Tag Archives: salad

no cabin fever here

5 Feb

The last few days have been full of so much time.  Time to slow down for once and enjoy just being.  My love for snow days runs deep for this very reason.  There are only a few times a year that one can hole up indoors with their favorite person (and dog) and have every excuse to stay there.  There’s something about the beauty of the cold and white outside that makes it perfectly okay to lack productivity and busyness.  While almost all you see on Facebook is people remarking about how stir crazy they are and how ready they are for the snow to head out, I can’t help but feel just the opposite…and cuddle up a little deeper with the husband.

We’ve had lots of naps, good food eaten while curled up on the couch, watched many episodes of Lost and actually have accomplished a small amount of packing and organizing for the big move.

mixed greens, chick peas, chia seeds, dried cranberries, chopped bell peppers and onions and tahini dressing

baked kale chips seasoned with cumin, sea salt and garlic powder + sweet potato, black beans, salsa and broccoli

Thursday night I decided to whip up this dish I’d seen several days ago.  It looked so delicious, and considering the husband and I’s love for avocado, I figured it simply couldn’t go wrong.  I mixed the avocado, fresh basil and lemon juice in the Vitamix while the husband cooked some quinoa pasta.

One of the things I adore about my husband is the way that he spends time with me. Whether it’s cooking dinner each night, running a few errands or cleaning the bathrooms, he is usually there right alongside me.  I will never forget a comment he made last year when I was so consumed with lesson planning and grading each night that I couldn’t even leave the house.  As he headed out the door to run to Walmart one night I asked him “does it make you sad that we aren’t able to do most things together these days?” His reply: “Yeah, usually when I’m on my way to the store I look over at the passenger’s seat and it makes me sad that you aren’t there.”

I love that we do everything together.  Not that we never do our own thing or have time apart…because there’s a place for that as well.  But we’re a team and most everything is more fun when we’re together.

I digress.

So, once we each finished our task, I poured the avocado sauce over the pasta and mixed it all up before spooning a portion out on each or our plates.

Antsy to bite into what would be one of my favorite dishes ever, I carried our plates to the table.  We prayed for the food and then wound a big bite of noodles around our forks and….

It was not good.  My only idea about why it went wrong is that the husband and I didn’t communicate very well about portion sizes of noodles to sauce.  The sauce was just really gooey and overpowering.  I tried to keep eating it, but after a few bites was really feeling like I might be sick.  Weird, right?  The husband, being not quite as adventurous as I when it comes to food, quit after the first bite.  We were so hungry by this point and didn’t feel like taking the time to create an entirely new meal, so we resorted to a couple of Amy’s burritos jazzed up with a bit of enchilada sauce.

Not exactly what I had planned, but sometimes you just have to roll with it, eh?

Based on the comments from the recipe’s post, I feel pretty sure that we are the ones that screwed this one up.  I’m thinking I’d really like to try it again one of these days…maybe with a little more pasta and a little less sauce.

Last night we had our traditional Friday night date night.  We made our classic enchiladas and guacamole…all ready in about 20 minutes and so delicious.  I have been feeling so nostalgic lately; I’m a very sentimental person, so while packing and having “lasts” in our house, I get probably a little dramatic.  But along with the drama, I try to really savor every moment, remembering exactly what it feels like and ingraining it in my memory, so I can keep it with me forever.

We’ve had so many memories in this house, and I’m happy that before we leave it for good we were able to spend a lot of time just being together and doing our favorite things at home.  The other night I was packing some boxes in the office, and as I loaded another armload of books I noticed that the boxes was labeled “books – office” in thick black marker.  I mused aloud “it really was just like yesterday that we were packing to move here.”  It just really took me back to the excitement we both felt over moving into our first house together and how in love with it we were the first time we laid eyes on the shiny wood floors.  I always imagined that we would be in this house for many years.  That we’d bring our first baby up the steps of our porch and fill the second bedroom with a crib and rocking chair, placed right between the two corner windows.

But now we’re moving on sooner than we thought because God’s plan wasn’t quite what we had envisioned for ourselves.  And sprinkled throughout my sad moments about leaving, I feel so excited over where we’re going and so thankful that He is taking us there.  Since the day we got married, the husband and I have thrived on adventure – moving to Thailand for a year, exploring NYC, Europe, starting new jobs and then leaving when we feel a pull toward something different.  Sometimes the adventures bring fear and struggles, but always at the end we are closer, wiser and more in love.

So yay for new opportunities in life and yay for doing it all together!  I’m off now to help the husband – he’s currently buried in boxes and paperwork, attempting to get our office under control.

I hope you all have enjoyed your snow days if you had any…and happy weekend!

Are you a person who likes change?  What is a big change that you experienced in your life that had a big impact on you?

friday photo fun

28 Jan

Happy Friday!

Am I the only one who feels like this week has seemed sort of long?  I’m so glad it’s Friday!

I’m off to teach PiYo this morning, and then I have a tutoring appointment right before lunch.  The rest of the day I’ll be just working around the house – Outbox, moving etc.

While this week has seemed long, it has been great as far as food is concerned. I’ve incorporated so many more juices and raw fruits and vegetables, and I feel great for it!  It’s cool the way your body starts to crave those things when you give it lots of them. I’ve been craving fresh juice and green smoothies so much this week.  The only downside is I’m going broke over produce.  But it’s so worth it.

I’ve also been eating a lot of salads, which is not usually my cup of tea in the winter months.  Almost every lunch this week has been a plate of fresh greens with lots of toppings.  The key is to make a really full, great salad with lots of textures and flavors.

I made a batch of tahini salad dressing that I found in Crazy Sexy Diet, and the creaminess has left me craving more after every meal.  It’s so basic – a mixture of 1 cup tahini, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 minced garlic clove. Whisk it all together, adding water until you reach the desired consistency.  I love simple ingredients that create a lot of bang!

I’ve switched my additions up a little bit each day, but it’s been some combination of tons of spring mix and spinach, pinto/black beans, chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper, onion, unsweetened dried cranberries, corn, diced avocado and chia seeds.  Perfect!  It has helped a lot for me to make a large batch of the dressing ahead of time and even pre-chop all the veggies (except the avocado)…then all I have to do is throw it together and it’s done!

I’m thinking I’ll probably top off the week by having another one for lunch…I really might turn into a big lettuce leaf.

Switching topics.

Remember last Friday when we talked about geese, and I told you all that I used to catch ducks when I was little?  Well my Grandma has come through with the evidence (thanks Grandma!!).

These showed up in my mailbox yesterday and gave me quite a laugh.

Photo 1: candice luring the duck to shore.

Photo 2/3: the catch.

is it just me or is that a very large duck?

I love side bangs, don’t you? I should totally rock those again.

Photo 4: HELP!!

thank you mom and Cristen, for being completely oblivious to the duck attack;)

Photo 5: Quote from my grandma – “This one has nothing to do with ducks.  Tom was a big cat.  Seems you’re trying to lift him.”

looks like it’s not going too well….for me or Tom…

There are many things that are funny to me in these photos, but one in particular is that in my quest to grow my hair out – the image in my head of what I want eventually is uncannily close to photos 1 and 2. ha!

Happy weekend ya’ll!

What is something funny or crazy that you did as a child? What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

hap-bee halloween!

31 Oct

Olive says “I hope you had a ‘Hap-bee’ Halloween weekend!!”

Is there some kind of competition for cutest dog costume contest?

Some may think it’s silly to dress up animals for Halloween, but I think it’s just so darn cute.  And besides, with no human children to speak of we must spend our time doing something!

We did have some Halloween fun with humans this weekend as well.  Saturday night we headed over to our friends’ house for a party with our Sunday School class.  We had sort of potluck with lots of delicious food, roasted marshmallows and a pumpkin carving contest!  I was the proud wife of the best carved pumpkin winner. Here’s the husband’s masterpiece:

Not bad for a graphic designer, eh?  🙂

Anyway, I signed up to bring a pasta salad to the party.  The main dish was slated to be ribs, and when we arrived our sweet hostess proudly announced that they had grilled 15 pounds of ribs – “so eat up!!”  haha. Lovely:)

I don’t mean to be cynical at all – this is one of the sweetest couples you’d ever meet, but I have to admit that I cringed a bit at the announcement.  Anyway, I usually sign up to bring some kind of side dish or salad when we got to parties, so that I’ll for sure have something substantial to eat that is vegetarian. And for this particular occasion I decided to go with a classic favorite.

Summery Fall Couscous Salad

Even though it’s technically more of a summery dish, I knew it would be a hit.  Plus the recipe makes a huge amount, perfect for parties and potlucks.  Seriously ya’ll, if you get a chance, please make this salad.  Once people get past the “foreigness” of couscous there is no holding them back.  Sometimes I even make it just to have at the house – and the husband eats it like candy:)  If you’re making it just for your family though, you may want to half the recipe.

The stars of this salad:

My sweet friend, Grace, also brought a tasty salad that was meat free, so I enjoyed some of that, a few chips and some bread!

And a s’more of course.

Anyway, it was a great time.  You really can’t beat good food and great friends, ya know?

After the party Saturday night, we stopped by Redbox to rent a movie – The Greatest.  Have you seen it?  If you don’t mind movies that make you bawl for an hour straight, then you should definitely rent it!

Jon loves to rent really sad movies with me and then fall asleep and make me watch them by myself.

Case in point:  When we were in Tokyo a couple of years ago, we got in bed to watch P.S. I Love You.  Um, yeah.  Talk about a tear jerker.  Within 5 minutes the husband was fast asleep, and I was left to be sucked into this horribly sad movie all by myself.  I got revenge, however, when he woke up to me sobbing uncontrollably at 1am, begging him to tell me why he made me watch it all alone.  And that is no exaggeration, my friends.  I was an complete mess.  If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

Anyway, so last night was pretty much a replay, but not quite as intense.

Needless to say I woke up after only about 5 hours of sleep, puffy eyed and tired.  I’m sure everyone at church wondered just what kind of party we had Saturday night, haha.  o’well!

Naturally, it is now almost midnight, and I still have some tasks to finish up.  I’m working on something for tomorrow’s post that I’m pretty excited about.  Heather is having a special post this week where she’s linking other bloggers who took on a recipe that is a challenge and is out of their comfort zone.  I love challenges like this!  Stay tuned…

See you guys tomorrow:)  Let’s start strong for another week!

What was the craziest or funniest costume you saw this weekend? While it wasn’t super crazy, on Saturday afternoon at about 4 o’clock I happened to glance out our front window, and there was a Peter Pan and Tinker Bell walking down our street.  I know it was the day before Halloween and all, but there was just something funny about it:) lol.


20 Oct

No one told me how cold it was going to be here in DC!

Something you may not know about me – I have a small obsession with watching the weather.  Outside real time and through my Weather Channel iPhone app.  I love looking at the hour by hour forecast.  Oh, and the 7 day is almost more than my little heart can handle!  I get so excited.

So, needless to say I was watching DC weather like a Natzi over the last week or so.  According to my calculations, it was supposed to be in the low 70’s this week.

Well, apparently those calculations were wro-ong!

It is downright cold here…so cold that most of the locals are in coats, hats, boots…you name it. If it’s a cold weather accessory, it’s walkin’ the streets of the District (I can totally call it that now that I’ve actually been here, right?!).

Unfortunately, this unsuspecting tourist did not pack for frigid temps.  Luckily I did bring a couple pairs of jeans and threw in my light trench coat, but I am kicking myself for not bringing my boots and some long sleeve shirts.  Oh, and I almost bought some gloves at Urban Outfitters today.  I’m kicking myself for leaving those behind too.

I digress.

Despite the cold, I am loving DC!  Something else you may not know about me is that I am so in love with the east coast I could marry it.  Seriously.  Jon and I drove up the east coast on our honeymoon, and I’ve pined away for it ever since.  I knew I would love it here (in DC) too…and I couldn’t have been more right.

Now, here’s my list so far of things that have surprised me about DC:

One.  how cold it is.
Two.  how friendly the people are.  there are some seriously friendly people here – and so helpful!
Three.  the number of runners out and about throughout the day.
Four.  how much the area around Capitol Hill reminds us of Paris.  Anybody else?

Okay, so now that my lovefest has commenced, let’s go forth with the story of our trip here yesterday.

Jon and I left our house around 7:45am (right on time, thankyouverymuch) and hit up Starbucks on our way out of town for some coffee and a bite to eat.  I gotta say, Starbuck’s Oatmeal is the way to go if you’re out and about in the early morning hours.

Okay, I am aware that this picture does not look that appetizing.  But I promise you, they don’t call it “perfect” for nothing.  Have I ever lied to you before?

After an hour and a half of driving in torrential rains, getting lost and making a circle around the entire perimeter of the airport, we finally got parked.  This is not the first time that using directions from our iPhone has failed us.  It literally led us on a wild goose chase down all kinds of windy back roads and plopped us down right at the entrance people use to fly private jets.  Riiiiiight.

So, after nearly having a nervous breakdown and then a panic attack, we made it into the airport looking like a couple of wet dogs as we raced to check in.  At that point I split off from the husband because unfortunately we were booked on different flights (his was booked through his work).

Luckily we both made it to our gates in time.  After the hour-ish flight, I landed at O’Hare in Chicago for an hour and a half layover.  First things first.  Find some healthy food, stat!

I have to say – in my humble opinion, airports have really improved in the way of healthy eats.  At least larger airports.  Unfortunately it does cost half your life savings to obtain said eats, but they’re there.  Per the usual, I had planned ahead and packed rice cakes, larabars, dried apricots, apples and bananas in my bag for this trip.  But I always end up eating my packed stuff for breakfast and snacks when I go on vacation…and by day 2 or 3 I’m usually getting serious fresh veggie withdrawals.  So, I had decided that if there were any good veggies to be had at the airport, I was going to splurge on invest in them.  Enter – the best airport lunch ever:

Mixed greens salad with grilled veggies and pita wedges on top.  With a balsamic vinegar dressing.

and a green juice

I used to think these Naked juices had added sugar – not sure why I thought that.  This was 100% juice – including several fruits and broccoli, spirulina etc.  It was delicious!  And I felt on  top of the world when I finished this lunch.  Full of veggies:)

After I landed in DC a few hours later, I snacked on some spelt pretzels while I waited for Jon and his coworkers to land.  Then it was off to the hotel to drop our bags and on to dinner!

Jon and I were desperate to get into the heart of the action and see the sights, but being in a new city we weren’t quite sure where to get some food first.  So, we walked around the area where we’re staying for a little while and spotted this cute little Thai restaurant.  It had us at Sawat-dee (hello in Thai).

If the traditional Thai greeting when we walked in the door didn’t charm us, then the egg rolls, cashew tofu, and sweet little Thai waitresses picked up the slack.  We were enamored.

Highlight of the night: Jon and I ordered the same dish, but I substituted tofu for chicken.  In the end we realized that Jon had been served tofu as well, and he didn’t even realize it until 75% of his food was gone!  We couldn’t tell my looking at it because it was fried, and apparently he couldn’t taste the difference. ha!

After dinner, we took the bus and metro down to Capitol Hill.  We strolled around, taking in the beauty of everything all lit up and taking pictures like we actually thought they would be good without at tripod.

freezing my tail off while waiting for the train

a fuzzy Washington Monument

hello there Abe

hello there Mister Obama

We were exhausted by the time we were ready to head back to the hotel, so we decided to hitch a ride in a cab.  We had a crazy funny cab driver from India with an awesome accent who we found to be rather entertaining.  That is until he drove off without giving us correct change, leaving us $10 short!  What was that I was saying about friendly people…

I kid, I kid.

Anyway, that’s the long and short of day 1 in DC!  Day 2 was a bit more eventful and definitely better for photo opps.  I’ll be back tomorrow with the details:)

Jon will be in meetings all day tomorrow, so I’m thinking I’ll head over to Alexandria (Old Town) to explore a little bit.  I was quite taken with it’s quaintness when we passed through on our way from the airport.  Actually, it might be better if I didn’t go there – I don’t think I’m ever gonna want to leave!

See ya tomorrow!

how to make an epic salad

31 Aug

Thanks for all the sweet and encouraging comments on yesterday’s posts.  Every single comment on this blog truly means so much to me!

Today has been pretty uneventful really…I’ve spent the morning working away on the blog and Outbox stuff, breaking just long enough for breakfast and lunch.   I do, however, have a new “eats” page at the top to show for it – so go check it out if you get the chance!

Jon and I did go out for a run this morning, which unfortunately turned into a half run half walk.  We intended to crank out 3 quick miles, but the return of the heat and humidity plus Jon running late for work got the best of us.  I think we may start hitting up the treadmill for our short runs until this heat lets up a little bit.  I am not a big fan of the treadmill, but I’m even less of a fan of sweltering heat.

Breakfast this morning was one of my all-time favorites

Cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin with 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana

And lunch was one of my favorites from last year.  When I was a teacher, I would make my lunch before I went to bed every night.  A version of this salad was one of quickest, easiest, healthiest and most popular meals I ever took!  Popular because several of my coworkers would always ooh and ahh over it’s color and beauty.  Now that I am at home for many lunches, I don’t make it as much, seeing as how I don’t have to worry about being on-the-go…but today it was resurrected!

So, in honor of our last few weeks of summer, here is a quick little tutorial on how to create an awesome salad.  Salads don’t have to be just lettuce. I’ll be the first one to say “I don’t like salads” if we’re talkin’ lettuce and a few tomatoes thrown on top. I know some people really dig that, but for me – they’ve got to be loaded with different flavors, textures and colors to be enjoyable and to keep me going throughout the afternoon.  So, here we go.

Pick your base

  • spinach
  • spring mix
  • romaine
  • kale

*Next, chop your greens and put them in a large bowl. This salad could get big, so leave plenty of room:)  I always chop mine up because I want every bite of salad to have a bit of everything.  Plus, I try to avoid shoving giant lettuce leaves in my mouth in front of my lunch buddies (which granted, now mainly include Olive).

Choose and chop your veggies. I like my salads to be bulky.  Lettuce really ends up being a smallish part of the overall masterpiece.  But you definitely want to create volume by tossing in lots of different veggies.  I usually use anywhere between 3 and 5 of the options below.

  • squash
  • zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • artichoke hearts (a must in my opinion!)
  • onions
  • celery
  • carrots
  • bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • snow peas
  • sprouts
  • corn
  • cold peas
  • asparagus
  • beets, shredded
  • green onions
  • tomatoes

Choose your protein. Every good salad has to have protein.  I’m going to stick to vegetarian suggestions.  For beans, I usually add in about 1/3 – 1/2 of a cup.  Sometimes I’ll go with 2 different types of beans and add 1/4 cup of each.

  • beans (kidney, black, chick peas, navy etc)
  • chopped egg
  • nuts (sliced almonds, walnuts etc)
  • tempeh
  • tofu

Choose your healthy fat.

  • avocado
  • nuts/seeds
  • olive oil

Choose your dressing.  Now we all know that a bad dressing can ruin the most healthy and delicious salad.  The great thing is that with all the flavorful elements you’re adding to this salad, you don’t need much of a dressing!  Here are a few of my personal favorites – just to add a bit of moisture.

  • balsamic vinegar, straight up.  I poor on about 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and call it a day.  It adds the perfect amount of flavor, in my opinion.
  • olive oil
  • lime or lemon juice
  • salsa
  • hummus

And now for what I consider to be the best and final add ins. These are things that really add a huge punch of flavor or texture.

  • dried fruit without added sugar (cranberries are my favorite)
  • chia seeds
  • fresh fruit (apples, mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, pears, grapes)
  • seasonings – sometimes just a sprinkle of ground red pepper or oregano can add the perfect touch

Now that all of your ingredients are in a huge bowl, it’s time to mix it up!

This is one of the most important steps because if you just add everything onto a plate, layer by layer, then you won’t get a little bit of every ingredient in most bites.  And we definitely cannot deal with that.  So mix it up really, really well!

Lastly, dump it all out either onto a plate or in a to-go container. Now off you go with a super healthy, filling and tasty lunch that will make you the envy of everyone you know! ha.

Note: obviously some of these suggested ingredients can serve for more than one category.  For instance, olive oil could serve as your healthy fat and your dressing.  Or chia seeds could serve as a fun, crunchy add on or as a source of healthy fat or protein.  You get the picture.

If you’re someone who is always in a hurry when making lunch like I was was, I suggest using some time on the weekend to pre-chop your veggies that need it (rocket science, right?).  Then reserve a small space on one shelf of your fridge for “salad fixins.”  That way, when you get ready to create your salad, everything is ready to go – you can just snatch it out of the fridge, toss in a little of this and a little of that, throw a lid on it and go!

Along with creating this salad for lunch today, I also made a new and improved batch of hummus.

Spicy Garlic Hummus


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper


  • toss everything into a food processor minus 1 tsp minced garlic and process until smooth
  • transfer hummus to a small bowl and add remaining tsp of garlic to the very center
  • garnish with a sprinkle of ground red pepper

Well, I’m off to have a (hopefully) productive afternoon!  See you all later;)

What is your favorite salad topping?

day in the life of olive pt 2 + summery salad recipe

7 Aug


Yesterday when Jon got off work he announced that he was taking me out to eat to celebrate teaching my first PiYo class. I love that man!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any pics because I left my camera in the car, but let’s just say I thoroughly enjoyed tortilla chips…and lots of ’em!

After dinner, we decided to go pick up Olive at the house and take her out to finish my “Day in the Life of Olive” project.  It turned out to be quite the trip.

First, we stopped on the side of the road for a little photo shoot of  Olive with her (and my) favorite guy in the world

Next, we headed to her favorite hang out spot in town…

Petco.  Olive loves Petco!

Primarily because she gets to shop for treats.  She’s a foodie just like her mama;)

One of the funniest/most awkward  moments of the night was when Jon decided to snag this little mini grocery cart from one of the aisles.  The plan was to put Olive in it to have her picture made (we’re looking like real winners now, right?).  At this point, I have to admit I was getting a little self conscious.  I mean, who goes to Petco on a Friday night and takes pictures of their pup in a child’s grocery cart?

My husband knows no bounds when it comes to Olive though, as evidenced in his reply to my comment

“Honey, this is embarrassing!  What’s even cool about this picture?!”

His response, “What’s not cool about this picture?!  Olive’s in a grocery cart!!”

Just as those words left his mouth, this cute little girl rounds the corner of the aisle.

Little girl: “where did you get that grocery cart?” (who is she? the mini grocery cart police?)

Us: “we found it in the aisle.”

Little girl: “well, it’s mine!”

Ohh kay, then! Sooorrry!  We sheepishly lift Olive out of it and shove gently wheel it back to the little brat girl, just as her mom walks up behind her.

So, now we’re officially the bullies of Petco that go around stealing grocery carts from little girls.

We decided to go hide in the bird section.

even he looks as if he knows we just did something wrong

Actually, better stick to something smaller and less like it could claw our eyes out

hello there!

And that concluded our little outing.  We decided to head out before we got kicked out, Olive complaining the entire way to the car that “it’s not faiw to have such embawasing pawents.”

That was the end of our exciting night because we had to get in bed early to prepare for our long run this morning!  I’ll talk more about our training in my next post…but for now, I’ll leave you with this awesome lentil recipe I made yesterday afternoon!

Brown Rice and Lentil Salad

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup dry lentils
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or whatever broth you perfer)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used the jarred kind)
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp red wine vinegar (can use lemon juice or plain vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper
3 green onions, trimmed and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1.  Combine rice and lentils along with stock or cooking liquid in medium saucepan and cook until all water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
2.  Remove cooked rice and lentils from heat.  Place into a medium sized bowl and fluff with a fork.
3.  Prepare dressing by combining olive oil, garlic, lime juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Wisk well.
4.  Add chopped green onion, tomatoes and parsley to cooled rice and lentils.
5.  Add dressing.  Toss to combine.  Serve chilled.

recipe from The Eat Clean Diet

I made this for lunch on Friday, and we had it as a meal.  I think it really works better as a side salad, though.  It’s very summery and tangy!!

I gotta jet – Jon and I are headed to my mom’s house to spend the night.  We’ll be celebrating my birthday (hopefully with my grandparents as well) tonight, and then tomorrow Jon and have super fun and exciting plans!!  My birthday isn’t actually until Tuesday, but we’re celebrating early.  I’ll tell you more about it later 🙂

Hope you all have a fantastic and relaxing weekend!  And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the Operation Beautiful book! I’ve gotten some super inspiring entries already.  I think it can be beneficial to all of us in some way, or it can serve as a sweet gift to someone you care about.  I’m sending one to each of two of my cousins.

one week later

9 Jul

Happy Friday friends!

First off, I want to remind everyone to enter my 100th post chia seed giveaway!

I’ve had a couple of people ask about ideas for using chia seeds – click here for some of my past posts that include chias.  I’m working on a page of ideas for using chia seeds, as well as the amazing benefits…it should be up soon! I’ll keep you updated:)

Before piyo this morning, I ate half an apple pie Larabar to tide me over until breakfast; however, after I got home I was busy working on some things, and I just didn’t feel that hungry.  Me not being hungry for breakfast is about as likely as snow in the middle of July.  It happened, though.  And in true intuitive eating fashion, I didn’t eat again until lunch!

You know, though, that if I miss out on breakfast – lunch simply must be epic!

In this salad went

2 huge handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 summer squash, chopped
about 1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup corn
generous dousing of balsamic vinegar
3 medium canned artichoke hearts, chopped
Morningstar black bean burger, cut into bite sized pieces
dollop of hummus

When I make my salads, I always throw all the ingredients (minus toppings – in this case black bean burger and hummus) together into a big bowl and mix it all up.  Then, I dump it onto a plate or bowl and add the final toppings.  My salads are always huge, so this makes it easier to mix everything up!

Confession:  I have a huge problem with building things.  Ex: stir fries, salads, plates at a buffet (oops!).  My eyes are always 10 times the size of my stomach.  Today I had to reserve about 1/4 of the salad mixture for later because it was embarrassingly huge.  I mean, I’m not ashamed of big salads, but today’s was just unreasonable;)

It was delicious, though!

This held me over for several hours while I ran some errands, planned some stuff for my tutoring session with Mohammad, worked on some Outbox tasks and answered some emails.

A little later, the hunger monster called again….snack time!

One of my favorite snacks – a brown rice cake slathered with natural peanut butter and topped with sliced banana.  mmmm.

It has been one week since I officially resigned from my teaching job.  And I just want to say to anyone out there who is dealing with a big decision like this – it does get easier!  You will be okay!

One week ago I didn’t know heads from tails as far as this decision was concerned.  I ended up making my final decision by deciding which way I was leaning to 1/2 millimeter more than the other…and then closing my eyes and jumping in with both feet.  It was dreadfully difficult.  There were times when I honestly felt like things were never going to be okay again. I knew that wasn’t true, necessarily, but I just felt so confused and distraught over the whole situation.

I can honestly say that now, 7 days later, I feel happier and more confident than ever.  Seriously, today was like rainbows and sunshine.  I know that every day will not be that way, but the overwhelming feeling that I made the best decision I could have ever made envelopes me. Everything I do, whether laundry, washing, dishes or just fixing Jon breakfast feels happier and freer than it has in a long time.  I don’t expect things to be perfect, but I also feel that no one should have to live day-to-day with dread and unfulfillment.

Again, for any readers who are going through a tough decision, just know that if you follow what your heart is telling you and turn your back on fear…you will be so thankful that you did:)  Remember…if you’re not scared, you can’t be brave.

Not sure what Jon and I will spend Friday night doing…but I promise that it will be relaxing!!  We always take Friday night off from work and just spend time together.  Amen to that.

Have a great night!

lots of veggies, overcoming fear and more exciting news!!

4 May

Exciting things going on here at the CSM house!  But before I get to that, let’s see some eats, shall we?

The last two days have actually been almost identical up until lunch.  If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?!

Green monsters for breakfast, of course.  For the last two days, I have actually managed to get up and get a workout in before work – shocking, I know.  I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been pleasant or easy getting up at 4:45 am, but it has been so worth it.  To make it quick, I’ve been doing Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred.  I started off with level two, and it totally kicked my butt!  If you have never tried her workouts, you should definitely give them a go – they’re the only workout I’ve ever found that really pushes me with minimal equipment (just hand weights) and minimal time.  Sometimes I really want to punch her in the face, though.  If you’ve done it, you know what I’m sayin’.

Jon and I have also added in a 3 mile run the past two days after work as well.  I miss having really great workouts so much.  Ever since starting my new job last August and my hour commute, my workouts have really suffered.  But with the end of school fast approaching, I’m starting to get antsy to get back into it, and I figure I can push myself to do anything for four weeks.  So, double workouts it is!

Anyway, back to the point.  After a tough workout, I’ve been wanting nothing but green smoothies for breakfast…so refreshing and energizing!  You guys have all seen my smoothies a million times, though, so no pics today.

Lunch for the past two days has been salads!

salad numero uno = spring mix, corn, black beans, chick peas, chia seeds, chopped carrots, avocado and balsamic vinegar

salad numero dos = spring mix, corn, black beans, avocado, chia seeds, balsamic vinegar and…….egg.  Yes, egg.

I’ve made a tentative decision to start incorporating an occasional egg into my diet.  I’m honestly not sure how it’s going to go.  In my salad it was just fine, but when I tried to eat a plain boiled on yesterday for a snack, I got a little queasy.  Honestly, I’ve just been looking for new ways to incorporate protein into my diet.  I don’t believe I need a lot of protein, but I do try to have a protein source at most of my mini meals throughout the day.  Since switching to a mostly vegan diet, my complete protein sources for on-the-go meals and snacks (I pack most of my food everyday) have been based on nuts, nut butter and beans.  I just have been wishing for another option, and I feel like organic, free range eggs are a decent choice. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start eating many animal products anytime soon, but as long as the chickens are raised appropriately, I don’t have an ethical problem with eating eggs.

So, anyway, you may see the occasional egg on here in the future.  Just FYI:)  Even though it was a bit challenging to down the boiled egg on Tuesday, the healthy fat and protein sure held me over for a looong time. shrug.  But if they don’t become a bit more appetizing soon, I’ll def. be nixing them.

Onto dinner from last night.  As you will probably notice, I have been craving veggies.  So, I roasted some parsnips, brussels, sweet potatoes and tempeh.  With a side of natural ketchup for dipping:)

And tonight – same story.  Except I switched it up by having roasted kale chips, roasted squash and a slice of Ezekiel toast with Sabra spinach and artichoke hummus.  I sprinkled nutritional yeast, ground red pepper and garlic powder over the veggies.  Perfect.  It totally hit the spot.

I’m currently finishing off half a soy yogurt with a sprinkle of granola and frozen cherries for dessert!

Okay, now onto the exciting news.  I have officially ordered my materials through ACE to become a certified personal trainer!

I’m am stoked.  I’ve been considering it for months now, but fear has been holding me back.  Well, I’m not going to let fear rule my life anymore, so I’m going for it.  I felt so empowered last night as I clicked “submit order.”  I was watching a video of Kris Carr the other day.  She was being interviewed by Oprah, and she said “many people wait around for someone to give them permission to live.  Well, no one is going to give you that, you just have to go for it.”  I’ve been struggling with overcoming fear all my life, and especially lately I’ve been praying that God would give me the strength to overcome fear and not let it hold me back from doing what I’m passionate about.  I’ve decided I’m going to stop waiting around for that “permission” and just go after what I want.

So, I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time studying in the coming months, but I’m so excited about all that I’m going to learn and I’m looking forward to sharing some of it through CSM as well.

Do you find that fear sometimes holds you back from taking risks or trying something new?
If you’re vegan, what kinds of things do you eat for a quick protein fix?

Well, I’m off to bed, so I can meet back up with Jillian bright and early!  Hope you all are having a great week so far!

the week in food pics and happy Easter

2 Apr

Hi!  If you didn’t catch my earlier post, check it out to see who is the winner of the chia seed giveaway!

As mentioned (ahem) yesterday, I’ve been a bit behind on blogging my meals.  And I figure what’s a food blog without pictures of food?!  So, here’s a little catch up…

Two different days this week lunch was Amy’s low sodium lentil vegetable soup.  I love to have Amy’s soups on hand for busy weeks like this one.  I think this is my favorite one!

The stats:

Not bad, eh?  The ingredient list is stellar as well.  I also had a nice, juicy pear on the side.

This is my “plan b” for mornings when I don’t have a green monster: an ezekiel english muffin, 1 tbsp nut butter and half a sliced banana.  Heaven.

A quick and easy dinner – Joseph’s whole wheat and flax lavash wrap, hummus, mushroom, cucumber, zucchini, squash, onion, spinach and hot sauce! With pear slices and a kiwi.

I love to take salads for lunch – they’re so refreshing!  They’ve got to be loaded with goods if they’re gonna make the cut, though;)  This one was fixed up with chopped cucumber, zucchini and squash, corn, chick peas, chia seeds and balsamic.

I hope everyone has a fantastic, family filled Easter!  It’s one of the greatest weekends of the year because we get to specifically celebrate Christ’s Resurrection and the fact that we serve a living God.  I love that!  I honestly don’t know how I would live without Jesus by my side giving me comfort, guidance, love, grace and acceptance.

Aside from praising and thanking Him, we’ll be spending lots of time in the beautiful weather doing this…

with the wind in our hair:)…

See you all later!


22 Feb

Hi!  How was everyone’s Monday?  I like Averie’s line from her post today “hopefully your day has been going along nicely and that you’re at least savoring some memories from the weekend.”  I feel like I’m heavier on the savoring from the weekend part.  O’well, can’t win ’em all:)  Really, though, today hasn’t been half bad.  The school where I teach is having their yearly fundraising week.  The students choose a charity to raise money for, and I won’t even go into all the millions of ways they raise it.  Let’s just say anything from selling cupcakes to having paid assemblies for the students to attend.  Their goal is $200,000 by the end of the week. Amazing, huh?  Anyway, so there is an assembly every single day, and the kids all dress up and what not.  It’s a fun time, but the kids just don’t understand why they have to do schoolwork in the midst of all the festivities (insert sarcasm).

Anyway, onto some eats from the past couple of days.

Crappy picture, excellent meal.  I threw in about 3/4 cup plain soy yogurt, sliced almonds, clean granola, cinammon and blues!  I love yogurt messes…I have a toned down version (just soy yogurt, a smidge granola and almonds)  almost every afternoon for a snack.  I always forget to snap a pic, but I just can’t get over how great they are.

Jon and I almost always grab something to eat after church on Sundays.  One of my go-to’s is Pita Pit.  Also, our librarian at school’s son owns Pita Pit so he delivers pitas for the teachers every Wednesday.  It’s really one of the only places that I’ll really eat out at.  It’s def. not easy to find clean eats at restaurants here in small town Oklahoma. All this tasty goodness included: whole wheat pita, spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushroom, sprouts, tomatoes, pineapple, babaganoush and a tad bit of hot sauce.  So good!!!

Dinner last night was kind of a random assortment, but nevertheless everything I was craving.  Baked sweet potato rounds, roasted carrot chips, steamed green beans and a slice of Ezekiel toast spread with hummus.  All with a side of unsweetened ketchup.  I gave up ketchup a long time ago, even though I loved it, because it had sugar in it.  Well, I happened to find this version at Whole Foods last weekend, which has only tomatos and salt.  I can’t bring myself to even think about complaining about the salt;)  It totally made this meal, though.  That and the hummus of course.

And, lastly, lunch for work.  Jon snapped this photo while I was still in the mixing stage, and I forgot to get a final shot.  This salad is one of my favorites, and I’ve recreated it time and again – spring mix, 1/4 cup chick peas, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup corn, chopped artichoke hearts, sliced almonds, chia seeds, chopped onions and balsamic for dressing.  What can I say?  I like my salads extra large!  The only thing I forgot was avocado…how could I?

Well, I’m off to read up on some of you fine people’s blogs and not possibly grade some research papers.  Hope everyone has a great night!