Archive for the ‘Easy/Fast’ Category

Countdown to Spring Clean!

Lately I haven’t been giving my house the attention it needs. Weekends are filled with working,  planning for Mexico, birthdays, working-out and some relaxing. Cleaning…has been put on the back burner to say the least.

In fact, my house feels like I have done a moderate job of straightening up for the last few months and I’m craving a DEEP CLEAN, however, have not felt motivated enough to start.

Since we’ve established I am a “list person” I scheduled a few organizatoinal projects for every weekend for the next 10 weekends. Leaving my house completely sanitized and freshened up by early April…just in time to enjoy spring (without the cleaning).

 

(source)

Here’s my list:

Weekend of 2/5: Office Closet

Weekend of 2/12: Hallway Closet

Weekend of 2/19: Bedroom Closet/Bathroom Closet

Weekend of 2/26: Downstairs closet

Weekend of 3/5: Kitchen cabinets

Weekend of 3/12: Laundry Room and pantry

Weekend of 3/19: Clean all window sills, fans, base boards, replace vents & light-bulbs. Clean Fridge, microwave and oven

Weekend of 3/26: Replace all sponges, wash all hand towels, napkins, bedding, dust vigorously, wipe down leather couches, repaint trim and walls where needed

Weekend of 4/1: Out of Town-buy new ‘Welcome Mat’

Week of 4/4-4/7: Clean and get things ready for out-of-town guests, clean up front porch and back, replace shower liners. Clean grill, set up new table umbrella and outside lights and lanterns.

Last night for dinner Chris and I decided to make Tacos. These tacos would have been stellar with all the yummy vegetables we cut up and sautéed but I ended up messing up the entire dinner, by mixing the entire Trader Joe’s taco spice packet into the meat. Apparently, you are only supposed to do half, unless you want some really spicy tacos. I couldn’t even get through 2 before my nose was running and my mouth burning! It was a big disappointment because they smelled oh so good… 🙂

I’m proud to say I left off the cheese and sour-cream.

Next time: I’ll only use half a packet.

Lastly, I have to give a big SHOUT-OUT to my older sister and dearest friend, Betsy! It’s her birthday and as much as it kills me when can’t be together for it, I am excited we get to see each other in about 2 short months!!!!

Happy Birthday Lady! XO

Blog Update: It’s practically done! We are just switching out 2 more things and then we’ll be good to go! Expect a Saturday post!!!!!

Hope you all have great weekends! It’s finally Friday, wahooo!

Advertisements

Coasting

I don’t know about you guys but I feel like I have just been coasting through this week. A euphoric feeling of laziness has taken over my body and while I’m going through the motions, I haven’t been on my game as much as usual.

I didn’t get enough spinach when I went grocery shopping last week and ate the entirety of my supply by Tuesday. Spinach fail. I may or may not judge my entire day on whether or not I drink my morning smoothie (we won’t get into that) so instead of making a “green” smoothie, I’ve been opting for apple/banana.

This “coasting” smoothie contains 1 cup almond milk, 3 ice-cubes, 1 apple, 1 banana and flaxseed meal.

For those of you wondering what Flaxseed Meal is, it has a nutty taste and helps digestion. It’s also high in fiber and a powerful cholesterol controller. Just 2 Tablespoons gives you your daily supply of Omega 3 Fatty Acids too! Some people put it in their hot or cold cereal or oats, but I choose to put it in my morning smoothie.

Bottom’s UP!

Lunch has quickly become my least favorite meal of the day. Taking out meat throughout the day severely cut down on my usual lunch fixings! No half turkey sandwich, no leftovers from the night before, no Zaxby’s chicken house salad, no tuna salad, etc. My favorite go-to’s now are organic tomato soup and veggie crackers, a veggie wrap, a spicy black-bean burger with carrots or a kale salad with half an avocado. Those meals can usually tide me over till my afternoon snack, but I’m still craving meat for lunch.

Group Power really kicked my butt on Tuesday. So much so that I am trying to sike myself up for tonight’s class! We have changed our tracks and exercises and they are brutal! A lot of push-ups and the bicep track was insane, I almost had to give up. Maybe after Tuesday’s class is when things began to really coast…

I did recently stumble upon a tofu recipe that I really enjoyed and sometimes those are hard to come by. I appreciate the food and that being said, eat it quite frequently throughout the week but so far I’ve only found a few recipes that I would make again…this is one of them and it’s EASY. Score. Recipe courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame

Ingredients:

  • I block (14 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Olive oil, for baking sheet
  • Optional: sliced green onions

 Directions:

Cut tofu in half crosswise. Blot each piece on both sides with paper towels, pressing down to remove as much liquid as you can. (The wetter the tofu, the longer you will have to bake it).

Turn oven on and set to 350 F. Whisk together the sesame oil and soy sauce  in a small bowl, then use pastry brush to brush both sides of the tofu pieces generously with the mixture. Let tofu marinate in the soy-sesame mixture for 5-10 minutes while the oven heats.

Spray a non-stick baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray and place tofu slices on sheet. Bake about one hour, not turning, but brushing with the soy-sesame mixture several times, until the glaze is all gone. It’s done when the tofu feels firm to the touch, and looks glazed and nicely browned. I cooked my tofu about 60 minutes.

(source)

It’s officially February. Moving right along through these winter months…am I the only one that is lusting after Spring?

Hello Sunshine…

I almost forgot how good it felt.

To have the sun shine on your shoulders and let the breeze blow throughout the house.

Almost. Until yesterday.

(source)

The weather was a beautiful 72 degrees out of nowhere and has left me with a serious case of the Monday blues. The weather has returned to a normal wintery mix of rain and overcast skies. Farewell sun, see you in a few months!

With such great weather, I was happy to do my errands yesterday. I rode to the grocery store with my windows down and had some quiet time @ Trader Joe’s browsing food and finding oh so many things my diet allows. I heart TJ’s. Nothing makes me happier than a cart of new food for the week!

Can you tell there is a healthy person living with a not-so healthy person?! I swear for every tofu meal I make Chris eat, I have to get chips, pizza and dunkers to quiet any arguments on food in our household. 🙂

I was really excited when I found that they just opened a Great Harvest Bread Co. right next door! What a great location!!!

(Look at those blue skies….ahhhhh)

I raced to put the groceries away and immediately threw on shorts, a t-shirt and my sneakers. I grabbed Daisy and we went for a run. Couldn’t tell ya how long or how fast. All I knew is I was happy to be out there. I can’t wait until warmer days, then maybe me and the pavement will reunite.

For dinner I was feeling something light and non-meat or dairy. 🙂 Especially after Chris’s birthday dinner. I decided to make a robust salad and just add quinoa and orzo to the mix.

I cooked some extra corn and threw it in. It was surprisingly exactly what I wanted.

On another note, Chris’s birthday present came…a Keurig. I for one don’t drink coffee, but this little baby is almost enough to make me start.

I can however make tea, iced coffee AND hot chocolate with this thing! It’s so easy and quick, plus all the cute variety cups make preparing coffee a lot more fun!

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets or tools??

I personally lust over the avocado peeler, just because they always seem to give me so much trouble…and really I should just buy one because I think they are under $5…typical.

Fingers crossed that I can use the new blog design tomorrow! I know my friend is working diligently on it but there are always little road blocks with things like this…I really like the way it looks though and I hope you do too!

Good-bye Dairy

Hi there bloggers and readers! Sorry if my last post was a teaser, but you’ll be happy to know that I have still been reading, I just have had no time for posting…so here we go!

Still reading The Beauty Detox Solution and WOW is all I have to say. I’m totally sucked into this book and everything the author is teaching me about food.

It’s kind of scary realizing all that you don’t know, and realizing what you do know, isn’t much and quite frankly completely skewed.

Rewinding a bit…I opted to work a cheer-leading competition all day on Saturday for some easy money.  I was up at 5:15 am and worked till about 7:00 pm and basically went right to bed once I was done. After being on my feet and watching what had to be well over 100 competitions all dubbed with the same pop music blaring, I was exhausted=no post.  Just look at some of the line-up….

It continues on the next page-yikes!

I did have one proud moment…my sister and most of her UNCC teammates are on a competitive team so I was able to watch them, they did so great!

Sunday I slept in and it felt good. My body slept like a rock, it was a little hard to get up and get moving. I was supposed to work the same event on Sunday but opted out and gladly let another girl take my place.  Instead I read some more of my book (I’m way past the intended chapters) did a little yoga (stretching more frequently is one of my New Year Resolutions) and went grocery shopping.

Boy has that become a harder task since reading Kimberly’s book! In case you are wondering she suggests living a more vegan lifestyle than I’m use to I have ever experienced. However, her research alone has scared me away from dairy, point-blank. Which if you are a follower, you know how much my oats, fruit and yogurt concoction is going to be missed. 😦

No Milk. No cheese. No animal by-products really…

and this tiiiinnnnyyy little section is where I can get some organic. This unfortunately is not going to cut it so I’ll probably have to make more trips to TJ’s.

After spending more than a 1/3 of my grocery money on produce, I ventured off to get some things for Chris. This change is going to be interesting within the household to say the least. While I preach to Chris the practices I’m learning about, I think it’s going to take him more than words on a page.

I’d like to be clear that I’m not starting the detox just yet. I still want to complete the entirety of the book so I can be better assured that I won’t make a mistake and that longevity is my friend. On a personal level, I just can’t really fathom eating any dairy anymore after what I’ve read. I still plan on eating meat for the next few weeks as I’m not starting the official detox till a week from today and even then she transitions you out, or at least gets you down to only eating it 2 nights a week, if you prefer.

This book is changing my life, the outcome is yet to be seen but it sure is powerful.

Let me highlight a few of the things in Chapters 2 and 3, I believe that will suffice for tonight’s post.

  • I’ve learned what causes us to age and how it can be avoided and reversed just by our diets
  • Also, the single most important way to redirect large amounts of energy to make weight loss efficient and fight aging is freeing up energy from digestion.
  • A food that takes the quickest time to digest=the healthiest for you and vice versa.
  • I’ve been taught the proper way to eat and it’s not every three hours…and breakfast isn’t the healthiest meal of the day (according to your stomach).

For more info on Kimberly Snyder’s book, go here.

In order to get a jump-start on Kimberly’s program, I made it a little easier on myself by doing a lot of prep work after the grocery store.

Here you will see spinach washed and separated for salad use and green smoothies, cucumbers, celery  sticks, apple slices for (sandwiches snacks and salads), red and green bell peppers chopped up and lastly, some iceberg and romaine lettuce.

I also am attempting to get my taste-buds use to Silk Milk (hey, it’s an alternative for things right?) Does anyone else notice the distinct difference in color from the actual glass to the advertisement. This will take some getting use to.

Hope to try her green smoothie in the morning after an early gym session-if all goes according to plan. I could potentially sleep in till the last second and go to work with my hair wet. Not uncommon for a Monday 😉

How were your weekends? Have you ever tried a detox or cleanse before??

10 to Detox

One of the many perks of where I work is that I can get a substantial amount of CD’s, DVD’s and Books for free and sometimes even before they are available to the general public. (Not that I’m bragging) 🙂

A few weeks ago a co-worker passed along a book to me called, The Beauty Detox Solution. I finally cracked it open and was pleasantly surprised by the useful information and motivation to get radiant beauty from the inside out as well as obtain renewed energy all by changing your diet. I will warn you, the principles that the author, Kimberly Snyder, abides by are more than just challenging, they are a bit overwhelming but at the same time motivating and completely promising.

(source)

I was thinking of an appropriate way to share what I’m reading without hindering her sales. In an effort to more thoughtfully process what it is I’m reading, I’ve decided that for the next 10 days, I will mention a few things that struck me the most in the chapter that I’m reading while purposely not divulging all the useful information Snyder offers.

The book is split into 2 parts: Beauty Detox Basics and Your Beauty Solution

10 chapters=10 posts that will hopefully evoke thought about your own diets and what it means to pay attention to what you put into your body.

At the end of the book, the reader should be primed to embark on their “detox” armed with knowledge on what to eat, sample meal plans, recipes and a lifestyle change that stays with the reader, long after the initial cleanse.

I will apologize for the copy heavy posts that will take place over the next 10 days but hopefully you will find it beneficial and exciting, like me! 🙂

Not yet leaping into a detox without reading the entirety of the book first, I made a salad topped with a crumbled veggie burger for dinner tonight. Group Power was really strenuous tonight and took a lot out of me, including the desire to make any real dinner. I couldn’t have been happier to be there though!

My salad: Iceburg Lettuce, carrots shavings, diced red onion, light honey mustard dressing and a crumbled Morningstar Black Bean burger. The contrast between the warm and crispy burger against the cold salad was awesome…and even better was that it took about 10 minutes to make.

Now onto the recommended reading of the night…

CHAPTER 1 and a few things I found interesting:

  • Basic concept-our body is designed to digest more of a plant-based diet, rather than meat. Humans can get all the protein they need from the amino acids in plants.
  • “There are over thirty-five hundred scientific studies involving over fifteen thousand research scientist that report a relationship between the consumption of meats, poultry, eggs and diary products and the incidence of numerous health issues, including but not restricted to heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, constipation, gout, gallstones, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and osteoporosis.”
  • Humans resemble herbivores, in terms of both their anatomical structure and internal organs.

What you Can’t get without the book:

  • Astounding Scientific evidence of some of her points that would knock your socks off!
  • Why Humans are primed to eat a more plant-based diet, super interesting stuff that makes TOTAL sense
  • True life stories of how people’s lives have changed by following some of Snyder’s recommendations.

To take a look at Kimberly’s AWESOME AND INSPIRING blog, go here.

 

Just Because…

Just Because….

  • I’m shedding pounds for a wedding, doesn’t mean I can’t splurge on a cookie every once in a while.
  • I’m broke these days doesn’t mean that I can’t have a rich life.
  • I’m into healthy living doesn’t mean that I can’t have a few vices beers every now and then, or every Friday.
  • I wasn’t born and bred in the south, doesn’t mean I can’t be obsessed with seeing “Country Strong.”

Also, just because it’s January (and note this is literally my least favorite month followed by February, so beware) doesn’t mean I can’t dream of and then make summer food.

Enter broiler instead of grill and some chicken kebabs.

I got a great marinade by stumbling upon a blog, but didn’t save it and now I can’t find it 😦 Sorry. From what I can remember there was soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, white wine vinegar and a few other ingredients that I just can’t recall…sorry peeps. If it comes to me, I will definitely post it.

I went all the way with the “summer-dish” dinner and decided to make some pasta salad with it as well. Only thing missing was the gingham tablecloth and some warm sun. Too bad last night I do believe it was somewhere in the 20’s.

I also watched “Going the Distance” which was an oddly brash and edgy romantic comedy. I loved it. Typical.

Today being back at work was NUTS and when I got  home I was anxious to go to the gym. It’s still crowded at night, which leaves me to believe that some people are hangin’ on…looks like tomorrow I will have to show up for GP 15 minutes early and Friday will be a morning routine…

When I got home I did receive a care-package from my best-friend…just because! Inside were “Bride” and “Groom” tumblers, a bride mug which I will take to work with me immediately tomorrow, my havaianas flip-flops I left with her in NY and a CD of pictures from her wedding, finally!

Bets just got married last August and it was so great to see her and bond with her wonderful family.

(Thanks for the package Bets!)

Ice Ice Baby

Yesterday’s snow day was beyond AWESOME. It was like playing hookie, guilt free.

Apparently I was really missing the “dining” part of this blog because I felt like every meal we ate yesterday was exciting and therapeutic to make. With 2 jobs, wedding planning and my romance with the gym rekindled…there has been very little time for experimenting in the kitchen.

The snow day helped ease all that.

When I wasn’t checking my work e-mail, or organizing (because let’s face it, I just can’t sit still for an entire day) I was making us a yummy breakfast, unique lunch or tasty dinner.

Lunch was a tuna sandwich on an everything bagel. I added some cheddar and mozzarella cheese and put it in the broiler to melt. I mixed in some red onion, salt and pepper with the tuna and topped it off with some iceberg lettuce, apple slices and some carrots for a hearty, warm and healthy lunch.

Dinner was a couscous bowl with tofu and I did not follow a recipe. Instead I just diced up some red and green peppers along with a  jalapeno pepper, red onion and some tofu. Placed it all in a wok, added a little TJ’s low sodium soy sauce, cumin and lemon juice. Mixed it all together and threw it in a bowl with a glass of Pinor Noir on the side!

So side-not in the midst of all the excitement of a snow day, I broke my toe. How does one do this you ask? Well in attempt to re-arrange my living room furniture, I stubbed my toe HARD!

Has anyone ever seen the movie, “Because I Said So?” Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore play a mother and daughter who both have tendencies to re-arrange their furniture as what can only be described as an alternative to therapy. I have this sickness….feeling cabin fever? Rearrange furniture.

(source)

Anyway, moving along, it hurt so bad that I literally dropped to an Indian-style position on our living room floor and had Daisy so worked up she was racing circles around me. Meanwhile Chris  was just trying to get me to verbalize what had happened instead of grunting. He wrapped my toe, which apparently is all you can do when you break one.

It still hurts and I’m even more bummed that it looks like heels are out of the picture for the next few weeks.

Tuesday morning we woke up with a 2-hour delay at our office. Being so far out, I opted to stay home in hopes that Wednesday would bring drastically different conditions and I could actually make it into the office.

The lovely snow has now turned into ice and the novelty of this inclement weather has officially died off.

Daisy and I went for a short walk, but even she was annoyed. Everywhere we stepped there was cracking beneath our feet.

For breakfast I decided to use the last bit of bread we had to make apple cinnamon bread pudding. This was quick to throw together but took about 45 minutes in the oven. I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, threw in a load of laundry and did some work to kill time.

I was ready to scarf it down once the timer went off. This nice breakfast treat along with some hot chocolate is definitely a silver lining for having to take  PTO.

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Gotta get back to checking my e-mail and maybe a podcast of pilates since my gym is still closed 😦  Hope everyone is staying warm and safe in this weather!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lg. loaf french bread
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups apple sauce, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 small lemon zest

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cut the loaf of french bread into one inch chunks. If it is stale already, move onto the next step. If it is fresh, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring once. This will remove some of the moisture from the bread allowing it to soak up the custard mixture.

While your bread is in the oven drying out, prepare the custard. In a large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, 1 cup of apple sauce, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk until well combined.

Spray the interior of a glass casserole dish with non-stick spray (I used a large 9×11 dish. You can use an 8×8 to make a deeper/taller bread pudding). Fill the baking dish with the bread chunks, pressing down if needed.

Pour the custard liquid over the bread chunks as evenly as possible.  Drop chunks of butter on top if desired (2 Tbsp total). You can add the second cup of apple sauce on top before baking (drop dollops of it on top and wiggle it down between bread chunks) or you can add it after baking. I like to add it cold after baking because I like the temperature contrast.

Bake the bread pudding at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve hot.