • I got a partner! Turns out I’m not the only who has been slacking since the holidays started.  Talking to someone else and sharing ideas, struggles and goals together really pumps me up to make some changes.  Plus, I get instant accountability for my choices!
  • I wrote down a mantra and memorized it! Every time I start to fall back into bad habits, whether by skipping the gym multiple days in a row or by eating another handful of chips rather than some raw vegetables, I immediately repeat my mantra in my head.  It focuses me instantly!
  • I perused blogs and jotted down some new fun meal ideas that I can get excited about! Sometimes I just get in a rut and become tired of the same foods I always eat.  There’s no better place than blogs to get new inspiration for workouts and meals.
  • I pretended I felt better even before I did.  Sometimes it really does work to “fake it till you make it.”  Even though I felt sluggish and kind of weighed down, I began to act and think like I felt healthy and alive.  This got me through for a couple of days until I really did start to feel better!

These are just a few of the things I did – nothing groundbreaking, but yet these never fail to help me get back on course when I seem to have strayed far away.

I’d love to hear any ideas you have for getting back on track after being in a rut.  What do you do when this happens to you?!

Hope you’ve all had a great Wednesday!  Onward!

chia seeds are like weight training

11 Nov

Hello!

Thanks so much for the sweet comments on my Thailand post from yesterday.  Reminiscing about our time there is near to my heart, so I’m super thankful that you guys enjoy hearing about it. I’m sure there will be more to come:)

Today was rainy and dreary here in Oklahoma, which lent a kind of peacefulness and relaxation to the day.  And laziness I suppose:)

I pretty much rocked it out at the gym though, getting in 4.5 miles on the treadmill and lifting arms, chest, back, legs and abs.  I have to admit, I am so thankful that I can spend more time at the gym these days.  Last year it was a major feat to even make it in the front door, and I’m well aware that this is probably a very small window in my life in which I can spend almost as much time there as I want (within reason of course) – I’m really trying to take advantage of it!

As soon as I walked back in the door of my house, I headed straight to my blender.  Minutes later I was guzzling this:

Chocolate milk!

Actually, it was better than chocolate milk.  I blended one and a quarter cups of unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons of Vega Shake and Go Smoothie powder and some ice.  I have become a huge fan of Vega in my green smoothies, but this was the first time I’d had it just in milk.  I’m telling you, this will become a regular occurrence for post-workout fuel.  It has many of the benefits of Amazing Grass, but also boasts 11 grams of complete protein per serving.  Perfect to repair muscles after an intense workout.  As much as I love my Amazing Grass, I think if my wallet forces me to choose, I’d have to go with Vega at this point.  It truly is the only protein powder I’ve ever actually liked.

Anyway, by the time I got back from the gym, showered and dressed, and caught up on some email, the husband was pulling up outside ready for lunch!

I swiftly got to work making hummus, and it was the most troublesome batch of hummus I’ve ever created.  First, my food processor broke.  As soon as I turned it on it started making this really weird noise like a dying engine and then I started to smell something burning.  Oh-kay!

Time to bring in the reinforcements.

Enter…the Magic Bullet.  My biggest problem with the Magic Bullet is that it is too small.  And the lid gets stuck and won’t come off if you leave it processing for too long.  Which of course happened today.  So, I ended up with a big mess and a bad attitude.

But at least I also came out with a veggie pita.

This pita was super basic, layered with a generous helping of homemade hummus, broccoli slaw, pickles and chia seeds.  mmm.

This was kind of a light lunch, so it wasn’t but a few hours later and I was ready for a snack.

soy yogurt, chias, raw oats and unsalted almonds

More chias!  I told you they’d be back in the picture around here.  Chia seeds are kind of like weight training for me.

I don’t realize how much I miss them until I bring them back!  And once I start, I just can’t stop.

I spent a large portion of the afternoon researching vitamins.  I’ve never been a big vitamin person, aside from B12, because I believe that you can get all the nutrients you need out of a healthy diet.  But I know that sometimes I slack on getting in the right amounts of certain foods, so I’m going to start incorporating some vitamins into my day.  For the most part, it can’t hurt…and it just might help in certain areas!  I especially did a lot of research about vitamins and acne.  Yes, I’m still have problems with my skin. Honestly, it is as bad as ever, and I’ve kind of come to a breaking point.

Anyway, I need to do a little more research, but once I settle into which ones I’m taking, I’ll do an update.

Onto dinner.  I’ve known pretty much all week that I was going to make tofu for dinner tonight, but I hadn’t yet decided how I was going to make it.  I set up the tofu to press around 5, then started looking around for a good marinade or sauce.

And I found this.

Indonesian Tofu with Peanut Butter
original recipe found here


Ingredients

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Directions

  • Heat large skillet over medium heat
  • place tofu slices in skillet and press down with spatula until brown.  Flip and repeat on other side.
  • Once tofu is cooked through (browned on both sides and chewy on the inside) pour peanut sauce over tofu and continue to cook for several more minutes.
  • Serve over rice or noodles

I served this tofu over a bed of soba (buckwheat) noodles with a side of broccoli.  While it wasn’t the absolute best tofu I’ve ever tasted, it was pretty dang good and I would definitely make it again.  The husband actually raved and raved about it, so if I don’t make it again, he probably will! We did both go back for seconds, too, if that tells you anything:)

After dinner, the husband had the brilliant idea of making chocolate muffins together.  I don’t know where he gets these crazy schemes, but who am I to complain?  We scrounged around for a recipe and came up with one that sounded decent, but required a quick run to the store.  An hour later we were back home, mixing up some chocolatey goodness.

I used to say this to my students all the time last year…but if you haven’t listened to a word I’ve said so far, hear this:  I will be popping in tomorrow to give you the recipe I used for these muffins.  As soon as I do, you will want to drop everything and head for the kitchen.  They really are that good.  Here’s a little sneak peek for you.

He just couldn’t wait one more second:)

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!  Happy (almost) Friday!

Question: Do you take vitamins regularly?  If so, which ones and why do you take them?

*I was given the Vega powder in my HLS swag bag, but have not been compensated in any way for this review.

sweet pumpkin chia pudding

8 Nov

Good evening!

This morning I made it to the gym for another day of cardio and strength.  I’m happy to report that since I committed to doing more weight lifting, I have been sticking to the new schedule pretty well!  It’s funny how when I get back in the routine of weights, I can’t figure out why I ever got out of it.

Before I headed out this morning, I popped a few of my new favorite pre-workout snack.

Dried apricots are a great snack for workouts – at least for me.  They don’t weigh me down, I can eat them quickly, and they are relatively high in carbs and low in calories.  I usually eat anywhere from 3-6 right before a medium intensity workout.  Of course if I was going for a longer or more intense workout, I might want to eat something more substantial.  I’ve also been using them to curb my sweet cravings after meals – just a couple of them do the trick!

Monday is my busiest day of the week, and today it turned out to be extraordinarily busy because I got a new tutoring student!  She’s another sweet Korean girl, wife to one of my current students and as cute as pie.  International students make me smile big time:)

You know what else makes me smile big time?  Comments from you! I just want to say thanks so much to all of you who read my ramblings.  While I write this blog because I feel passionate about food and healthy living, and I love writing about and taking pictures of it, it wouldn’t be near the same if you didn’t talk back to me.  You guys rock. Seriously:)

Speaking of readers and comments, I got a comment the other day from reader Sarah who asked if I’ve ever made chia pudding.  “Why no, no I haven’t” I replied.  And then I asked myself – why have I not made chia pudding??

I love chia seeds so much that I named my blog after them and yet I haven’t made one of the coolest and most chia like recipes out there.  Something is wrong with this picture.  In fact, I think chias have taken a bit too long of a hiatus from CSM.  It’s time to bring ’em back!

And what better way to bring them back than paired with my other favorite obsession as of late.

Pumpkin of course!

Sweet Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin (I used 1/4 cup this morning, but will up it to 1/3 next time)
  • 3-4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (any kind of nut milk would work)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well mixed.
  • Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow to set for 20+ minutes.  I threw mine together and then let it set while I was at the gym – probably a total of about an hour or a little more.  You could even let them set overnight and have a ready made breakfast.
  • Enjoy!

Super easy, super quick and tasty!  If you appreciate the gel-like texture of moist chia seeds and you like pumpkin – then you will love this pudding! I know there are many variations of chia pudding all over the place, and you can sub in and out ingredients to make whatever variation you want! I have yet to see pumpkin although I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

I am still loving my fall table arrangement, and as excited as I am to switch it to Christmas, I’m kind of sad to say goodbye.  Not too sad though!  Nothing keeps me from being over the top happy for the Christmas season! Now if only it wasn’t still 80 degrees outside, I’d really be getting into the holiday spirit:) The fact that Walmart has already put up a giant Christmas tree in the front entrance is helping a little bit.

Hope the beginning to your week has been lovely!

Are you saying bring it on to the Christmas season?  Or are you clinging to the last days of fall?

Also, do you eat something before your workout?  If so, what works for you?

work it. own it.

1 Sep

Wow.

That’s all I have to say about this evening.  I have spent so much time attempting to get my computer/photo problem under control, and tonight was no different.  I’ve definitely made a lot of progress at getting my photos transferred from iPhoto to Flickr, but I still have a long way to go!  Come on little Macbook – you can do it!

As predicted, Jon and I headed to the gym this morning for our 3 mile run, and it was the best run I’ve had in awhile.  To be perfectly honest, it was the first run in awhile during which I didn’t walk.  Even though I’m a big proponent of walk breaks, I have to say it felt fabulous to kick it into gear this morning!  I owned that run:)

In fact, I feel so good today that I think I’ve gained a renewed motivation to kick butt on my runs from now on…even when they get really uncomfortable…and even outside.  Once you taste the feeling of success, you don’t want to let it slip away!

Anyway, once I got home and showered I was having a serious craving for some greek yogurt.  I have no idea where it came from, but it came upon me suddenly and with such force that I actually drove all the way to Walmart and bought some just for breakfast.  Absolutely nothing else would do.  I also decided that I couldn’t live without these beautiful raspberries while I was there, so I brought them home with me too.

greek yogurt over a toasted Van’s flax waffle with raspberries and sprinkle of chia seeds

This meal was so pretty and fun that I had to break out our nice flatware.  It actually might be only the second time I’ve ever used this flatware.  whoa.

Lunch and dinner were easy – Pita Pit and leftovers.  That’s the way it’s gotta be sometimes, ya know?

Tonight was the last yoga class I’ll go to and not be the instructor!  Kind of a crazy feeling.  I am loving teaching PiYo so far, and I’m super stoked to start yoga as well.  It’s such a fun challenge to come up with new classes each week, and I am so excited to build on each one and see everyone improve throughout the rest of the year.

Yoga is just cool that way:)

Well, guys, I gotta cut this short and get to bed.  Dealing with technology all day has completely zapped me of all energy.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a less frustrating day as far as that goes!

Yay for Thursday!

giveaway time! spreading the chia love

23 Aug

Jon and I woke up bright and early this morning and headed out for a three mile run.  It actually wasn’t too terribly humid and hot, and therefore was almost enjoyable.  I said almost😉

Soon after we got back, I was starving for breakfast and was wasting time on twitter while trying to decide what to have when Evan tweeted an idea for the Vega Shake and Go Smoothie mix from the HLS swag bag.  It sounded too good to pass up, so I went for it!

It may not look too appetizing, but don’t knock it ’till you try it.

First, I mashed a whole banana until it was fairly smooth. I then mixed in two heaping spoonfuls of Vega powder, 1/3 cup of raw oats and a splash of almond milk.  It turned out like a thick chocolate pudding!  My only complaint is that it was a tiny bit grainy from the powder.  Next time I think I’ll go a little easier on the powder, but otherwise it was awesome!  And full of protein!

The Vega mix is completely plant based and is corn, dairy, gluten, soy, wheat and yeast free. Per serving it has:

  • Two servings of veggies
  • 2500 mg Omega-3-6-9
  • 11 g complete protein
  • Only 100 calories
  • 1 billion probiotics cultures

Pretty cool, right? I have yet to find a protein powder that I like, but I’m a fan of this.

This morning I had my first meeting with a new student that I’m going to be tutoring!  She’s from Korea, and I’ll be tutoring her 3 days a week now.  I’m pretty excited about it – something inside me just lights up when I work with international students. 🙂

After my meeting I had lunch with my friend Grace at Panera.  I ordered a version of my favorite – Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, Garden Vegetable soup and a whole grain baguette.

And an Adora disc for dessert.  Not sure what I’m gonna do when these run out – I’ve gotten kind of attached:)

Okay, now onto the good stuff.  Sorry to leave you hangin’.

How about some chia seeds from ChiaSeedsDirect.com to make it up to you?

I don’t like to bombard you guys with giveaways, but I honestly just cannot pass up an opportunity to spread the chia love:)

The lovely folks at ChiaSeedsDirect have been gracious enough to offer a free 2lb. bag of chia seeds to one fabulous ChiaSeedMe reader.

There are five different ways you can enter (1 entry for each one you do):

  • leave a comment on this post telling me the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done OR something adventurous you want to do in the future
  • add ChiaSeedMe to your blogroll and tell me you did or if it already is tell me that
  • follow me on twitter (@chiaseedme) and tweet about the giveaway using the following:    @chiaseedme enter to win free chia seeds!!  http://chiaseedme.com/?p=2235
  • decide on one random act of kindness you will do sometime this week and tell me what it is (and you have to do it – honors system!)
  • mention the giveaway in a blog post and link to it in the comments

Please make sure and tell me which of the five you did in the comments.

The giveaway will run until Sunday, August 29th at midnight.

If you’ve never used chia seeds before and need some ideas – click here for tons of ways that I love to use them.  Also, make sure and check out my post on why chia seeds are so awesome.

If you haven’t checked out ChiaSeedsDirect yet, you should!  They are an awesome company that offers the highest quality chia seeds at very low prices with free shipping on all U.S. orders.  You can’t beat that!  Also, if you are interested, feel free to download a free 16-page booklet on chia seeds, chia seed uses and chia seed recipes by using the following link: http://www.chiaseedsdirect.com/frreonchsehe.html.

**giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.  Sorry!

See you all later!